I don't think I should tell you much about this - let's just say that my part of this project should be finished in the few months. It starts with Dear Children... yes, with a fancy dropped capital illuminated in medieval style. The original letter shown here is 5cm (2 inches) square. You can try one for yourself!:
(Single sheets of 23ct gold leaf can be purchased at reasonable cost from The Gold Leaf Factory www.goldleaf.com.au. Choose the Transfer variety - the gold is loosely attached to tissue paper and easiest to handle Currently $3.30 per leaf plus delivery. Jerry Tresser in the US is the expert on traditional gilding techniques and also does mail order supplies http://www.jtresser.com/ONLINE-GILDING-SUPPLIES.html)
The orange-red in the squares is a mixture of Flame Red and Cadmium Scarlet + touch of white. The dark red is Alizarin Crimson + white. The blue is a mixture of Cerulean blue, Cobalt blue and Ultramarine Blue + white. (It would still be a good colour if you just used Ultramarine blue + white, or Cobalt blue + white. Cerulean blue has a bias towards the green end of the spectrum and is added to the mix to counteract the red bias of Ultramarine blue.) I added some of the blue to Lemon Yellow to make the green. All colours made by Winsor and Newton.
The red of the letter was added as a spot into the orange-red squares, three shades of pink (same red added to white) to the front of the bulgy section and the pink flowers have had an even lighter pink painted on the petal tips.
I've not tried making flowers by starting off with a black cross before, as I did for these. It seems to work. Pale blue petals have been added between the sections. I've started to loose track of time...
The final stage - adding dots, spots and lines in pure Permanent White (with a fraction of water - you can't paint with treacle):
You can't see it on this image, but each flower on the blue also has a white tip to each petal. I did also thicken up the black outline. There's no magic formula for how thick this should be. I might still work on that a bit more using a pointed nib and diluted black paint.
This could all have been done by someone with no prior experience - just a willingness to spend the necessary time and use the correct tools with care.
Materials other than PVA could have been used for the gesso to attach the gold, but I believed this would give the best result for photographing the work for the book.
The whole letter should look even better when reduced by about 70%, and the gold shines much brighter than you can see above where the images are the result of using a scanner.
Here's a photo - and it's even shinier with the sun on it. Far brighter than any gold ink will ever be:
Another twelve dropped capitals to do, plus write the dialogue for each character in a different calligraphy writing style - and create a spectacular medieval style border to go round each page. Plus a few other jobs.
I hope you'll like the book when it's finished.
www.ptcalligraphy.com I'll always be delighted to provide you with tuition or write in calligraphy for you and add decoration if you wish.
P.S. I turned on my computer two weeks ago and there was a flash and bang. Ouch! And it's only 8 months old. It could have been worse - the hard drive was unaffected, but maybe it's time to back it up. Yours, too?