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In the early part of 1998 I was approached by the editor of the quarterly magazine TOURNAMENTS ILLUMINATED, which is a publication to the vast membership of the worldís largest medieval and renaissance recreation organization, the Society For Creative Anachronism. My first thought was that this could be a great excuse to put together something special. But it was only later, as I began thinking about what I would put on such a cover, that I realized that this could also be a great way to teach something about the art of medieval manuscript style illustration. In our modern world, we are constantly exposed to graphic representations. Modern illustrations are either painted, photographed, or created digitally. We see them on everything from book covers and posters to advertisements along the highway, but we donít usually think about how they came to be. The modern age is full of marvels created through technology which we often take for granted.
Have you ever considered what was involved in the making of an illustrated book before the age of printing presses, color printing, and photography? To say merely that books were created by hand is an oversimplification beyond measure. The article will discuss the method I used in creating this cover, and it will point out the differences between what I did and how a page would have been made in the European Gothic era.
This article was designed to give the reader a look at what goes into making a medieval illustrated book page. It is designed in sections so you may browse the various aspects according to your interest. For the best understanding, I suggest you read the sections in numerical order. This article is fairly technical, but I have tried to explain terms for the interested beginner.