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Week #29
This work was done by Gayle Waddle Wilkes in Seattle in 2016 for the session “Blackletter: Modernizing a Traditional Calligraphic Hand” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
While studying Blackletter I heard this quote on television and thought it would make a good traditional piece of calligraphy. What can be more traditional than Shakespeare? And I felt the image of a swan and cygnet would make an lovely illuminated letter.

I researched free images on the internet and came up with one that could easily be adapted to create an interesting combination of letter and image.

After sketching in the decorated letter and lining the Nideggen paper I did the lettering with a broad-edged pen using Moon Palace Sumi ink. After it was dry, I made a “mask” to leave only the area around the gilded letter exposed so that I that the body of lettering was protected.
Per instructions, the gilding with Instacoll and patent gold was done before painting the Swan and cygnet. I used gouache to paint the swans and background I outlined both the gilding and the image with a 005 Micron pen. I filled in the awkward space at the end of the piece with an additional decoration to create a more symmetrical overall design. The credit was done with a pointed pen and water color as I wanted to pick up the color of the bird’s beaks but be softer so that the illumination and text were the main focus of the piece. Overall, I think the design works well which hopefully overshadows the weak lettering.

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