Illuminated Letters for a New Baby

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Eloise is the first daughter of a friend of mine — they call her Lou for short! After she was born, I couldn’t wait to make this birth information wall hanging for her with illuminated letters. My friend gave me the details of her birth — the date, time and her measurements.

The Text

Illuminated Letters

We decorate Illuminated letters with color and gold. The large E and P are based on Ottonian texts of what’s now Germany. I found them in a book called The Bible of Illuminated Letters by Margaret Morgan. I drew the letters in pencil and used watercolor to fill in the spaces. The gold is Kuretake Gold Mica paste.

I like to challenge myself with things that take time and make my mind feel like spaghetti. I love drawing these letters because it takes a lot of thought and attention. Keeps me humble and engaged.

Calligraphy

I kept the text next to the illuminated letters simple. This broad pen script is called Uncial. I used black sumi ink and a Mitchell nib for clean, sharp lines.

The Border

To the left of Eloise’s name, I drew and painted snowdrops, the flower of the month for January. For for the birthstone and label for the flowers, I used a pointed pen and Uncial letters to reflect the main text. I also wrote a couple of her astrological placements and their glyphs in the border surrounding her name. A birth is such a special, unique time and I used those elements to celebrate this new little life.

I used Arches watercolor paper for this piece. I really enjoyed the opportunity to practice with decorative capitals and illustration.