This is the second week we worked on illuminated lettering in my art classes. During the Middle Ages, illuminated art was used by the rich or educated in decorated books and texts. It was first called "illuminated" because gold was used to highlight it and so "lit up" the art. The letters were also highly decorated. Over time any highly decorated lettering with or without gilding was called illuminated.
We talked about the history of illuminated lettering and looked at examples. We looked at two modern illuminators, Mary Engelbreit and Graeme Base.We did this project on watercolor paper, but it could be done with other media on other types of paper. I feel that watercolor paper is worth the extra cost when you are using watercolors. It is good for the kids to learn about different weights and types of paper.
I made a couple of practice letters this week to try out techniques. The first one I drew I used black color to outline, and then water colored it in. (See J.-click pictures to enlarge) This worked well, but was still too difficult to manage for my aged classes. (4/5/6th). On my second practice version (See S.) I outlined with black permanent marker, and colored in with watercolor pencil. This gave a lot more control for painting. Note: Do not use washable markers if you will be painting over it, it will smear. I had never used watercolor pencils before last year, but find they work well for some projects. I do think it is good for kids to learn to use watercolors, but sometimes in a classroom situation it can be overwhelming to try for certain projects. There are also watercolor colors, which work well too. Basically you color the area in and then go over the pigment with a wet brush to "melt" the color into watercolor.
Here are some of this week's letters. All of these happen to be A's. I think it is interesting to see the same letter done in a variety of ways. We will finish these next week and I will probably post some finished project pictures then.