In the last scroll tutorial I said I would talk about how I decorate my reusable scrolls – things I have been making since late 2013 when I played my first priestess character. Since then I have experimented with different ways of making these scrolls want to and want to share these with you.
Scrolls can be as simple or as complex as you wish – ranging from delicate flourishes to heavily worked knot or keystone work or interwoven borders. I will also show a few of my favourite scrolls that I have made so far.
The basis of the scroll is the rectangle of artists canvas, lined and prepared as discussed previously. I chose artists canvas as it is hard wearing, relatively inexpensive, can be sewn and glued and generally mistreated, as well as surviving being rolled up and transported for long periods of time in scroll cases between events. I also don’t mind if they end up in the mud (because they do) and there is little chance of them accidentally being ripped unlike ones made from nice heavy weight paper or similar. These are LARP props after all …
Pencil, ruler, sharpener (if required) and a rubber form the basis of the work, though pencil lines are hard to hide/remove from artists canvas if applied too thickly.
Decorative medium – I started with using marker pens of various types but have recently started using acrylic paint to mimic inks or similar scribal materials.
Paintbrushes, water (if using acrylics) or other cleansing substance, kitchen roll to blot mistakes or mop up water or clean your paintbrushes etc
- Ribbons, twine or string to tie up your rolled scroll (if required), and dowelling if your system requires it.
- Drafted text / design – to avoid having to correct mistakes or making blunders on your scroll. Though mistakes and similar aren’t the end of the world (unless they are the official ritual/incantation activation phrase that the referee might take umbridge with if it be wrong …)
Decorating your work
I lay out my rectangle of canvas, mark up the future channels that will be stitched into the dowel, mark out the boundaries and the writing lines in pencil and set it aside. At this point I normally decorate the scroll BEFORE writing it, though I have sketched out decorations on another scroll, written it, then completed the paintwork when I had time/materials. Gathering all your materials together before hand is a help when working.
When I made the Erranting Ceremony Scroll for the Black Order recently I took inspiration from early Celtic Knotwork and kept the above book to hand as I worked.
After adding in the pencil lines I began to mark out my (overambitious) working grid in pencil.
Once your design is sketched out lightly in pencil, I normally colour the pale colours first, then the darker colours once the first set have dried, then “ink” the lines in that are required. However, with preparing the Erranting Scroll there were too many lines for me to keep track of what I was working on, so I “inked” the key lines in with black acrylic and the smallest brush I had. I like to work down the page from the upper corner, though on a bordered piece I work anti-clockwise from the upper left corner down so that I don’t smear the paint as it dries.
Fill in the coloured parts of your design. I had thought about keeping the pale pieces as clear canvas, however using white acrylic paint helped it look neater. As you can see I started with the white, before filling in the rest of the details with red paint.
Once the decoration is complete, write your text carefully, trying to avoid any scribal gotchas.
This scroll is part of a set I am creating for the Black Order to cover the major ceremonies of a Knight’s life within the game – Squiring, Erranting, Knighting. The Squiring one is much simpler, and I intend for the Knighting scroll to be elegant rather than as busy as this one.
Examples of other scrolls
Other scrolls decorated with permanent marker and acrylic paint include: commissioned feudal writ of nobility, commissioned scroll of bless weapon and my Sidhean priestess scrolls.
~ Commissioned items shown with permission from owners.
Other scroll like items
Other decorative items made in a similar manner to the scrolls include a pair of icons for the Black Order – aspects of the gods Sidhe and Kharach.