I’ve recently been making some teaching scrolls, scroll physreps and more of my reuseable canvas scrolls for Fools and Heroes, and generally being scribal and covering myself and my worktops in ink (turns out I have half decent reflexes when open bottles of ink and elbows are involved …)
I thought I might pull together a collection of some of the tools, materials and resources I use when I prepare scrolls for use in the game. The internet has a wonderful collection of tutorials and blogs on the scribal arts, ranging from articles aimed at calligraphy beginners and scribes in the SCA.
An example of some of the scrolls I’ve written recently.
I have a collection of dip pens and nibs that I’ve collected over the years. Most of them were from gift sets I’ve collected from the Royal Armouries or other castles when I was younger, but my pride and joy is the Windsor & Newton Calligraphy Set my OH gave me for our wedding anniversary. I have a trio of calligraphy fountain pens that I use when I need to write something quickly, but I prefer the results I can get with my dip pens.
However, I need more practise with working with these nibs. Remember, practise makes perfect.
I have a collection of sealing wax and seals (hobbycraft has a nice collection of colours of sealing wax, and a range of seals) that I use with letters or teaching scrolls, and write my scrolls on brown parcel paper (bought in a big roll from WHSmith) or smooth art sketch paper for use with inks. Most advice I find is to avoid rough or textured paper as it can damage the nibs of your pens.
Language and Scripts
I use the Elvish Tengwar script created by JRR Tolkien for his fictional world but keep most things I do in English spelling to help people translating the text in future. The alphabet can be found here, but reading through some of the guides on the Quenya and Sindarin languages online gives insight into the grammar, punctuation and numbers.
A Quenya-English dictionary that I use can be found here as when I was playing my elven blacksmith I learnt a few choice phrases in Quenyan.
I use a set of runes that have been put up on the Wikipedia entry for Cirth runes that relate to the ones used in the Hobbit, but any anglo-saxon / viking runes might do if you prefer how they look. I write the English text in the dwarvish runes to help translation at a future date.
Ian the Green has a range of resources on his website which I have enjoyed reading since I’ve started trying to do inked teaching scrolls and physrep documents. Some tutorials and articles I would encourage you to read are: a travelling scribe’s tools ~ cleaning your dip ink pen ~ tips on doing calligraphy ~ and his series on practising and improving your calligraphy.
The Pensive Pen also has a series of calligraphy lessons, as well as examples of the scribe’s scrolls (such as the one prepared for Ian the Green) or instructions on shaping letters such as the Dürer’s Gothic script (so pretty!).
Other tutorials for using dip ink pens for modern calligraphy can be found here.
Some tutorials for scrolls and the scribal arts that I’ve written and posted on Wolfish Written are: