Here’s a little something I worked up tonight:
Voilà: the opening crawl of the NES classic The Legend of Zelda mocked up as a gothic manuscript page of the sort I’m always going on about in my Mmm… Marginalia posts. It demonstrates a few things about the way professional manuscript houses in England and France serving the nobility in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries put a page together. Chiefly…
- The space a text fills is as important as the text itself. It should be as close to a solid wall of letters as possible.
- Words can be compressed or split up in order to make the text fit the space.
- They can also be abbreviated, as I have done with ‘before’, ‘darkness’, and ‘into’ above.’
- Medievals used Roman numerals and their own capricious system of punctuation.
- In general, the decorative border should be vegetative, and it should usually not cover all four sides around the text.
- Nearly everything on the page should be connected to everything else.
- The page should be drawn as though gravity pulls everything from the top of the page into the lower margin. Nothing can be unsupported.
- Though gravity is active, weights can be inconsistent.*
- Almost always, it’s only the main illumination on a page that concerns the subject of the text directly.
- The marginalia can be anything else your heart desires.
I just now realized I left out the fancy “S” I’d planned for “SHE”, even though I left a little space for it. Believe it or not, you see planned but omitted decorations all the time in medieval manuscripts. So let’s just forget I ever admitted it was a mistake…Fixed it!
I make learning fun!
By the by, here are the two reference images I used in making this:
And yeah, I used a reference that violates half my little rules, but it’s a much smaller book from a different region than the deluxe ones I’m talking about, and I needed something with a simpler layout to copy.
P.S. Image now available in magnet form, for a limited time.
*Large initials like the ‘G’ can be held up by Guile’s hair just fine, thank you very much.