Sunday, April 24, 2011

Illuminated Letters

Pin It Now!
This is a bit of a change of pace from fantasy character drawings, but this is something that I also really enjoy doing: illuminated letters and page designs. I drew the above letter this week kind of as an example for one of the drawing classes I teach (but more just because I wanted to have fun drawing it :)
I love the style of ancient illuminated manuscripts, as well as Norse and Celtic design motifs. I thought the Norse style (and Viking ship) would be well-suited to my last initial of "N", since I am a quarter Norwegian.
The intricate border design is taken from historic carvings found in a church in Norway, though I had to design corners to link the sides together.
The ultimate illuminated manuscript to my mind is, of course, The Book of Kells, found in Ireland. Here's one of the more famous pages, the "Chi Rho" monogram design, that's formed from the first two Greek letters that spell Christ, that look like an "X" and a "P" combined. By the way, total random side-note: it's because an "X" is the first part of the word "Christ" in Greek that the abbreviation "Xmas" came about.
And speaking of like holidays, hope everyone had a great Easter! Yes, I am 35, but my mother still sends me an Easter basket from New York. Thanks, Mom!! Mmm, Cadbury Cream Egg deliciousness!


rubberduckiemom said...

I would love to embroider this, but wanted to make sure I had the information to credit the artist who has inspired me so.

Cara Nilsen said...

Thank you, rubberduckiemom :)
I appreciate your crediting me--just "Cara Nilsen Illustration" is fine.

rubberduckiemom said...

Thank you very much. As soon as I am finished with it, I will send you a photo. I am only embroidering the inside, not the outer knotwork. I just didn't have the time.