Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge

Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge
This page has been left up for historical reference.  I no longer run the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge.  For the current webpage for the challenge please visit here.

Thank you for you interest in the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge!  Last year we collected 270 scroll blanks and we're hoping to meet or exceed that this year.

Whether you are just looking to see what this is or if you are here as an enthusiastic participant we appreciate you taking the time to take a look.  So enjoy! Be sure to let others know about this challenge. 

What is the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge?

The Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge is a private challenge issued by Lord Ian the Green.  It was devised to rebuild the almost depleted supply of scroll blanks in the Kingdom of the Middle.  This challenge benefits the Kingdom of Middle and its populace.  As you may be aware  Award Scrolls are given out  by Their Draconic Majesties to deserving recipients for a variety of activities.  The Scroll Blank Challenge is to provide the Kingdom Signet with usable, pretty illuminated scrolls that simply need the calligraphy to be written in for the specific recipients.  These are called scroll blanks.

Why do the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge?

Scroll blanks are immensely useful.  The people who make scrolls are called scribes.  Not all scribes do both illumination and calligraphy.  Having scroll blanks allows illuminator scribes to help out by doing what they enjoy and allowing the calligrapher scribes to be just as helpful in ensuring that award recipients get beautiful works of original art in every award that is given out.

Often completed scroll blanks are given to calligrapher scribes who will use them to make award scrolls in the future.  Sometimes though, Their Majesties may see or hear something wonderful at an event and wish to give an award scroll to that person that day.  In these cases, pre-made scroll blanks are invaluable.  A calligrapher can combat scribe a scroll at the event site, often in much less time that it would take to do both the illumination and the calligraphy.

When is the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge?

The deadline for this challenge is St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Val Day) February 9, AS 47 (2013).

If you would like to make scroll blanks but for some reason can not do them during this challenge time the Kingdom Signet is always willing to accept scroll blanks anytime.  All such help is gratefully appreciated!

Who can participate in this Scroll Blank Challenge?

Anyone who wants to!  It doesn't matter how experienced or inexperienced you are at doing art or making scroll blanks.  We hope that this web page will act as a resource to you for both this challenge and in the future.  While the paintbrush was thrown down as a challenge between SCA groups, "group" is very loosely defined.  Shires, villages, cantons, colleges, baronies, households, individuals and just about any other type of "group," you can think of that wishes to participate will all be considered as a group eligible to participate.  The more people participating the more scroll blanks that will benefit the Kingdom of the Middle and that is the goal afterall!

So how does the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge Work?

We would like to have as many scroll blanks as possible turned in at the St. Valentines day Massacre (Val Day) event taking place February 9 , A.S. 47 (2013).  If you can't bring completed blanks yourself, they can be brought by someone else or even mailed.

Rules and Guidelines:

Scroll blanks should be made with the understanding that each and every one will eventually be made into an award and given by Their Majesties as such.  Materials and media that are wonderful for helping to design and develop a scroll blank are not always appropriate for final products.  With that in mind we head directly to the rules!

Participants are encouraged to:

- Make a scroll blank that they would want their best friend to receive!

- Make sure that all scroll blanks should have no less than a one inch border around the edge of the scroll blank that is left blank.  This is important so the recipient can Matte and Frame their scroll;

Make all scroll blanks in accordance with the Midrealm Scribal Handbook;

- Use gouache, watercolor, ink and any period materials;

- Use gold or other metal leaf materials;

- Use period illumination examples for inspiration;

- Please do not pre-line the blank.  The calligrapher will determine what size lettering they will use.  This means the lines on a blank will most likely get erased by the calligrapher potentially causing problems on the writing surface.

We reserve the right to to not accept scroll blanks made with or made of the following for the Midrealm Scroll Blank Challenge:

- Computer printouts

- Marker, colored pencils, crayons, chalk etc.

- Blanks with wording on them.  (This in no way should discourage illuminated, decorated or historiated first letters).

- Computer paper

- Parchment Paper - this is a type of drafting paper as well as a computer paper and is not suitable for our purposes.  Here is a resource for you.

- Vellum Paper - Same issue as Parchment Paper.  Here is a resource for you.

While those materials and such are great for helping determine how you wish to design your illumination they are not appropriate for the end scroll blank.

A quick note about the use of marker.  It is an accepted practice to use ink to sometimes outline certain parts of illumination.  A very thinly tipped marker (0.5 mm or smaller)  is acceptable for this use.

Remember, anyone can turn in scroll blank that is good quality and while we need to restock the Kingdom's supply of scroll blanks let's do so with scroll blanks you would want your best friend to come home with!  Here are some helpful suggestions on how to make a wonderful scroll blank.

We also encourage participants to use the back of each scroll blank to please:

 Write the name and e-mail of each person who helped with the scroll blank if possible.  That way should the recipient wish to thank those responsible for making their scroll they can.

- Write the materials used, including paper, paints, gilding materials and all other media.  This educates the calligrapher who can make a choice as to what inks and pen nibs would be best to use.  It also educates the end recipient and may help them make a decision as how best to display or frame their beautiful award scroll.

- If there was period inspiration used to make the scroll blank please include the time period and region as well as source or reference as well.  This helps the calligrapher to determine what hand of calligraphy would be best to use on the scroll as not all hands of calligraphy match all time periods.  Sometimes the time period and region of the recipient is known and then a scroll blank can be matched to the recipient better.

Please use a discrete portion of the back of the scroll blank to include this information.  We aren't looking for full documentation here.  

EXAMPLE: Lord John Doe & Lady Jane Doe e-mail: JohnnJane@email.com  Arches Hot Press gouache paints with gold leaf gilding.  Based on Hunting Book of Gaston Phoebus 15th century France.

Please write this information in pencil.

How will winners be determined?

We will be using a mostly objective point system to determine the winners.  This year the Dragon Signet requested that Award Specific Scrolls be a part of the challenge.  While this is a private challenge it is to benefit the Middle Kingdom and its populace and who would know better the needs of award scrolls than the Dragon Signet?  So we are happily complying with the Dragon Signet's request in this private challenge.

Point Scoring:

* 1 point per scroll.

* 1 point for documentation (who did the work, materials, and inspiration)

* 1 point for the scroll blank having an award/order specific badge.  (Please no Patent of Arms level orders.)

* 1 point for "WOW!" factor.

In an effort to encourage the most participation and scroll blanks as  possible we will be averaging the points earned by the number of scroll blanks turned in.   This way smaller groups have as good a chance to win as larger groups.  The group with the most average points will win.  In the event of a tie, which is possible using this scoring system, the tiebreaker will be the group with the most "WOW! points overall.

How do you get "WOW!" points?  By making the judges go "WOW!"  Another way to look at it would be to make the judges say, "I want THAT SCROLL for an award."

Some examples of "wow" factor include but are not limited to, a very pretty scroll blank, using period materials, exquisite use of gold - gilding or paint, lots of detail work, embossed gilding, crisp & clean illumination and excellent use of space and color. 

Remember, quality is more important than quantity.  Scroll blanks represent the Crown and the Kingdom.  Do your best work. Don't worry if it is as good as someone else's best work.  No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who is better.  But do ask yourself if you were doing this for your best friend, would you be proud of them receiving it?

Gee, wouldn't it be nice for there to be Scroll Cases for all these Scroll Blanks?

Due to the overwhelming response last year, this year we are NOT doing a scroll case challenge.  However, should you want to know how to make a scroll case for the Kingdom:

How to make a Scroll Case!