Author Topic: Pricking guidelines  (Read 738 times)

Offline RD5

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Pricking guidelines
« on: June 02, 2020, 01:57:27 AM »
Has anyone ever made guidelines by pricking holes in the paper as described by Johnston?

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2020, 11:18:09 AM »
Well that sounds intriguing. But I wonder how it would work as it would create a raised or indented surface. Did you try it?
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Offline K-2

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 08:03:55 PM »
Hey, @RD5 & @Erica McPhee - I'm not sure what method Johnston describes for pricking & ruling, but in the Medieval & Renaissance periods, scribes would use a compass to prick holes at even intervals down both sides of the text block they had established, and then "connect the dots" as it were with a stylus or a piece of lead to create the guidelines.

Dartmouth has a nice explanation, with a video demonstrating the process: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/ancientbooks/2016/05/24/pricking-and-ruling/#:~:text=Pricking%20and%20ruling%20allowed%20scribes,before%20they%20began%20to%20write.&text=The%20scribes%20then%20made%20small,carried%20through%20onto%20subsequent%20pages.

The holes that penetrate the parchment (or later, paper) help the scribe lay out the verso of the folio in the same manner as the recto.  And if you press hard with a stylus, you create a guideline that is indented on one side and raised on the other (two sides lined all in one go!), clear enough to guide the scribe, but faint enough (because not inked) to be all but invisible once the text and/or other decorative elements have been applied.

--all best, K-2

Online Estefa

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 07:35:46 AM »
I think that may also be the reason why medieval scribes wrote rather between than on the guidelines ;).
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2020, 10:26:35 AM »
I think that may also be the reason why medieval scribes wrote rather between than on the guidelines ;).
genau richtig.

Offline K-2

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2020, 03:41:09 AM »
I think that may also be the reason why medieval scribes wrote rather between than on the guidelines ;).

Indeed, @Estefa & @AnasaziWrites -- and also, visible guidelines can contribute to the design of a page.  Scribes didn't always try to hide them.  That's why they sometimes used the pricks on the verso side to draw lines to match the recto, rather than use the stylus indentation method or marks that could be rubbed off or minimized.  The guidelines form neat borders around the text, and plenty of manuscripts leave them in.

It reminds me how every time I teach the canons of page construction, some of my students get so invested in the process that they choose to not erase the guidelines.  They spend a lot of time redoing their work because they have to learn how to strive for accuracy, so by the time they get it right, they've put so much time into it to get the geometry right and the lines straight, they're very proud of their work.  They want to show off those hard-earned guidelines.

And then, sometimes students don't want to ink the text onto the page that they've laid out, because they know that if they make a mistake (that they themselves find intolerable - I'm always telling them to live with their mistakes), and they want to start again, they'll have to do all the geometry and all of the pricking and ruling all over again (this is how many of them actually do learn to live with their mistakes).

Online Estefa

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2020, 06:08:25 AM »
@K-2 Yes, I also like codex pages with visible guidelines! It provides a design element that comes totally naturally ;).
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Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2020, 04:37:55 PM »
I recall hearing that it cost extra to have the scribe draw the lines so the lines were a sign of higher quality work.

Here is a link to some information on the business side of manuscript books - although there is no mention of the lines.


https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/medieval-book/making-medieval-book/a/making-books-for-profit-in-medieval-times

and more info - including the effect of the bubonic plague on the book trade

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/247779/pdf

Offline RD5

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2020, 12:13:03 PM »
Well that sounds intriguing. But I wonder how it would work as it would create a raised or indented surface. Did you try it?

I haven't tried it, I wanted to. I have recently acquired an awl, although it might be to big.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 05:40:45 PM »
Well that sounds intriguing. But I wonder how it would work as it would create a raised or indented surface. Did you try it?

I haven't tried it, I wanted to. I have recently acquired an awl, although it might be to big.
@RD5
Try using the point of a compass if you have one.

Offline KristinT

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2020, 12:59:46 AM »
Interesting... I can't speak to the type of pricking you seem to be describing, but in the Renaissance (and very probably earlier), artists would prick through their draft, then lay it on the final surface and basically use a pounce powder technique to transfer the design.  There are several existing cartoons by da Vinci and others in which the holes can be seen. 

Can you describe Johnson's process a bit further?

Offline RD5

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Re: Pricking guidelines
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 11:20:23 AM »
Interesting... I can't speak to the type of pricking you seem to be describing, but in the Renaissance (and very probably earlier), artists would prick through their draft, then lay it on the final surface and basically use a pounce powder technique to transfer the design.  There are several existing cartoons by da Vinci and others in which the holes can be seen. 

Can you describe Johnson's process a bit further?

The process is described in Writing & Illuminating & Lettering, but basically he uses a stylus to make indented lines on a piece of paper and then a fine awl to prick the lines through a stack of papers. (The context is making a book, so several pages with the same amount of guidelines are needed.)