Birth Announcement

My friend Keziah requested a custom berth announcement scroll for some friends of hers.  Turnes out they’re huge Lord of the Rings fans.  As I’m steadfast against teaching myself Tengwar (the official elvish script of LotR) I decided to go with Insular Miniscule and Insular Half-Uncial.  the Miniscule is close to Tengwar, and the Half-Uncial I thought was dwarvish enough to work as the parents were described as being an elf and a dwarf.

There was a lot of collaboration with Keziah on the words and layout, which made the wordsmithing a lot of fun.  She let me have free reign over the illumination, of which I ended up keeping it very simple.  Gold and lots of it.  Originally I’d planned for the letters of Thorin to have knotwork inside, but the letters were just small enough that I couldn’t comfortably execute even simple knots, so it ended up being gold.  While the original idea would have been impressive, I feel that the gold ended up giving it an air of importance and celebration.  I also brought the gold up into their names and down into mother and father, taking inspiration from the Book of Kells.  I think it added just the right touch.

The name Thorin was a fun challenge.  I tried doing a pencil sketch, but I couldn’t get the proportions quite right.  I then picked up a Staedtler Compass and replaced the metal tip with a piece of lead.  This ended up doing the trick and acting like a very broad pen nib.


Congratulations unto Ashlen and Josh, for on the Twelfth day of September of the year Two Thousand Seventeen, they brought into this world the mighty


Deft of blade like his mother, strong of arm as his father, and true of heart as their love for each other. My all befriend him and know his companionship. May none cross him else feel his wrath.


  • DeAtrimentus Document Black/Red inks
  • Bristol paper, 9×11
  • 1mm Tape nib
  • Glass dip pen
  • Pelikan gold watercolor paint, burnished for additional shine

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