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11 AUGUST 2012

Medieval manuscript illustrations were planned not doodled

"it's the word 'doodle' that really riles my pedantic dander. ... because, as I try to make clear, the images I post ... weren't scribbled into the margins by surreptitious snarkers whilst no one was looking. They were explicitly commissioned by the manuscript's patrons as part of the project from the very beginning. For the well–heeled noble, ordering a book was not just a matter of selecting the text; deciding on size, presentation, illustration, and ratio of naked dudes to non–naked dudes in the margins was all part of the process of getting a book made.

This is not to say that medieval readers and scribes didn't ever doodle. It's just easy to tell the difference between images planned as part of the manuscript's commission and those scribbled in by a creative, bored scribe or one of the later owners of the manuscript. Just as you might imagine, a reader might decide a chunk of text was particularly important and make a note in the margin ... Or, someone might just decide a page looked too blank and thus attempt to fill up some of that space [1]... See, the thing about medieval doodles is they look just like modern doodles ...

For this page [2], somebody sat down and sketched out a rough draft, showed it to somebody else, possibly even multiple somebodies. There were meetings. Consultants were brought in. The client was consulted. And at some point somebody said, 'Yes, that's very nice, the nuns smuggling that dude into their nunnery. Very topical. But I don't like that blanket. Too drab. Can we get someone to put some flowers on it? The difference is, I hope, clear. You don't doodle in gold leaf."

(Carl Pyrdum, 13 February 2012, Got Medieval)

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TAGS

annotationannotationsbookclientcomment systemcommentscommission • commissioned • doodledoodlingembellishmentexpository addendum • fill the space • footnotegloss (marginal notation) • gold leaf • illuminated manuscriptillustrationsinformation in contextmanuscript • manuscript illustrations • manuscriptsmargin notes • marginal illustrations • marginal notationmarginaliamarginsmedieval • medieval doodles • medieval readers • modern doodles • nakednotationnote in the marginnotesnunpage • planned images • planned not doodled • rough draft • scholia • scribbled • scribbled into the marginsvisual depiction

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 OCTOBER 2011

Design Council: an interview with graphic designer Quentin Newark

"I arrogantly imagine that I can remake the world better than it is currently. That's what happens whenever you come across a piece of graphic design that you're asked to do. Very often, you're looking at something else that somebody else has done, and you're being asked to redo it, but more clearly or more succinctly, or in a more contemporary way. And that deeply appeals to me. That deeply appeals to me to make things and it deeply appeals to me to make things better."

(Quentin Newark, UK Design Council)

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TAGS

Alan Fletcherart and design practitionersatelier method • Atelier Works • British Council • British graphic design • client • David Chipperfield • Design Council (UK)design studiodesigner • good graphic design • graphic design • graphic design company • graphic designerinterviews with designersPentagram Designposterpractitioner interview • Quentin Newark • visualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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