In Calontir we have used “preprints” made for the AoA level awards – with text and outlines of the illumination. A quarter century ago, those preprints were colored in with markers like the heralds still sometimes do, but we soon moved over to using paint.  Lots of people feel comfortable trying to paint preprints, even kids, as it’s just ‘coloring in the lines’.  They learn how to work with gouache and modern versions of shell gold. Learning how to do anything is an important barrier to overcome. The royal scribe will usually provide links to period manuscripts in the style of the preprints. That gives newer scribes the opportunity to begin looking at period aesthetic and sources.  Then at some point the scribe is asked or volunteers to do a custom scroll.  Often times the text is provided by the royal scribe/Crowns, unless you are known for talent or interest in writing scrolls.

I believe preprints are a valuable step toward developing new artisans. Sometimes people don’t want to go farther, and yet, they can still help the kingdom. But giving the artist the chance to develop and learn new skills within a structure can be comforting. A completely blank sheet of paper is as terrifying as a new bolt of cloth. It can be anything, but once you start, the number of things it can be shrink. While a preprint starts with a form, and can turn out wildly different. It teaches the artisan to expand their mental boundaries and let go of fear.

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