I have a number of Dover clip art books with decorative letters or initials. I’ve used bits of them for redwork embroidery for purses and quilts, and I use snippets of them for drawing. While browsing for inspiration to test out Winsor & Newton Gouache, I came across an exuberant floral initial that I liked from the book Decorative Letters that I bought for 75% off years ago before Dover clip art really took off.
It’s an old black and white engraving and my illustration is in colour but I like the way it turned out. The original length was 7 cm and my larger drawing is about 14.5 cms. This is in my Stillman & Birn Gamma sketchbook which has ivory-coloured paper and is hard to scan, so it’s not quite as clear as it is in person.
It’s a charming blobby flower picture, my favourite! It’s very easy to overwork gouache and make it messy looking but this was good practice.
The background lines were drawn with a Prismacolor Verithin navy blue pencil. This motif would like nice as a cover or first page in a journal. You could use it as a drop cap too on a title page.
Actually, I’ve still got a few blobs of gouache in the palette, so I might draw up a couple of small drop caps and paint them to go with some text.