Hey there.

I’m Ian Raven, and that you’re here tells me that you’ve reached this point for one of two reasons:

1. You’re horribly, horribly lost in the intertubes and you found this page.
2. You’re expecting to see what I’ve been up creatively, or what I’m working on right now.

If it’s the first reason, then you have my apologies. All you’ll find here is a collection of photos, scans, deconstructions, overly-harsh self-critique, and such. If it’s the second reason, then welcome! Here you’ll find a collection of photos, scans, deconstructions, overly-harsh self-critique, and such, dealing mainly with my SCA creative output.


I’ve been … not around.

I apologize! Since we moved out of the East and into Artemisia (and then into the Outlands with the zip code shuffle which brought all of Colorado within Outlandish borders), we’ve had a hard time bringing ourselves to a) spend precious money on replacing Anny’s nibs, and b) it’s just been so easy to *not* start back up. I was dealing with a massive case of Impostor Syndrome, which left me sure it was pointless to continue updating this blog. Lastly, we’re really not used to having such a far-flung kingdom in which to play. I never imagined I’d make a quick weekend jaunt to NEW MEXICO for a weekend event, not once but *twice* in a month.


We finally got our butts back in gear, and finished the baronial scrolls we were sitting on when we left, and they have been given out to the recipients (four years late but moving fast). We will likely be flexing those muscles some more in the near future. Certainly, I’ll have something I’ll need to work on for the Artisan Warrior Tournament at Battlemoor in August. Last year, I dusted off my paints and such and painted something which was frustrating in its distance from what I saw in my mind’s eye – however, the person who chose it is super chuffed with it.

In addition, I’ve been pretty busy completing The Lay of Nine Worlds, the Norse-themed tarot deck I’m building for Annys. 78 cards is a lot of art! I have the Major Arcana complete, and I’m working through the suits – Swords is finished, and Coins is four cards done – but it’s going to be a while yet before I’m close enough to launch the Kickstarter.

That said, the next few posts will be the scrolls which have never made it to the blog during the past four years. Please bear with me while I dig through the records and try to remember what I did. Also, bear with me for things like the most recent scroll, where I got so into the painting that I never stopped to document the individual steps and color changes. Dope.

Sorcha de Barry’s AoA (May 2013)

Sorcha's AoA

Award of Arms for Sorcha de Barry

This assignment actually had an excuse to be finished just under the wire, since it began life as a completely different award for a completely different person. We took that in stride, though, and put the other info aside like we’d never heard of it. Hm? What other assignment?

Since the recipient for this was being recognized for lots of work, especially with children’s activities, I sought as a source something featuring either a) children or children’s activities, or b) something which could easilly be altered to show children’s activities. Eventually, I wandered past the teeny tiny book of hours which I’d included in my figure class last year as an example of grisaille, and realized that Jean Pucelle had included scads of street life in his marginalia for that book! Bingo! The corners of nearly all the pages in that book feature lovely little people doing anything and everything one could see in Paris in the mid-fourteenth century – begging, kinging, waterbearing, thieving, what have you – so it was a good candidate for this project. As it turned out, one of the pages of which I found good photos was very nearly useful as it was, so I ended up needing to do little fabrication, just a little cosmetic surgery here and there. Continue reading

Davius’ Golden Rapier scroll (March 2013)

Davius Saincte-Jacques' Golden Rapier Scroll.

Last year, I worded Davius Saincte-Jacques’ Silver Rapier scroll, with the actual scroll handled by Mistress Nataliia. Since the source I found then was so useful for the OSR, I went back to it when Annys and I received the commission his Golden Rapier scroll. I found what I was looking for in a much earlier letter than the last time, this letter being from Edward IV, rather than Elizabeth I. As it had the feel I was looking for, I fudged the date-accuracy a skosh and ran with it. This text contains most of what I love about good scrolls: it’s overly wordy, contains wonderful spelling, and allowed me to insert several in-jokes tailored to the gentle receiving it.

Text and process images after the jump. Continue reading

14th Century Figure class handout

This is the handout for the class on 14th century figure drawing which I taught at Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium. For the people who I promised copies of this (at the time, unfinished) document, I apologise. I’ve had some unfortunate Life issues which have kept me from finishing and sending this out. I will send them out… but in the meantime, I’m putting this here so it’s available to the masses.

Does That Not Hurt Your Back – Handout

Compleat Anachronist artwork – Three People at a Table

Artwork for the Cover of the Compleat Anachronist

Artwork for the Cover of the Compleat Anachronist, based on “Death of John the Baptist”, from the ninth-century Chartres Gospel (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale lat. 9386, fol. 146)

The ninth century isn’t usually my style, but in a pinch…

A little drawing done for an upcoming issue of  the Compleat Anachronist. I was asked to draw a scene similar to a facsimile of the source material, but leaving out the actual sword-death parts. I executed this in ink on pergamenata, then scanned it and prepped it for publication.

June 2012 Pikestaff cover (April 2012)

pikestaff cover June 2012

I'm so sad - I'm a *March* cover artist! Actually... June works, too.

If you’re a paid SCA member of the East Kingdom, you may have already seen this somewhere. 🙂

This design sprang from my research for my the 14th century figure drawing class I intend to teach at Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium in June. I’ve been looking at examples of illumination and marginalia from the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries to break down the styles by basic era, and found that the style I use to draw people is pretty close to the style seen in the later 1300s, but that this style doesn’t go as far towards the 13th c. as I thought. However, I have recently found several examples of the style I was first exposed to as “14th century” art, for example, the Vienna Bohun psalter, in addition to the wonderful example of grisielle (gray work) found in the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux.

Pages from the Hours of Jeanne D'Evreaux

This is grisieile, or gray-work, and it's a fantastic example of it.

Folio 85v of the Vienna Bohun Psalter

Folio 85v of the Vienna Bohun Psalter, Moses speaking to the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea

For this cover, I finally decided to work from the Vienna Bohun psalter folio 85, which features a scene of the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea within an enormous illuminated capital. More than this, the people in this image look just like the people I usually draw, the kind of figures my hypothesis was built around. A few leaps of creative logic later, I had the pencil sketch for the cover roughed out, using the capital “P” of Pikestaff as my centerpiece. Sketches and the rest of the process follow the jump.

Continue reading

Mudthaw Youth Combat Tourney Scroll (March 2012)

Mudthaw Youth Combat Tourney Scroll

This scroll is an example of “the simple ones take the longest”. We had some trouble getting it started, because we had a completely open-ended assignment of “something for the Youth Combat tourney”, and it was not interested in telling us itself what it wanted to be. Even the text went through four of five mutations before settling on the simple, but not completely same-old, same-old form with which we ended up.

In the end, we went with my fall-back position of 14th century stylings, with a later gothic hand with which Annys has been working since the Yule A&S scroll. Again, both artist and writer will happily point out at length the errors and sub-standard bits, but also again, I think most people will argue with us. 🙂

When I can find which manuscript it is which contains the illumination from which I worked, I’ll post it here. For now, I’ll say that the trees are very much in line with the exemplar, enough to make someone who looks at manuscripts all the time say they looked like 14th century trees, and that makes me unreasonably happy.

Hidden: some process-ish shots, in the style of “more”. Continue reading

Emeline Patterson’s Seamstress to the Crown scroll

Emeline's Seamstress to the Crown scroll.


This marks our first official foray into kingdom-assigned scrolls, and I think we did OK. I can tell where all the glaring (to me) errors in the illumination are, and Annys can tell you where all the egregious and obvious (to her) calligraphy mistakes are. I don’t know as anyone else would notice, though. With luck we’ll be asked to do another. 🙂

So, on to the specs – in this case, I knew the recipient, and had some channels to double check what I knew of her persona (or, in this case, new persona). Since Emeline has moved from “some sort of piratey English” persona to some form of Viking, I began looking to Viking eddas and other sources for inspiration. I eventually found said inspiration in the doorposts of the Hylestad Stave Church in Norway, famous for the elaborate carvings representing the Lay of Sigurd.

The carvings gave me a great jumping off point, and as I thought about it, it seemed more and more appropriate since Emeline is known to work in wood a fair bit – I have a tourney prize from some years back which made. The particular image I worked from is one of Sigurd and Regin forging Sigurd’s sword Gram. The final piece is a bit of an abstraction, as it’s an ink rendering of a carved wood relief, but I think is does a fine job of evoking the feel of the original. (I elected to forgo drawing the wood grain.)

To go with it, we looked for a later-period hand that might have gone with a Scandinavian stave church, settling on artificial uncial. Our differing pronuncitions of “uncial” inspired the following exchange:

Me: “Artifi-shul un-shul.”
Annys: “Un-see-al.”
Me: “Um… then it should be artifi-see-al un-see-al.”

We wrote the text based on the Thorpe translation of “The Lay of Sigrdrifa”, from The Edda of Saemund the Learned. The meter is pretty close to the translation, but that’s a bit of a fudge since most translations don’t really do justice to their originals. All the same, we came up with a fun little bit of edda-like verse to explain what award it was, to whom it was given, why it was given out, and by which royals.

Who has Our corslet made?
Stitches fine of golden thread:
Who hast regal draped
This King of East?

Emeline Patterson
Has by her hand
attired Us
for Birka day.

Thus do We
Gregor three and Kiena
Make her Seamstress to the Crown
In Our Settmour Swamp
At the Thawing of the Mud
A.S. forty six.

Process images after the jump.

Continue reading