How to Design a Charter

First, some Critical Things to Remember – Also known as “Tips for designing an approvable Charter”
by Lillias MacGuffin, June 2013, Updated May 2023
Charter Design Video Discussion – Please watch this useful session from the May 2023 Ansteorran Virtual Scribal Table going over this information.

1. PAPER: If possible, design on white paper. DO NOT use colored/mottled paper. If you choose to use blue-lined grid paper, please test it first to see that it is the type that really does vanish when you photocopy it on a regular setting. NOT ALL blue-grid graph papers actually disappear on a photocopier. Some come out in gray lines that are difficult to get rid of without risking the quality of the art, and often, the calligraphy.
2. INK: Please use a dark ink that goes on evenly. Period inks are not necessary, and a mottled ink, or one that goes on lighter in some areas than others, is difficult to make a master of so that it will copy evenly. This risks copy quality in the future.

1. Make sure your scroll is the RIGHT SIZE.

In Ansteorra, we have size standards for most scrolls. When designing your scroll, please look up the proper size for the scroll you are hoping to design here:
Ansteorran Scroll Text Size Standards, by Mistress Hillary Greenslade
Please be certain to leave at least half an inch of blank space around the edge of your design that fits within that size requirement, to allow for later cutting and framing without covering your artwork.

2. Make sure you use the correct SCROLL TEXT.

Ansteorra has specific approved scroll text options. Please look up the text options for the charter you are designing. Those can be found here:
Approved Scroll Text in the Kingdom of Ansteorra (note: Links off site), Edited by Mistress Serena Lascelles

Important Phrasing Requirement: Per Star and Star Signet, after discussion with several officers of the Scribal College, phrasing in new scroll designs will use the “stellar crown” option in the scroll text, in place of “king and queen” in the body, and while a space will be left for those words down where signatures will go, those spaces will also be left blank so that any crown may use the royal cultural titles or gendered titles of their choosing.

3. AVOID large areas of black ink. These deteriorate quickly when it comes to copying, and are at higher risk for bad copy. If you want large areas of black on a scroll, please denote that in the instructions for painting.

4. Leave Room for Names in your Calligraphy. Make certain that your lay out allows for realistic length SCA names for the Crown, the Recipient, and the full name of the Group.

5. Use a Period, or relatively uncomplicated Calligraphy hand. Save the beautiful or complex hands for single original works, especially ones where you will be able to fill in the names yourself. For Charters, which will be filled in by many different people, stick to hands that are easier to match. It looks better when the name and the rest of the calligraphy look at least reasonably close together.

6. LINES: Lines should be even. They should meet up properly (without odd gaps between them, unless specifically part of the period style in question) and should not run over/past the line they meet up with.
Use size 03 or 05 technical pens (Micron or equivalent brand). Lines can go thicker than this, but not thinner. They do not copy well if they are too thin.
Make sure to fully erase all of your pencil lines when you are finished inking.

HAVE INSTRUCTIONS: If you have taken the time to research the design you are drawing, please provide a list of the traditional pallette colors for this design, and very short instructions as to how it was done. Please include the citation information for the original inspirational artwork. (Name of artwork. Folio numbers if possible. Book you got it out of).

PROVIDE AN ALPHABET: Please provide an alphabet, with at least the Capitols, that go with your calligraphy. Submit this with your original. This will make it simpler for other calligraphers to match your hand later.

SUBMIT A CHARTER DESIGN RELEASE FORM: We cannot use your lovely artwork without the Charter Design Release Form. Please remember to send this in with your submission.

Reference Materials for Scrolls