Scribal Arts

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Historical Context

Although a scroll in history refers to a rolled piece of parchment, usually with minimal decoration, the vast majority of the award documents created within the Society for Creative Anachronism are created based upon a variety of historic sources from within the time frames covered by the SCA, and may not all be done on paper.

The first scrolls created in the Eastrealm memorialized several of the early awards and customs, from the rolled up pages taped together and hastily scrawled with the names of the bearers of the Footed Bowl (from the Order of the Portable Feast) curled up around a dowel, to single sheet Awards of Arms crafted upon cardstock with markers, poster paints, and whatever else was available. Many historic scrolls such as these are in somewhat of a state of disrepair due to the non-archival nature of the materials involved, or may have been lost to time, including high acidic content in the paper itself causing yellowing and brittleness.

Since then, the East Kingdom College of Scribes has taken care to ensure that materials used are of the best quality available to the scribe, and pH neutral paper and material content that is more likely to last over several years is encouraged at all times.

By comparison to historic exemplars, the scribal arts as we practice them in Society are truly anachronistic. As an example of this, the deadlines for projects involving the decorative/scribal arts conveying written word in the cases of organized scriptoriums and lay scribes or craftspeople would have been much longer than those expected of the scribes of the East Kingdom by the Crown of the East (via the Tyger Clerk). We also have a vast majority of seemingly limitless historic sources to draw inspiration from, through many cultures in the time periods covered by the SCA as a whole and thanks in very large part to many museums digitizing historic works for archival and educational purposes; whereas a single scribe at one fixed point in ancient history would have likely been influenced by the environment around him or her (including their religious and political environment), and may not have a broad scope of understanding of the arts of other cultures that did not interact with their own.

Inter-Kingdom Anthropology

It is important to note that the bestowal of and types of scrolls given across the Society will vary based on customs and also the number of scribes in any given College. There are still some Kingdoms that give their scrolls as what may be referred to as "charters" or "pre-prints". Unlike the East Kingdom's tradition of creating handmade pieces of art from pencils-up (either "from scratch" or with the assistance of a light box for tracing), these few remaining other Kingdoms have a set of outline artwork created by a single scribe, which is then photocopied onto acid-free paper, and distributed to the scribes to color inside. Calligraphy on these pre-prints or charters is already filled in, or includes everything but the recipient's name, date of the event, name of the King and Queen bestowing the award, and the location of the event. In most Kingdoms where this is still the custom, the use of charters and pre-prints is due in large part to a high demand, but very low number of scribes. Artwork produced on these pieces, while beautiful, is very structured and is researched by one scribe. Comparatively, East Kingdom College of Scribes scribes may pull from their own sources, and are not limited in creativity provided that the guidelines of the East Kingdom College of Scribes Scribal Handbook are followed. Use of original (from pencils-up) artwork in the East is highly encouraged, including use of a lightbox to trace from if it is needed, but computer-printed copies of the same design are discouraged in the East Kingdom College of Scribes for the sake of making each scroll unique in its own right even if the same pencil design/layout is used over and over again with slight alterations.


In addition to the East Kingdom College of Scribes' regular routine of producing scrolls for the Kingdom's awards, the various scribes of the Kingdom may gather once a year for an annual Kingdom Scriptorium, or will meet with the scribes of other Kingdoms for the annual Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (KWHSS), held in a different Kingdom each year in June. For more information on how KWHSS is organized, or where it will be held for the current year ending in June, or on how to submit a bid for a future KWHSS, please visit .

For information on when and where the next Kingdom, Regional, or local Scriptorium is being held, please contact the Tyger Clerk of the Signet - (contact) or the Schola Deputy to the EK Signet Office (contact). Please be sure to mention which group (Barony or Shire) you are located in if inquiring about a local workshop, or are interested in having a teacher visit your group.

For more information about how to become a scribe for the East Kingdom College of Scribes (whether you practice calligraphy, illumination, words, all 3, and other decorative arts such as carving, engraving, glasswork, or embroidery, please contact the Tyger Clerk and visit the EK College of Scribes Website at


East Kingdom College of Scribes - Founded in the 1980's, this group is led by the Tyger Clerk of the Signet, and is responsible for the creation of Kingdom Award Scrolls.



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