Friday, 16 November 2012

Nonpareil part 2- Intermediate

In my opinion, this pattern may be in some ways easier than the pattern previously outlined. For one, more satisfying and pleasing results may be obtained. Furthermore, the pattern is also slightly easier to control. This method is also a good way of approximating the old combed patterns that you see in old books.

1- lay on the trough a base colour, usually red.
2- on this , lay droplets of black (K), blue ( B) and yellow( Y ), in a grid fashion, as shown below


( obviously, you can adjust the number of rows & columns to the size of your trough)

3- Stylus through the vertical columns, & comb across them.
=> obviously, you could use different colours from the above- Those colours are simply the most traditional.

This method of making nonpareils has long, orderly bands of colour, instead of the shorter, random stripes of the previous method. Whilst this produces a more symmetrical pattern, it may look a bit too mechanical, if you are not careful.

 If you substitute blue for green, you get a pattern known as the "old dutch"- However, I actually know of three methods of making a pattern by this moniker, and so, I have included it in a seperate post.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Nonpareil- Part 1- The basics

One of the real cliches of marbling, this pattern of marbled paper, sometimes called "combed" has been produced form the earliest times till the present day. It has been produced in almost any colour combination,  width of comb, and degree of skill since then.
 So, what is a nonapreil? Well, It is any form of marbled paper whose final step is a combing, and that combing must be preceeded by a previous combing , which is carried out at right angles to the final one. The key here is in the first combing, and it's direction.
The materials:
Nonapreils need a size which is thin, but not watery. It has to be thin, or else the colours cannot pass through the comb. Neither should it be watery, as the colours would shift about and misbehave when they are combed.

Nonpareils traditionally have 4-5 colours in them, but equally traditional ones have only two ( see blue nonpareil)

Comb: The comb in question is usually one with  0.5 cm spacing, but smaller and larger ones have been made. Nonpareils made with a large comb look good on large books, and vice versa.

The basic process of a nonpareil is this:

1- drop on any number of colours ( 2-3 is good for the beginner)
2- make a git-gel ( see--) along the length of the trough [ on small troughs, you can omit this step; and skip to 3 ]
3- on this git gel, make another, but this time, along the width of the trough
4- pass the comb along the width of the trough.

The resultng pattern, in all it's glory, is the nonpareil. Now, it is often printed as it is, but you can add extra decoration to the pattern.....

1- curled nonpareil.
 simply make curls over the nonpareil

2- double combed-
Draw a rake over the nonpareil. Occasionaly done.

There is also another method, slightly more advanced, Which, in my opinion, produces a somehat more pleasing paper. - see

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Fountain, or combed stone

This pattern is certanly one of the more unusual of the marbled patterns. It is somwehat between a nonpareil and a stone, except with one vital difference- the pattern is not stylused first.

 1- make a stone pattern- red, blue, green, and yellow are the perennial favrouites
 2- draw a comb directly through the spots. This will cause the spots to drag slightly, and develop jagged edges ( see pic above)
 3- For the best effect, curl the pattern as per french curl, but a variant known as "oak leaf" is occasionaly done- see
 4- sprinkle the whole with a fine shower of white

The pattern here is sometimes printed without the curling , or the white spots. However, In my opinion the pattern tends to be less beautiful.

Another version of this pattern uses a rake instead of a comb. The rake is usually given a small wave as it is drawn through the comb.

A third version, somewhat similar, is known as the oak- leaf.  This pattern will be described in a seperate post.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Placard marble paper

This is an exceptionally rare pattern. produced cheifly in 18thc. France and seldom elsewhere,  it is essentially a stone pattern with the colours arranged in rows or a grid. There are severla manners in which the pattern may be made. The one below is my favrouite method, but other methods are mentioned under " notes"
 For this pattern, you need red, yellow, blue and green. These colours were the mainstays of that period, and the pattern is best done in them.

1- cover the bath with red.

2-drop on blue and green in the following fashion- the actual number of sopts per row does not really matter, only that they be tolerably close to one another              
                                                                         B G B G B
( B = blue, G = green)

3- on each drop of blue, place a drop of yellow

4 sprinkle the whole with white

5- curl the pattern. Make the curls about 2 spots wide.

 Some vesions ( including the one in the deridiot encyclopaedia) do not place the yellow drops in the blue drops, but rather place them between the blue and green drops.

If it pleases you, you may draw a comb directly through the pattern at step 4. This causes the spots to form jagged edges. When the pattern is combed, an interesting effect is created.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Git-gel or back and forth

The following pattern is usually refered to its turkish name of gelgit, or gitgel (the turks do not seem to bother which one is used), but was more commonly known as the "back and forth" . It is another of the rarer patterns produced by itself, but a whole lot of other patterns use it as an intermediate step

1- Make a stone pattern. There can be as many or as little colours as you like, but 2-4 are good enough.

2- Draw parallel lines up and down the bath, first across it's length, then it's width.
To quote an old book, this should "split and elongate the droplets of colours", so the spots are now drawn out into lines.

The pattern as it is now is known as a "Gitgel". It can be printes as it is, but it looks a bit plain on it's own, so it is customary to  add a slight shower of white spots . Some books define such a pattern as an "Antique straight" .

Some people run the stylus through the trough only once. you can d
Such a pattern is also done with rakes. Once the rake is passed through the bath, it is shifted slightly, so the teeth of the comb are now between the the tracks it has preiously made. The comb is drawn through it again, and the pattern is complete.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Curl marbled paper

We now commence to the "drawn " patterns. These patterns are stone patterns which have been manupulated by drawing a stylus or comb through them. The smplest of them is the Curl

1- Make a stone pattern. The colours traditionally used were red, yellow, blue, and a fine sprinkle of white

2- Using the stylus, ( a paintbrush handle works) draws spiral shapes through the pattern.
~ Notes ~

A very ingenious method of making these papers quickily is to use a device called the "curl frame" . Basically, is consiists of a series of nails spaced some distance apart , attached to a board or lattice. When you wished to draw the pattern, you placed the frame in the size, and moved it in a spiral. Voilá! Perfect curls every time!

The pattern has been in use for an extremely long time. It was certantly made by the 18thc., and it was made up till the 19thc. Probably one reason why this pattern was invented was as a means of covering up imperfections in a "stone" pattern.  I like to imagine an early marbler, seeing a brush-hair in the bath, and picked it out, and creating a small disturbance in the pattern. To disguise it, he made a series of swirls along the affeacted area, and over the rest of the size to balance it out. And so , my children, that was how the curl pattern came about.... [ NOTE : the above is just a fanciful tale, a just-so story. I have good reason to belive that it contains not agrain of truth in it ]

Saturday, 30 June 2012


The Italian, or Hair-vein

The Italian is just another variety of Stone pattern, Which has white as it's dominant colour. The white is produced by sprinkling on, with a whisk, oxgall diluted with water.
1- Drop on a colour or two ( see below). Do not drop on a lot of colour, as this would prevent the gallwaterfrom spreading well.
2- Using a whisk, Sprinkle on some Gall water ( oxgall + water ). The gallwater should spread,  
and force the colour[s] on the size into fine, hairlike veins. If this does not happen, add     more oxgall.                                                                                 1-   Italian made with blue
Colour combinations
Blue ( see 1)
Red+ blue
Red+yellow+Green+ Blue  ( see 2)
The fineness and eveness of the droplets of colour, are the key factor to the beauty of this pattern. The pattern should look like fine mesh or lace.
 To acheive this finess, you must hold the whisk high above the trough, as this will cause the droplets to fall down as a fine shower on the pattern.

                                                                                                     2- Italian made with many colours