James Fox, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, and Marilyn Reeves, Assistant to the Head, teach a Freshman Seminar each year, From Gothic Script to Graphic Novel (LIB 199): “The book is both a physical object and a transmitter of culture. We will examine the history and art of the book, from handwritten manuscript to graphic novel. Students will have hands-on practice in writing historical scripts, making a book, designing a decorated initial on parchment, setting type and printing, and creating their own graphic sequences. A bookbinder, calligrapher, fine-press printer, book collector, and graphic novelist will give students an opportunity to view the book from many perspectives and deepen their understanding of its evolution.” This year Joe Sacco, noted comics author and journalist, was a guest lecturer. Sacco won the 1996 American Book Award for Palestine, and acclaim for Safe Area Goražde.
In addition to being enthralled by the eminent graphic novelist, the students in this class have way too much hands-on fun, learning calligraphy, binding their own book, and researching medieval manuscripts. The subject of a recent class was egg tempera, a technique used from ancient Egypt times through to the invention of oil painting in the 1500s. Egg tempera is very durable, fast drying, and perfect for detailed work. Basically, you mix pigment, water and egg white.
After learning how to concoct and apply egg tempera a student named Mary felt compelled to acknowledge the experience in this lovely combination of calligraphy and poesy on the class whiteboard. Thanks, Mary!