I recommended Elsa for the award with a design already in mind. I knew that I'd seen some great examples of giraffes in some medieval bestiaries, and wanted to do an image of one with some text that made it sound like the record of a naturalistic expedition. I found the giraffes on Feb. 11, and drew the layout on Feb. 12. The text was composed on Mar. 8, and then in May I started the actual work: May 6 the gold squares were painted and the text calligraphed; I sketched the design and painted all the base colors. May 8 was black and white. May 13 was some details on the grass, trees, and beastie; I'm not terribly happy with them and so stopped there before I made it worse.
The giraffe is based on the giraffes in two copies of Jacob van Maerlant's De natura bloemen in the Royal Library in the Hague, KB, 76 E 4, fol. 13rb1, and KB, KA 16, fol. 50vb.
The text reads:
Cameleopard: Native to Juneborg in Nordmark, a lady of fine repute and noble rank. Noted for its skill and teaching in the scribal arts, and for this reason, recognized as a companion of the Order of the Panache by Vitus and Eleanora, king and queen of Drachenwald, during their Double Wars expedition, a.s. xlvi
© 2011, Sara L. Uckelman.