Digital versions of some of my books, and native e-books not available in print. If any of these books is revised in future, you’ll receive the udated PDF automatically at the email used for the purchase.
A handbook of materials and art technology used in early Islamic manuscripts, for artists and art lovers alike.
126 abundantly illustrated pages, tightly packed with art materials, terminology, recipes and other art technology from the Abbasid period, also known as the Golden Age of Islam. Most of this contents has never been seen before in a Western language. I have personally tested all the recipes, save for a small handful. Whether you have a general interest in art history or want to prepare and use these materials, this book has you covered. The format is A5 and wire-bound to be totally practical to use.
Note it’s not possible to print or copy contents from the file.
An artist’s handbook exploring foraged plants & other gifts from nature. For professional artists as well as hobbyists and families.
Drawing on historical techniques for illumination and calligraphy from East and West, this handbook introduces you to the wonder of transforming natural matter into fully developed art supplies. Learn the basic chemistry behind colours and prepare inks, lakes, paints, pastes, binders, media and drawing tools from plants and materials foraged as the seasons turn, or already present in your kitchen cupboard.
The 134 pages are abundantly illustrated tightly packed with recipes, techniques, and tips based on my personal testing of every one of them. The format is A5 and wire-bound to be totally practical to use in the studio or kitchen.
Note it’s not possible to print or copy contents from the file.
A practical translation into English of one of the oldest known Arabic-language inkmaking treatises, written by the polymath al-Razi in the 10th century. The original Arabic transcription is included along with abundant footnotes.
Pay what it’s worth to you, or what you can, as the purpose is to make this text easily accessible. In return please remember your copy is for your own personal use only and not to be circulated, uploaded or reproduced without permission.
The first complete translation of the 13th-century treatise in inkmaking, dyeing, pigment manufacture and many more techniques for scribes and craftsmen, written by the Andalusian master Abubakr Muhammad al-Qalalusi. The original Arabic transcription is included along with abundant footnotes.
This absolute treasure of a book starts with classic and in-depth chapters on black and coloured inks, but goes on to many chapters of special interest, such as: the only surviving description preparing a mistara (book template); the first known description in Arabic of etching on metal and use of oil paint; a complete list of “approved” pigments and admixtures, how they can be substituted, what binders to use and not use with them, how they should or should not be mixed or stored; descriptions of types of blotting powders, ink tows (liqa), gallnut types etc. Other topics covered are dissolving metals, extracting natural dyes, manufacturing pigments, dyeing fabric and wood or bone, stain removal, hair dyes, synthetic combustibles, ethanol and other unexpected substances.
Pay what it’s worth to you, or what you can, as the purpose is to make this text easily accessible. In return please remember your copy is for your own personal use only and not to be circulated, uploaded or reproduced without permission. Copying is disabled but printing for personal use is enabled.
Art of Geometry: Print-at-home books
A series of booklets with step-by-step instructions for drawing versatile patterns or specific motifs. Discontinued in print, they are now available again in this format: no shipping cost, no customs stress! Please note:
- These are not ebooks! The files are formatted to be printed and bound at home (instructions included). The pages will only be in the right order when this is done.
Learn basic geometry terminology and skills: bisecting a segment or angle, dividing the circle into 4/8, 6/12 and 5/10. An introduction on the tools you need is also included. This primer is meant for the complete beginner, but even an intermediate user may find it handy to have all the basics clearly gathered in one place.
Learn how to divide a circle into unusual numbers using “approximate constructions” (they’re so tricky it can’t be done any other way). If you started with the divisions in First Steps, this will mean you can divide with every number up to 13, and every multiple thereafter!
Learn one of the basic grids for geometric patterns. The primary Seven-Circle Grid, which generates the Grid of Triangles, is the basis for working with root 3 (√3) patterns, which is another way of saying we are working with 6 and 12 (and other multiples of 3). The grid and its variations are thoroughly covered, yielding a dozen basic and classic patterns along the way.
Learn one of the basic grids for Islamic patterns, particularly associated with North Africa. The primary Grid of Squares, also known as the Nine-Circle Grid, is the basis for working with root 2 (√2) patterns, which is another way of saying we are working with 4 and 8 (and 16 etc). The grid and its variations are thoroughly covered, yielding 10 basic and classic patterns along the way.
This volume completes the foundational grids by introducing a five-fold grid of 5 pentagrams around 1. The Decagram Grid is also introduced in its quality of “mother of Girih”, key to the construction of these tiles devised in Central Asia to cover surfaces with complex strapwork.
Learn to inscribe any number of circles inside a circle or a polygon, a basis notably for Gothic rose windows. We’ll look at two basic constructions that we can use with any polygon or any number of circles inside a circle, and then construct a full-fledged triskele window with its tracery.
Learn to construct an eight-lobed oculus (rosette window) from Chartres and a root 3 window pattern from the Great Umeyyad Mosque, each with the additional dimension of tracery.
This diagram was discovered by geometer John Michell in the 1970s. The reason it is called the Heavenly City, and also New Jerusalem, is that it was reconstructed from the detailed description of St John’s vision in Revelations, where an angel showed him “the perfect pattern of creation”. He described it as a city with, among other things, three gates on each of its four walls (full description in Revelation 21:9-14). The result is the unusual feature of 12 circles arranged in 4 groups of 3, rather than being equally distributed around the perimeter.
Learn to create a slightly simplified version of one of Chartres cathedral’s famous rose windows, also known as “The Glorification of the Virgin”. Even with the smallest details left out, this is a complex process not for the faint of heart!
Learn an impressive self-contained motif from a wall carving in Armenia. The highly intricate knotwork is based on 16 circles around a centre. The difficulty here lies in picking out the plaited bands from the numerous construction lines, but the finish is highly satisfying.
Full set of 10
Treat yourself or someone crafty with the full set of my geometry tutorial books, currently made up of 10 titles.