Knotwork Tutorial-Line Treatments
To this point we've been simply using black to cover up the
construction marks (dots, circles, or diamonds at the grid points)
and filling in the bands with colors. The Celtic scribes
certainly used this technique in the original manuscripts.
They also used many other techniques to decorate the bands.
Some of these are covered below.
Try increasing the circle diameters/diamond
widths without changing the grid spacing to construct thinner
bands, and making smaller circles/diamonds to help get wider
This pattern is from [Meehan2], originally from
Durrow. Here is the original grid size, and a
band generated using this template.
Here is a grid with larger diamonds generating a
This grid uses smaller diamonds and, consequently,
wider bands. Note that some spaces between bands
disappear with wider band widths. Sometimes the bands
will need to be adjusted to compensate for this effect.
Band Edge Effects
Besides changing the width, bands
themselves were often decorated.
The band edges were often drawn in black, letting the
background parchment show through.
Bands often had lines or dots running down the
...or two narrow bands running on the sides of the
Finally, the knots were sometimes simply drawn with
red dots alone against the parchment.
Celtic work was incredibly colorful.
Some knots were light on dark (as most of the examples), but some
were dark on light backgrounds. Colored areas were used on
the bands and in the middle areas (between the bands) as well.
Even if a band was continuous, often more than one color was
"Doubling" Interlace Patterns
"Doubling" can be considered a line treatment that forms a
parallel double band from a broad interlace pattern; the two
new bands do not cross except where the original broad band
did. This form of interlacing was quite popular with the
scribes and was extensively used in Kells.
Original construction techniques (see [BainG]) involved building
the original wide interlaced band, then converting the edges of
these bands into new, narrow, parallel bands, then fixing up the
interlacing. This requires a lot of erasing and
fixing. Doubling can be supported with the cell
structures we've been using by following the procedure below:
1. Draw original pattern on double-sized cells compared
to the desired final results. This pattern is taken from
[BainG] page 40, Plate E, and was originally from
Kells. I also used large (double-sized) diamonds to
keep the ratio of band size to cell size fairly
2. Build a set of "half-sized" cells between the original
points. I used smaller than half-size diamonds for band
spacing here to reflect the Lindisfarne style of
doubling. See [BainI} pages 71-72 for further information
and alternative construction techniques. On the
illustration, the new cell diamonds are in red and the new
cell sides are in green.
3. Add interruptions to the new patterns based on the old:
if the original template has a corner, add a smaller corner
inside and a larger one outside (if possible); if the original
template has a wall, add a new wall one smaller
on the "inside" (towards the middle of the panel or border)
and one larger on the "outside" (towards the edges of the
panel or border); then add walls of single cell edge size to
break up any further walls and keep the new strands/bands in
parallel. On the illustration, the new walls are in
4. Interlace as usual. Curves will take a bit of extra
planning in order to keep them parallel and a constant
width. In this example, the curves used could have been
a bit smoother (i.e., larger radius)--this would have meant
more adjustments in the corners, though...
5. Color the bands as desired. The illustration is
colored to show the continuity of the bands across the
repeating, doubled pattern.
Also see other examples of doubling provided on the
Celtic Art pages.