I took one of my first pages and experimented with gold leaf and ruling.
On one of my initial mock-up pages I tried out ruling with a stylus — this is a method by which you “prick” a manuscript with a knife or sharp point and then “rule” it with a stylus to create the impression of lines that can be written along. Apparently I am fundamentally unable to to do this without completely messing it up. My initial mock-up ruled lines were all over the place and in order to make them visible I had to push them so hard that they were visible on the other side. Normally this wouldn’t be so bad, except my lines don’t need to be the same on each side and that would mess me up later.
My next experiment was with pencil ruling, but this provided some obvious problems: first, the lines were far too dark and obvious for my liking, and second, erasing the lines at all completely ruined the paper by pulling the fibres and destroying the texture.
So, neither of those are a go, and I guess I will have to devise a new method or practice more with the stylus.
The gold leaf turned out much better, but there were a couple of problems with THAT, too.
For one thing, the leaf lays on the page with a much higher profile than I expected. It’s quite prominent, which is not what I expected considering the medieval pages I’ve seen with leaf on them. The leaf also stuck to the opposite page when I folded it, which will cause problems for me later.
So, although it looks gorgeous on the red squares and will be awesome when finished, right now it is causing me some headaches.