Borderlines on figures in a Roman mosaic

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Borderlines on figures

In figural work the order of work is;

  1. Set the figure
  2. Set the Borderline
  3. Set the background

It is always this order, if you work in any other way then you can easily make a mistake. Don't think you should do the borderline and then the figure, as important as the use of the Borderline Rule is the main part of the mosaic is the figure. Don't be tempted to set some of the background and add sections of the borderline as you get to the figure. You run the risk of missing part of the borderline.

Remember also that the borderline is not exact, look at orgiinal Roman mosiacs and you will see that there are certain areas where they do not attempt to follow the exact line of the figure. These can be parts of the figue where there are many small lines coming off such as a birds feet or parts of a head dress, see below for examples:

headress borderlineYou can see that, on the whole they avoid making a definate line of the background tesserae around the headress. If you set the borderline around every strand of the headress using keystones etc then you run the risk of creating an effect of half circles at the end of each piece which can draw in the eye. It does also increase the time taken on the work. 








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