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Arch illustration - hints and tips please!
Hi everyone,

Since I haven't done any excavation since the summer (and writing essays is getting boring) I thought I'd have a go at expanding my skills portfolio during term time when I'm not doing much else practical-skills wise.

So, after breaking a glass the other day instead of chucking it in the bin I kept the larger fragments and decided to have a go at drawing them as you would post-ex. I've got a couple of handbooks out the library on where to start with archaeological illustration but I was wondering if anyone else fancied sharing their knowledge?

Do you have any handy hints, general advice, or clever tricks on where to start?

Cheers in advance
cheers in retreat

dont do it, what archaeological potential were you hoping a glass i broke the other day and instead of chuching it in the bin i kept the larger fragment would illustrate. Name me your favaourite archaeological illustration?
As a proper illustrator.. I'll give you a serious answer the morrow... listen not to the twitter! :p
pencils at dawn, tis war

why dont you go and draw a lithic, is it because it is about to melt?


Have a look at this page:

[Image: tecpaper10.jpg]
No 10
The Illustration of Excavated Window Glass: Suggestions for Methods and Materials.

S.White and D.King. 1990.
4 pages, 10 figs - (lSBN 0 95l672l 0 X)

AAI&S & IFA members - ?1.30 + 80p P&P
Nonmembers - ?1.50 + 80p P&P

No 9
The Illustration of Lithic Artifacts: A Guide to Drawing Stone Tools for Specialist Reports.
H.Martingell and A.Saville 1988.
30 pages, 32 figs - (lSBN 0 9513246 0 8)

AAI&S & IFA members - ?3.50 + 80p P&P
Nonmembers - ?4.00 + 80p P&P
[Image: tecpaper09.jpg]
Practice, practice, practice!
Try drawing lots of different artefacts made from lots of different materials. Nick Griffiths book is very good at the basics and layouts, and covers all the basic equipment. There is also lots of new computer stuff to get to grips with, but to my mind you need to be skilled with a set of rotrings first. Technology like scanners and photocopiers, or computer packages like corel or illustrator are great and can save hours, but if you want to be a proper illustrator you need to understand how to bring out the best of an object and actually illustrate it, not just draw it.

Buy a pad of bristol board and a cheap technical pen -doesn't have to be a rotring at first although David will try and sell you the new disposable rotrings (which are good). Play about with different styles of stippling, shading, line weights, layouts, try stuff out and see how it looks. Look at published drawings and see how different materials are drawn, and don't be afraid to say 'that looks crap' but then ask why does it, how would I improve it? My top tip is look at old 19th c antiquarian illustrations, and for contrast look at some of the worst of the 1960's/70's 'technical' illustrations. Then you will understand that a drawing can have a soul.

You should have some sort of reference collections at your university, although often these are fairly manky groups of old pottery, so try asking at a local museum and draw some decent artefacts -complete pots, metalwork etc that will inspire and test your skills. Drawing something which is complete can help bring on your understanding of how to bring out the best of the artefact, after all its easy to look at a complete pot drawing and say 'yeah that looks right' or see where you have gone wrong, whereas withjust one sherd its a lot harder.

The best artefact drawings tell you how the object was made, its material, its texture, and have a bit of you in there somewhere too.
Quote:Buy a pad of bristol board and a cheap technical pen -doesn't have to be a rotring at first although David will try and sell you the new disposable rotrings (which are good).

what a good idea Smile

for example..

I indeed learned to draw by looking at other examples and drawing - trying to match it.
The secret is in drawing what you need to know... NOT what is exactly there... if that makes sense. Chiz is a good illustrator.. and his illustrations convey the essence of the object displaying information. So it is not exactly art.. it is depiction. using convention and line to show the information. It is as Chiz says...
Quote: help bring on your understanding of how to bring out the best of the artefact
So about 1830 the fundamentals of how to draw to make it look like you was an archaeologist was established for ever more, sod the invention of photography or the raster image or more pertinently why the hell you was drawing it in the first place- preservation by record, preservation by dissemination. Archaeologist don?t draw, they get someone else to fill up a report with mindless representations. Name me your favourite archaeological illustration.
Hi Pippyn...I agree with Chiz. I think it is also really important to look at old reports and publications (just look you don't have to read them!!) to try and get a sense of how archaeological illustration has developed and the range of possibilities. I think one of the problems with computer aided illustration is that it is very easy to fall into the 'Arial' trap of believing that there is one and only one format for illustration. Not the case. Quite often (as Chiz rightly says) illustration can add soul as well as clarity to a report and sometimes that is better achieved by a 'old-fashioned' type format.

I personally am not a great fan of using too many colours in archaeological illustration and I think one of the worst excesses of computer aided illustration is the belief that all 256 colours in your palette and a multitude of midtones should all make individual appearances somewhere in a report. So I would add to Chiz's good advice: its important to learn about stipple and shading and shadow. And the best way to do that is through practice. It needn't be expensive either. One of the best archaeological illustrators I ever came across produced all of his work using black Bic fineline biro pens.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Cheers for all your advice guys, it's greatly appreciated.

I'm definately just starting with the pens and pencils basics, and Chiz and Kevin's sentiments about finding the "soul" of the object has been echoed wherever I've asked/book I've referred to.

I popped in to see the lecturer who runs the illustration module at Uni (I'm kicking myself for not taking it now), and she gave me some examples of the illustration from the Shapwick project amidst other bits and pieces as well as one of those circumference charts, which was great.

Unit, favourite illustration - anything with flint in it.

I'll let you know how it all pans out after Tuesday - when I'm drawing some REAL artefacts!

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