Creating the digital equivalents of Derwent artist pens using Photoshop

Oct 17, 2020

The sample drawing used for a unique tutorial at the digitalEPIGRAPHY website is a color pencil representation augmented over MHB 95, a Thutmoside raised relief square pillar face with minimal paint preservation in the Small Amun Temple at Medinet Habu. 

As the preservation of painted details on all these pillar faces is very poor, the Epigraphic Survey decided to complement the photographic and line drawing documentation with a series of color pencil studies. Started in 2011, the idea was to create a graphical representation of all the pigment traces that can be recovered from the surface. The drawings, created by using Derwent Artist color pencils on matte acetate paper (mylar), were scanned and color corrected afterward, preparing for being published in the Survey’s forthcoming publication, Medinet Habu Volume X.

While delivering satisfactory results, using a traditional medium to create these drawings also delineated several difficulties. To avoid distortion, the original bleached enlargement holding the Rapidograph line drawing was used for specifying the context of the color pencil texture. As expected, restoring the precise alignment between enlargement and mylar after digitization was challenging.

Furthermore, the matte acetate had its own color and texture that played an important role in establishing the relevant pencil hues, an aspect that needed to be preserved. Subsequently, color calibration, distortion correction, and layer modification needed to be done for each of these drawings during postproduction.

To learn about the solution to digitally resurrect this traditional color pencil drawing technique using Photoshop, read our tutorial click here.⠀

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