Digitally inked drawing created for testing the Survey's digital Chicago House Method at Luxor Temple

May 20, 2020

In 2012, with computers becoming powerful and versatile enough to reconfigure the traditional ways of documenting ancient monuments, the Epigraphic Survey started a program to develop a suitable digital equivalent of its sophisticated documentation method. ⠀ ⠀

As drawing displays, such as Wacom’s Cintiq line (@wacom), were already in widespread use among illustrators involved with epigraphic documentation, it was a natural choice of hardware to get the transition started.⠀ ⠀

Although portable drawing tablets already existed, our initial digital experimentations had to be limited to the studio, as these tablets’ fragile technology and relatively large size restricted their use to a more controlled, artificially maintained environment wherein high temperature and dust were not an issue. ⠀ ⠀

The second crucial decision concerned the choice of software most suited to produce drawings resembling traditional artwork created on paper using Rapidograph pens. Based on the expertise gained by testing out various alternatives, the Survey leaned toward exploring Photoshop, Adobe’s raster-based photo modification software, rather than utilizing any of the more popular vector-based solutions.⠀ ⠀

The driving force behind favoring freehand drawing even in the digital environment is found in the very DNA of the Epigraphic Survey and its attitude toward the monuments.⠀

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