Faces created by using different digital documentation techniques: from the Chicago House method to Roman fresco texturing

Nov 20, 2020

Drawing digitally does not mean easy and fast documentation. Creating stylistically correct, highly accurate representations of ancient Egyptian art is a very time-consuming process, which must also incorporate the necessary background research. Creating the proper digital workspace, toolbox, layers, and file system is just as important as the drawing process itself. Flexibility and sensitivity in documentation are critical.

The four face representations compiled here, while differing in their appearance, use the same design language and philosophy when dealing with the disparate types of material. Each approach is oriented toward the larger context and treats the represented data within a unified system, which offers an answer for every single issue regarding the actual project.

Digital epigraphy, and epigraphy in general, can only stay relevant within this larger context when the epigrapher creates a close connection between the ancient artwork and its interpretation. In the four instances introduced here, this connection is provided by using hybrid techniques that were based on proven methods of creating handmade drawings conventionally on paper.

The personal contact that modern epigraphers have with the ancient artists when studying the walls, sitting in front of them holding pen and paper, is not eliminated but rather enhanced by effectively employing complementary digital tools. These digital representations, from the simplest brush stroke to the most complex color texture, are always based on their conventional counterparts, providing comparability and continuity when made part of the broader documentation scheme.

Whenever one encounters a method’s shortcomings, a new method should be invented, especially in such a rapidly changing field as digital epigraphy. Nevertheless, the documentation process, especially digital field drawing, should be kept as clean and simple as possible. Last, but not least, one has to preserve the human touch, which becomes even more indispensable when drawing on the computer.

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