Heart amulet made of precious stone from the Mortuary Temple site of Senwosret III at South Abydos

Jul 24, 2020

Although treating their material slightly differently, most tomb and temple publications deal with color by replacing the original hues with a simplified system, trusting color photography with the task of capturing the actual color values.

When documenting small objects in Abydos (@digabydos), I started experimenting with a method that would allow me to indicate extreme details of precious stones in a selective manner, expanding on the more objective approach of color photography. I found that in this regard, good results could be obtained by creating enhanced color pencil drawings on transparent film.

Using a set of Derwent color pencils (@derwentartofficial) on opaque matte acetate, the original tones can be represented by building up each color from several different pencil hues thus capturing a wide variety of color transitions. The result is a highly subjective representation of the object’s appearance, maintaining a more prominent role for color information as opposed to the more naturalistic perspective provided by color photography.

As can be seen in this minuscule drawing representing an amulet that is thinner than a centimeter (found at the Mortuary Temple site of Senwosret III at South Abydos), using color pencils for indicating fine details allow the artist to retain control, even when drawing at scale.

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