Hellooooo….

….ooooo, anyone here? It’s been quite a while since I last posted (2 years). If you are, I am starting to post again and am in the middle of migrating this blog over to my newly re-designed webpage. Until that process is complete, I have a guest post entitled “Analogue to Digital and Back Again, Part I” up at savageminds.org in which I discuss the role of analogue and digital in my work. I’ll also have a second post up in a couple days. These posts of part of an Analogue/Digital series organized by Dr. Colleen Morgan and Dr. Sara Perry.

And I promise not to disappear for two more years!

A Peek Inside

Isometric Cutaway of Proposed Experimental Houses at Çatalhöyük. Adobe Illustrator, 2013.

Isometric Cutaway of Proposed Experimental Houses at Çatalhöyük. Adobe Illustrator, 2013.

Quite a while ago now I promised to share the final version of this illustration. Here it is, a simple isometric cutaway of the proposed new experimental houses. Three of the proposed buildings are from James Mellaart’s excavations and the fourth is a composite building, showing a variety of different features found in both the Mellaart and Hodder excavations. The plan is to build these house replicas over the next year for site visitors to explore. l may be overseeing the addition of the wall paintings to each house, depending on scheduling.

You can read a bit more about these experimental houses and the 2013 field season in the Çatalhöyük newsletter, downloadable here.

Çatalhöyük Update #2: Works in-progress and fun with Play-Doh

I’ve now been at Çatalhöyük for two and a half weeks and have a couple of illustration projects on the go.

Screen shot of my experimental houses cutaway in progress.

Screen shot of my experimental house cutaway in progress.

The first is a cutaway view of 4 Çatalhöyük experimental buildings which will be built this summer for site visitors to explore. We already have one experimental house, built in the early 2000s. Three of the new buildings will be based on ones excavated by James Mellaart in the 1960s and the forth will be a composite of different features found both in the Mellaart and current excavations. I actually completed a version of this illustration last summer but there have been some changes to the building plans. I am updating the illustration to reflect them. It’s been quite challenging to pour over Mellaart’s publications and photos, trying to gather enough detail to create a scaled isometric reconstruction of the buildings.

An in-progress reconstruction  of aurochs feasting.

An in-progress reconstruction of a large feast at Çatalhöyük .

I’ve also been working on a reconstruction of a large feast taking place off-site. The image depicts a group of people (90+) feasting on a recently killed aurochs. They’re located in the KOPAL area, an area excavated in 1999 just to the north of the mound. It’s a complicated image with lots of people and data to cram in and a tight deadline. I was having a bit of trouble envisioning the partially butchered aurochs that I’m placing in the background so I resorted to stealing Play-Doh from one of the kids on site and making a couple of models. (Don’t worry, I returned the Play-Doh after).

Modelling aurochs butchery with Play-Doh.

Modelling aurochs butchery with Play-Doh.

I’ll post the final versions of these illustrations when they are finished. I should also have some artifact illustrations to share soon. The excavations are gathering steam and a lot of new material is coming off the mound.

Back in Field

Tools of the trade, waiting to be organized and put to use.

Tools of the trade, waiting to be organized and put to use.

Once again I am back on the Konya Plain, organizing my pens and brushes. I arrived at Çatalhöyük this past Tuesday for my 11th field season (7th as illustrator). Excavation on the Neolithic East Mound starts tomorrow. I’m on site for 6 weeks this summer, a shorter period than usual, but I still have lots to work on. I’ll be drawing newly excavated artifacts, finishing up some reconstructions for an upcoming publication, digitizing a bunch of wall painting recordings from recent years, and inking a backlog of illustrations. I’ll post some of this work here over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, take a look at some other images and visualizations of Çatalhöyük. Jason Quinlan is the site photographer and he takes beautiful shots of the artifacts, excavations, and people of Çatalhöyük (you can see a photo of me holding a kitten in the portrait section). And Grant Cox, who completed his MSc in Virtual Pasts at the University of Southampton, has created a 3D reconstruction of the Hunter’s Shrine from the 1960s Mellaart Excavations. You can see it here.

Also, for more archaeological updates on this field season, follow Dr. Scott Haddow’s blog “A Bone to Pick“. Scott is one of the bioarchaeologists on site and he’ll be blogging about all things skeletal throughout the season.

Look Over Here!

I am currently working with Dr. Rosemary Joyce (U.C. Berkeley) to produce a series of archaeological illustrations for a few of her upcoming publications. Dr. Joyce’s research “is concerned with questions about the ways prehispanic inhabitants of Central America employed material things in actively negotiating their place in society. She is especially interested in the use of representational imagery to create and reinforce gendered identities, especially in Classic Maya monumental art and glyphic texts, and Formative period monumental and small-scale images” (Joyce). I’m illustrating some of this representational imagery, namely figurines. So far I have completed a series of graphite drawings highlighting the textile details on figurines from Playa de los Muertos, a Middle Formative site in Honduras. Below are some of these ilustrations.

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Front and back of a figurine showing textile details around waist.

I think these images are a good example of how illustration can augment text and direct the viewer’s eye to the relevant details of an object or idea. Through discussion with Dr. Joyce, I decided to execute the illustrations in graphite and use different rendering techniques to show the viewer where to look.

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Textile detail on the lower body of a figurine

By rendering the textiles in continuous tone and only indicating the rest of the figurine with line, I help highlight the details being discussed and remove superfluous information. A photograph of the whole figurine would not have directed the eye so effectively.

Headdress detail on a figurine.

Headdress detail on a figurine.