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.
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.
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.