A friend completing ancient-Near-East PhD work contacted me from the other side of the world a few weeks ago. It led to something I haven’t done in years, an illustration job. She didn’t ask me to do the illustration, actually. She wanted to know if I could help find somebody to do it — which interested me, but not as much, as I thought about it, as the possibility of doing it myself. Either was going to take time, anyhow.
Then again, I’ve never really done science illustration before. I know something about it from interest a number of years ago (and from habitually paying some attention to graphics and design), but haven’t tried my hand at it. Published examples she showed me for comparison weren’t technically advanced, though, for the most part, and all were pen or pencil drawings, a long way from state of the art today. It seemed worth a go, finally. She agreed.
I’ve had some freedom to experiment with technique and no firm deadline for this, thankfully. Below you see one of a number of photos she gave me, with grid superimposed by me, and the primary-view drawing as it currently stands. It still needs some details. There’s also a second, side view of the object to be done, without much detail.
The object itself is tiny, about equal in the top-to-bottom dimension, here, to the width of the first knuckle of a man’s index finger (mine, anyway). It would have been used to make an impression in clay. The article the drawing goes with discusses how figures of the apparently winged, lion- or griffin-like type at left were represented in its day. The problem of the illustration is clarity in support of the discussion, then, not realism.
So far I’ve resisted any impulse to learn about the history. I don’t even know what the dates are supposed to be. At some point I do hope to become a little better informed about all that.