Holly Cecil | November 25, 2018

Ever wondered how dusty pottery sherds and small finds in archaeological digs translate to impeccable illustrations on the printed page? UVic Alumna Tina Ross, a professional archaeological illustrator, shared her skills with Archaeology and Art History students at a workshop hosted by UVic’s Department of Greek and Roman Studies, November 23rd.

The profile guage is an invaluable tool to translate intricate curves to your drawing.

Sitting at a table laid out with drawing materials and a range of pottery sherds, we learned terminology for labelling components of vessels, how to take measurements to translate the sherd’s profile, thickness and orientation onto the page. Calipers were particularly useful in these measurements. By levelling and measuring the curve of a pottery fragment, we also learned how to calculate the original vessel’s overall diameter. Even if an original pot is shattered into fragments, the artist can still reconstruct a rough approximation of what the vessel may have looked like in its entirety.

A particularly useful tool is the profile guage, like a comb made up of fine individual metal rods that slide in parallel formation. By pressing it against the profile of your fragment, it translates that negative impression to a positive shape that can be used to trace or verify your completed drawing.

AHVSGA contingent at the workshop – Zahra, Atri, and Hamed

Tina also mentored further skills in drawing organic shapes like flint-knapped lithics and shells. Four graduate students from Art History & Visual Studies attended the workshop (see photo at right). Thanks to Tina Ross for her expert guidance, and to Professor Brendan Burke of Greek & Roman Studies for making it possible to attend this very useful workshop.