Just had my abstract for my poster presentation accepted for the 78th SAAs in Honolulu. It’s titled “Drawn Together” and will be about the field journal comic I’m doing of my season on Palau this summer. I’m really looking forward to getting started – here’s a first glimpse of the back-of-the-envelope rough sketch (well, back of a drinks tab from The Hand, actually).
And here’s the abstract and poster description in full:
Drawn Together: An illustrated archaeological field journal of a season’s excavations on Palau, Micronesia.
As an archeological illustrator, my work often becomes part of the public face of an excavation or survey project. But the context of that work – the creative and technical mechanics as well as the influences and decisions that shape the final images – is often entirely hidden.
Clarity about the process of knowledge-creation is an important component in shaping wider understanding of what archaeology is and how it works as a field practice. For funders, government bodies and the general public, this wider understanding can create a better appreciation of the challenges and needs of archaeological projects. For archaeology students – both undergraduate and postgraduate; those coming to fieldwork for the first time – this understanding can better prepare them as to the roles and expectations they can face.
In the summer of 2012, I spent six weeks as the site illustrator on an excavation project and field school on the islands of Palau in Micronesia. I kept a field journal in comic-book format which outlines the knowledge-creation process involved in my work. The format was chosen to be both highly accessible and specifically suited to record the visual nature of my work.
This illustrated journal will be used as part of the projects’ outreach package to funders, local government officials on Palau, and university administration. It will also be available to undergraduates interested in the project’s field school and postgraduates interested in pursuing research work on the islands.
The aim is to stimulate a different kind of feedback through use of a different kind of media, and encourage a different kind of relationship between the project and those whose participation ultimately helps to shape it.
The entire poster will be drawn in full-colour, comic format, echoing the style of the illustrated journal.
The poster will explain (as above) the methodological background to the journal, document the creation process both during the season and in post-excavation, and outline how this approach might well be suited to other projects. Finally, the poster will address some current questions on the use of narrative in archaeological illustration.