Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hieroglyphics and The Egyptians- 3000 BC through 396 AD

Hieroglyphics in a tomb:

Hieroglyphics in a temple:

Hieroglyphics on papyrus:

A scribe is the person who must write down records. In the case of the Egyptians, scribes wrote down military tactics, how to perform rituals, government information, and Books of the Dead.

Demotic script was one type of the Egyptian language. It was used for formal documents, especially court documents. It was used around 600 BC and was usually found on papyrus.

The Egyptians used a chisel made of flint to carve hieroglyphics into the walls of tombs and temples. To write on papyrus, scribes used paints made from minerals native to the area. The brushes were sticks of wood with frayed ends.

The Rosetta stone was an important discovery because it allowed scholars to decipher Hieroglyphics using their knowledge of Greek and Demotic script.


Compositional Strategies & Design Elements

Rule of thirds:


Leading Lines:






Assignment # 3

The purpose of this assignment was to choose words to illustrate using pictographs. I chose to illustrate lines from the song White Houses by Vanessa Carlton. The pictograph engravings were done in Photoshop and it was matted in InDesign.



Cuneiform – 3000 B.C.

The Sumerian’s language (cuneiform) evolved over time eventually being adapted by their conquerers- the Akkadians. The earliest form of cuneiform are pictographs. Soon, these drawings became more abstract and then the number of possible characters grew. The new evolved cuneiform was more complex and consisted of many wedge shaped symbols. When the Akkadians adapted the cuneiform script, they completely did away with all the pictographs, becoming a completely syllabic script.

early cuneiform:

evolved cuneiform:



A nomadic civilization is a civilization that moves around, rather than staying in one place.

The Sumerian’s created a form of visual communication to keep track of business transactions. They recorded these transactions on a wet clay tablet using a wedge-shaped stylus made from reeds. When the tablet dried, there was a permanent record of the transaction.

A pictograph is a record consisting of symbols that convey meaning by resembling the object that it stands for (example: a handicap parking sign). It is a type of ideogram, which are symbols that have meaning solely by familiarity with the symbol and what it stands for (example: the five rings of the olympics stand for the olympics).

Cave Paintings- 35,000 years ago

Examples of cave paintings:

from Lascaux

from Altamira

from Chauvet-pont d’arc

Cave paintings were a visual way to communicate ideas before spoken language was developed. They were utilized by prehistoric man using natural paints made from water, plant juice, animal blood, soil, charcoal, and hematite. Their brushes also came from nature; they were made from sticks, small stones, leaves, and animal hair. Although archeologists and historians are not completely sure why cave prehistoric man created cave paintings, they have three main theories.

  1. to tell a story or retell an event
  2. as visual instructions on hunting methods
  3. for magical/religious purposes believing if an image of a desired event is created, it may come true

The study of these caves is known as speleology, or the science of exploring underground spaces.

Assignment #2

This assignment was to create a poster informing students about fair use. The main point is for students to want to go learn more about fair use. It was created using adobe illustrator and adobe indesign.

Photo Manipulation

Although photo manipulation changes how a person looks, the photo, in essence, remains the same. Photo manipulation is a great tool that we have thanks to advances in technology. Why would a child with a scar on their face want to be remembered for that scar? Or a child with slightly yellowed teeth need that on display for eternity?

Photo manipulation offers a way for these kids to look their absolute best, and as a result, feel their best too. It is a win-win situation. Dr. Bradley Peterson says that those with “socially stigmatizing features” can build confidence if those features are toned down in their photos. Furthermore, many photo alterations in school portraits eliminate temporary features such as acne or a cut. These blemishes are not actually a part of the student’s face, so the photo retouching does nothing to alter the child- merely returning them to their natural state.

But what if those photo manipulations were used on a wider scale? A common controversy today is the thinning down of fashion models to unhealthy sizes. I still believe that is okay. Fashion shoots are an art and if a photographer feels like a thinner model will work better for the piece, then there should be no problem with touching up the photo. It is not as if the models themselves are truly that thin. Since it is widely known that this retouching is done, people should be aware and simply understand that this is art.

Another case involving photo manipulation that generated much controversy was a Time cover featuring an altered OJ Simpson. On the cover, Simpson appeared darker than he really was and with shadows around his face. The entire cover had a dark, eerie feel about it leading some to accuse the “white man as stacking the deck by demonizing the black man.”  Matt Muhrin, the illustrator who manipulated the photo, defended it saying that he made it “more compelling.” In a trial that highlighted racial tensions in America, did Muhrin have a right to alter that photo? My view is yes. The aim of a magazine is to sell copies, and his edited photo was indeed more compelling than the photo they eventually replaced it with. A photo tells a story, and this story was entitled “An American Tragedy.” This story was told much better with a darker cover, than one of a Simpson in a courtroom. While still good, it did not have the same emotional impact.



Maslin, Sarah. “No Boo-boos or Cowlicks?” The New York TImes. 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <;

Zabel, Bryce. “O.J.’s Last Run: A Tale of Two Covers – Blogcritics Sports.” Blogcritics – News Reviews and Opinion. 31 Aug. 2005. Web. 09 Feb. 2011. <;.