Our colleagues from “Archäologische Illustrationen” in Berlin are starting a campaign to fund an archaeological colouring book. Although this is not a first, it seems that this is the first colouring book focused on high-quality motifs. We spoke with Anja, Conni, Martin and Viki to learn more about their project and what to expect.

Please tell us, what your company “Archäologische Illustrationen” is about. Who are you and where are you based? What services do you offer and which clients do you have? What was your best project so far?
Anja: We are a team of four illustrators; all of us have a background in Archeology, Egyptology or Art History. Shortly before my PhD, I came up with the idea of making a lucrative job out of documenting and drawing archaeological finds. In 2013 we created the concept for “Archäologische Illustrationen” and started to work. We started by offering drawings, photographs and reconstructions, soon we added photogrammetry, 3D modelling and animation to our portfolio.
Conni: And meanwhile we receive inquiries from universities, research institutes, museums and heritage organizations. Most spectacular was probably the selection of gilded brooches from the 5th and 6th century, which we photographed and drew for the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Thüringen.

Recently, you have initiated a Startnext campaign, with your own colouring book: “Colouring Archaeology”. What idea moved you to start this project and what can we expect? Is this colouring book only for archaeologists?
Anja: We came up with this idea because of our studies and work with the archaeological material. Also, I am obsessed with 19th century drawings and multicoloured copper engravings.
Conni: And nowadays, the craft of archaeological drawing seems to be threatened with extinction. With “Colouring Archaeology – discover the colourful past” we want to counteract this forgetting and revive the world’s most beautiful finds and localities in their former colour splendour.
Martin: According to the latest scientific knowledge, architecture and sculptures were more colourful than it was long assumed and so far, there is no authentic archaeological colouring book based on real finds and historical sites.
Viki: Nevertheless, it’s not just for archaeologists …
Martin: No, no.
Viki: … but also for laymen and archaeology enthusiasts, young or old.
Anja: We pay special attention to the quality. We do not want a collection of bad copies with bold outlines printed on thin paper, but high-quality materials. In the end the painted pictures can be framed and hung on the wall. Because of the high-quality paper it is suitable for pencil, felt-tip pen and even watercolours.

When talking about authenticity, does the colouring book also offer reconstructions of ancient material or only fact-based motifs?
Anja: While researching for suitable motifs, we have focused on well preserved materials. Whether objects or architecture, we wanted to stick as much as possible to the original.
Conni: Our aim is to provide historical correct drawings to give an unadulterated insight into the archaeological remains of our world cultural heritage. We want to leave the creative part up to the customers.

With this product, you are not only offering a simple colouring book, but also communication of archaeology to the public. We see this a lot with Mesoamerican Archaeology or Egyptology, but to a lesser degree with Prehistory or Near Eastern Archaeology. How balanced are your motifs within the different archaeologies?

Viki: We also noticed this imbalance and tried to find exciting motifs from different parts of the world and time periods to offer all archaeology enthusiasts a broad spectrum of colouring pages.
Martin: I think we did a good job. Colouring Archaeology presents a collection of the highlights of human history: Stonehenge, Roman mosaics, Vikings, Egyptian temples, rock paintings, prehistoric jewellery and even Mayan gods.
Anja: It is a bit of all and we are convinced that everyone will be satisfied with the selection. And if not, we have already ideas for future colouring books. But we don’t want to reveal too much at this stage.

You achieved over 50% of your funding goal so far with 13 days left. Besides the colouring book, you offer a wide range of merchandise as a thank you for your supporters. What can we expect next?
Conni: Yes, we reached 50% after about three weeks, which makes us really happy.
Anja: That’s right, and we hope it will continue like that! What can you expect in the future? We will certainly give away more information about “Colouring Archaeology”, like sample pages, design inspirations, colouring variations. Maybe some more making of videos… let’s see!
Conni: With a successful funding, we will keep our supporters in the loop about the realization of “Colouring Archaeology” with mails and photos, which we post on our website www.archaeologische-illustrationen.de and on social media.

We thank the team of “Archäologische Illustrationen” for their time and this interview. If you want to have a look at their project, website or social media, just follow the links below:

Startnext campaign “Colouring Archaeology”
Archäologische Illustrationen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram