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Thread: Sketching

  1. #1
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    Default Sketching



    What black paper would you all suggest for sketching dso's going to try the messier contest. I already did the Orion nebula used chalk for the white wispy characteristics but was not happy with the way the group of four stars and the line of three showed up on the construction paper.
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    Orion xt8 25mm plossl 20 mm wide view 15mm wide view 6mm plossl 2x barlow

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    Default

    You could also sketch with normal pencils on white paper, then photograph/scan it in and invert it in an image editor.
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    Default Re: Sketching

    Soft white pastels.

    Check out mental4astro's blog site.
    Alexander's Astronomy Sketching

    Here's Alex's terrific video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeFVBHjsvT4
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    Default Re: Sketching

    Yep, another vote for Alex's site.
    I use pastel colors on black paper from the art store. But there are different textures of paper. I think Alex's site may mention this.
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    Default Re: Sketching

    Hi DRF,

    Thanks for the high praise, fellows,

    The biggest problem with paper when using pencils is its texture. Using pencils means that the "pits" and "shallows" in the paper miss out on being filled, and the high spots get too much.

    You could use white paper and invert the image. You still have the texture problem if just using straight pencil, but the scanner creates its own set of problems because of the way that the light is projected onto the paper and the way that the machine reads the image. The fine, soft detail is lost, especially with nebulosity. I actually photograph my work as I can control the lighting, and hence the way reflections come off the paper, so showing more detail. I can then tweak the image on the computer by the bare amount needed to give an image that best represents what I see on the paper itself.

    Rick mentioned I use the Mellish Technique (links are in Rick's post). By using dust and a brush to dry paint with, the problems of paper texture are nearly totally eliminated, you have much greater control over the density of the nebulosity, that is you can go much softer, and you can then use pencils and gel pens to give the necessary stellar punch that's needed without making stars look like big blobs to determine brilliance. The Mellish Technique is also very forgiving because of the media it uses. You don't need to get the effect you are after first go - this is unreasonable actually. Some effects DEMAND layering and developing the effect in stages. You can also make corrections with this media too. I put a star in the wrong place, I cross it out with a tiny flick, and in the light of the day I come back to the sketch, do touch ups and fix these crossed out stars with black charcoal - done!

    To answer you question about what paper to use, me, I just use the black paper pads that are marked as being "acid free". Texture of the paper isn't so much of a problem with the Mellish Technique. I just don't use super smooth or highly textured paper. That's it. I don't want to complicate things for myself.

    Copying black and white photos is a great way to become familiar with using this illustrative technique. I still do practice sketches to help me develop a change in technique, work on an effect I wasn't happy with, keep my hand in (I'll be practicing this weekend as I've not done a DSO sketch in a long time - crap lousy weather...), even trying new materials.

    Another great thing about the Mellish Technique is the cost per sketch is bugger all! The materials themselves are not expensive. Very bloody cheap actually, but you use so little of it at a time, a stick of soft pastel lasts two or three years!

    Attachment 152233 , Attachment 152234 , Attachment 152235 , Attachment 152236 , Attachment 152237

    And not a big blob for a bright star anywhere!

    Here's a little video of me sketching at the eyepiece at a star party last year done by a good mate of mine. It's not a how-to piece, but to show that I actually do my work out in the field! If you look carefully, you'll also notice an exploding meteor occur just behind the tall flagpole around the 21sec mark



    Alex.
    Last edited by mental4astro; 03-15-2017 at 12:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Sketching

    You can start with white paper and black paper...it does not need to be "special" as you are exploring what is best for you.
    I started with a grid notebook and a normal pencil. Then, bought a sketch notebook and started to use different pencils HB, 2B and 8B for different star magnitudes. Later I added a stump pencil and a "cotton stick" advised by Alex and it works way better than my fingers

    My next step is trying to sketch on black paper using the Mellish Technique (I love Alex's sketches)...once I can find soft pastel here in China (nothing is easy to find here because the language barrier).
    路易斯 LG
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