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Thread: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching



    Hey Alex, is this you in Astronomy magazine from last February that I'm about to read about?

    IMG_20180305_113046-01-600x841.jpeg
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Hey Alex, is this you in Astronomy magazine from last February that I'm about to read about?

    IMG_20180305_113046-01-600x841.jpeg
    Yep, that's my ugly mug
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Hello Alex,

    that's a great tutorial of yours!
    Any intention to put it all into a book? I'd be the first one to buy it.
    Thanks,

    JG
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Have you ever tried drawing as a negative (pencils on white paper) then scanning in and making negative?
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Quote Originally Posted by j.gardavsky View Post
    hello alex,

    that's a great tutorial of yours!
    Any intention to put it all into a book? I'd be the first one to buy it.
    Thanks,

    jg
    ditto !
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Thank you Alex for investing us in this way.
    Your instruction and work is beyond superlatives.
    The Mellish technique is wonderful.
    I look forward to your further posts.
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Alex: thank you for another informative and valuable post.
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Thanks for the thread Alex.

    We need more discussion around sketching as many of us do not have the talents to sketch the moon or nebula and mostly stick to easy stuff like clusters etc.
    Having a better understanding of the materials we need and how to best utilize them will greatly enhance our skills and enjoyment at the scope while sketching.
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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Have you ever tried drawing as a negative (pencils on white paper) then scanning in and making negative?
    Cyclops,

    I started with a pencil on white paper. My very first astro sketch was of Halley's Comet all those years ago - something that I've never forgotten even though I've lost that sketch.

    Pencil on white paper is a good system. But there are several technical problems with it that just cannot be overcome because of the nature of the materials:

    * Scratchy pencil markings, especially with nebulosity.
    * Difficult to regulate density of shading.
    * Rubbing or smearing graphite for nebulosity is very difficult to achieve, and impossible to correct without great difficulty and avoiding extensive damage to surrounding markings.
    * The white paper surface is a major problem if you want to maintain your dark adaptation - you cannot.
    * A scanner will introduce a large amount of glare onto the scanned image - something that not only adds a complication, but also means that you lose detail and information that is on the original sketch.
    * Fixing up a scanned image also requires to much reliance on memory in the fix-up process.

    The method that Scott developed overcomes these, and with the added bonus of not needing to invert any work, either by digital means or by re-doing the work on black paper:

    * The method overcomes the textural problem of the paper, allowing for major control of nebulosity and next to eliminating scratchiness.
    * The materials allow you to regulate and control shading, and any direct application of a soft pastel pencil mark to blend it in.
    * Correcting errors is much easier and possible to not damage any surrounding details.
    * The black paper goes a LONG way to preserving dark adaptation. How you use your lights is also VERY IMPORTANT! DON'T ever have your light coming straight off your head and reflecting back into your eyes - you are doing yourself a major disservice!
    * Minimal touching up needed in the light of day for corrections and modifications.


    I also don't scan my work. It is impossible to overcome the glare problems introduced by a scanner. Instead I photograph my work as I have total control of the lighting.

    The Mellish Technique of course is not without drawbacks. The biggest is these pieces are very delicate. Of course no one should be putting their dirty fingers on ANY work, but some works are easier to look after than others. These sketches need to be individually placed into a plastic display sheath and not be allowed to sit in a sketch pad as the delicate sketch will be irreparably damaged.

    But I haven't abandoned doing pencil onto white paper! I always take a pencil and white paper with me everywhere I go just to be prepared for whatever happens to pop up,

    Pencil and paper is still a very effective method, and really the best way to get started with astro sektching! It really is. If you would like to sketch and are unsure where to start, then just pick up a pencil and paper and have a go. You might not be too impressed with your first few pieces, but astro sketching is unlike any other form of illustration. It will take a little time to get used to it and to develop your own techniques and what feels comfortable for YOU. If you would like to just go all out straight into the deep end and start with the Mellish Technique, then brilliant. It isn't difficult.

    What ever method you want to use or start out with, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE first at home copying photographs to get the hand of it. It will help you develop the necessary delicate touch and muscle memory, and you will find what works and what doesn't. Do this at home instead of out in the field because out in the field you will have many other challenges begging for your attention and this distracts from the attention you need to give your sketching.

    Alex.

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    Default Re: Sketching at the telescope - a one stop shop for astro sketching

    Of course, what I have described is only the way I do things. Everyone has their own way, preferences, experiences, locations and rigs. My way is by no means any better than anyone elses. It works for me.

    What is most useful is to see how different people do their thing. This communication of ideas then goes a very long way to creating new ideas that can be adopted or developed to keep hybridizing your way of doing things.

    Where I don't hold my sketch pad in my hand for DSO work, another person may. They may also have different ways of illustrating. This then gives others more ideas to explore their own sketching.

    Two other important items

    Computer aided sketching
    Computer aided sketching is just as valid as pencil and paper! It is just a different tool. No matter if you use more traditional illustraton techniques or new technologies, the end result is an individual's interpretation of their scope experience.

    Video Astronomy and sketching
    Not everyone is blessed with total freedom of movement or eyesight. Video astronomy helps many people participate in astro to give them the same sense of immediacy and "simplicity" as unhindered visual does, or even to overcome light pollution. And for some people their only way to undertake astro sketching is by working from a monitor. This is just as valid in my mind as the way I'm doing my thing.

    I struggled with this for a while when I first encountered a few years ago. But life experiences have bashed a different way of thinking into me. Today I totally accept that for some people their use of video astronomy is the only way they have to participate in astro. If this is the only way they can also participate in astro sketching, then all power to them!

    Alex.
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