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Crescent Moon 4/27/09

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#1 NerfMonkey


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:10 PM

I don't post many sketches here but I particularly enjoyed doing this one and thought you all might like to see it. It's my first lunar sketch.

Posted Image

I used a #3 pencil on watercolor paper with a blending stump. Some of the smallest craters were placed more or less randomly; I thought it was more important to create an impression that meticulously put every tiny detail in the proper place, and the moon was rapidly dropping behind a tree. The sketch was done between about 1:00 and 1:30 AM UT, 4/28/09. The instrument used was a pair of Oberwerk 15x70s on a tripod.

A few things to note: the disk looks a little oblong because I didn't use a compass, just eyeballed it and tried to get it as close to circular as possible. There was some haze in front of the moon when I was sketching it and the sunlight was reflecting off of it and lighting up the haze so I tried to add that in as a little shadowy "cloud" outlining the bottom portion of the disk. The terminator also had a few holes and imperfections in it so I tried to show that too, but again I didn't put every little detail in the perfect spot but only tried to give an overall impression. And the outline of the unlit part of the moon wasn't sharply defined (the sketch was done during twilight and the Eartshine was only visible during the last few minutes) so I made it very light and a little blurry.

I think it's all right for a first attempt but with a little more time the next one could definitely be better. Let me know what you think; criticism is welcome. Thanks.

#2 Tommy5



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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:31 PM

Cool lunar crescent sketch, thanks for posting.

#3 vennard


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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:36 AM

A sketch of the truest definition, do more, do more and then post them here...you have a great start.

#4 JayinUT


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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:38 AM

I'm not one to criticize on something I have yet to tackle, the Moon (one of these nights the last 7 weeks have been rough for observing time). I like how you captured the various craters. Very nice sketch and made me think of the moon I saw last night around 10:00p.m. or so.

Your sketch has raised a question for me though and I hope others respond. Is it easier to just take part of the moonscape and sketch it the first time or to do a whole sketch? I think if I can get out this week I would like to capture something along the terminator.

#5 markseibold


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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:52 PM


A very nice start on lunar sketching! You have got the necessary basics down. Did I miss where you stated the size of the format paper that you are using? Because large can make things easier to approach although it is intimidating at first, do not fear a 20” X 25” format of black pastel paper- It is a joy to discover this! Keep practicing with every available night that offers comfortable viewing now as the weather improves.

You will come to see that I can ramble on like writing a book on some of my posted responses so I apologize. I do not want to hijack your post but also to respond to Jay and in so doing to the both of you. I am by no way an expert on the moon or the sketching of it; I am rather still new to it. Although I have had several of my artworks posted in Spaceweather and once in Astronomy Picture of the Day, I am still relatively new to the rendering of small areas of fine detail on the moon.

So a quick advice for those starting the first time on the moon: Yes it is true that most artists shy away from the moon as it is at first overwhelming with so much surface detail; the eye, spirit willing, wants to drink it all in, then the hand as in fleshing it out with the drawing instrument is weak with apparently too much to handle. It is a large celestial object to take the whole image on at once. You may be limited to temperature, dew point and time in one evening. My large 20” X 25” pastel papers have become wet after a couple hours on some evenings and I had to quit, only roughing in the large image as a rough abstract with a few areas of detailed concentration; usually from the terminator line.

If you intend to do the whole moon, try to work as large as possible to render the most details. Do not fear the large paper size; just start with a large perimeter circle for the moon; say 12” ~ 15” on a 20” X 25” paper. Look at the tutorials here in the sketch forums, the chapters by Rich Handy and see the Astronomy Sketching Book.

With some practice, improvement will follow fast and you will come to feel comfortable over time. This may not be for everyone to work in such a large size but you will learn from your own experience; a heuristic process as a new student discovering from their own research, as Buckminster Fuller calls it; the aha moments will pleasantly surprise you! You will be amazed at what can be learned from this process.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing more of your new found enjoyment of sketching the moon.

My CN Sketch Gallery


#6 NerfMonkey


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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:44 PM

Thanks for the nice comments.

Mark, the sketch was done on a pad that was about 12x8" but the moon itself was only about 5x5". I think you're right that a bigger drawing area would make it easier to maximize the amount of detail in the drawing. I don't expect the finished product to be perfect anyway so big sketches and lots of detail don't scare me.

#7 frank5817



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Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:34 AM


Very nice first lunar sketch. :cool: I struggled through lunar craters and mountains before tackling a whole moon sketch. I now realize it is not the subject you sketch that makes the sketch difficult it is the attitude you bring to the sketch. In 2006 a whole moon sketch seemed out of the question for me. I no longer feel that way. Practice and a change of attitude helped me the most. Mark's suggestion on large format size helps too. Mark uses pastel pencils on black paper and for lunar sketching; this is faster and easier than graphite on white paper. If you practice both techniques you will discover this to be true. If you continue to use graphite, I would stay at about the size you are currently using until you can consistently complete sketches in a reasonable amount of time. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit and do practice on what appear to be easy to sketch lunar features. If your like me you may find some features easy and others more difficult.

Frank :)

#8 kraterkid


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Posted 30 April 2009 - 03:49 PM


You are off to a great start with your first sketch of the waxing crescent Moon! :waytogo: I'm very impressed with the details you were able to capture with your Oberwerk 15x70s, and the time limit imposed by the tree still allowed you to flesh out the noteworthy details such as Mare Crisium, Mare Fecunditatis and the craters Furnerius, Petavius, Langrenus and Cleomedes. While I agree with Mark and Frank regarding the the speed and ease of use of white pastels or Conte' Crayons on black paper for rendering the Moon, feel free to utilize the media with which you feel the most comfortable. A similar aurgument can be made for sketch size. Frank's point regarding graphite pencil sketches holds true for other media as well, Pen and Ink stippling for example. When I initially started stippling sketches, I made the sketches far too large and found that the time required to finish was overwhelming. The big lesson being each medium has it's appropriate scale. Just keep in mind one thing: Have fun sketching! Enjoyment is what our hobby is all about.

#9 NerfMonkey


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Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:46 PM

Thanks for your opinions. I'll try using other media; white pencils on black paper have always interested me since there would be no need to invert DSO sketches. I'm thinking about trying a closeup crater sketch if the weather clears up before the moon disappears.

#10 CarlosEH



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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:34 AM


An excellent observation of the Crescent Moon. You have captured the flavor of a slim Moon very nicely. Thank you for sharing it with us all.


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