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StickMen Artist does Sketching, M81/82 First Time

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#1 Magellan



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:12 AM

I finally made my first few sketches. I wanted to do M13 until I saw it in the EP. Umm no! not right now, not as my first lol.

One of the other members in m club was looking for M81/82 and since I haven't seen them in my new 12" scope I decided to locate and sketch the two. Well attempt to sketch anyway.

Since I am learning the "tools of the trade" I only used an HB pencil. I drew the field stars first (while standing, OUCH!) so that I can orient the galaxy to the stars. I am including the inverted sketch's first as you can see more detail and the FOV circles from the other page and a bit of M82. Not sure how or why since they are on different pages, but anyway, here they are:

M81 This is my FIRST! I also have never seen a picture of this galaxy, I couldn't believe the arm really does exist. It isn't as "dramatic" as you see but it is pretty obvious, at least to me MISSING: Time=23:00 ADT or 20:00 UT:

Posted Image

M82, Wow, nice! I could see a nice V dust plane around the core. I was fighting and racing against the clouds on this one MISSING: FOV=33' and Magnification=125x:

Posted Image

Now here are the origionals:

Posted Image

Posted Image

There you have it, my first sketches. Comment and suggestions and of course criticism's are most welcome.

#2 JayinUT


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:18 PM


M81 is a wonderful object to sketch. I really like the detail on M82 as well as the star placements. I also like how you varied star size and brightness.

Not sure how others make their stars but I've found lately that holding my pencil with my thumb and index finder with the pencil vertical allows me to make better circles and more variance. Love to hear how you and others do it.

Good job again, I think you did a very good job on your first two objects!

#3 markseibold


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:24 PM


Very nice first attempts at sketching! :bow: :bow: :bow:
You have also documented your work well with text. You have me wanting go out and observe M82 a little closer now. I just saw the M81 - M82 pair from a dark sky last Saturday night but did not have the opportunity to sketch them.

I could advise you but I am so far into a small niche of astronomy sketch art here that I will just end up babbling about my long path as to how I got here. I have just lectured again last week to a high school class of art students about my astro art and photography.

You have made quite a leap in faith as a first into the galaxy realm of sketching. I have only attempted an impressionistic M31 in Andromeda once (see my gallery, page? somewhere there.) I actually started with the sun through an h-alpha two years ago and that got me into Spaceweather.com's front page many times, then Astronomy Picture of the Day once.

Now I do the moon more often. I don't blame you for backing off of a star cluster as a first attempt to sketch. I have never ventured into all those dots yet either. You might try black pastel paper eventually with white pastel chalks to skip the negative inversion process (plus you get a large work of hard copy art to save or sell or just put up on the wall [or into a museum?].) It creates such an aesthetic image, that many will become addicted to the artistic process for. I never knew I'd win awards for mine! Pastels are considered a near equal to oil paints for quality of image. Many artists feel that pastel chalks surpass oil painting in some respects. The ease of use of this medium is phenomenal!

Good luck and I look forward to seeing more of your sketching discoveries.

Mark Seibold
My CN Gallery

#4 Magellan



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:35 PM

I was wondering about black paper and white chalk. I am interested in doing that but I am always afraid even with HB pencils that my work is not 'permanant' in that it will smear and smudge over the lightest touch.

I do like the paper texture and how it feels, call me nuts, I can take it LOL

#5 Jeff Young

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:27 PM

Jeff --

Chalk is awfully soft; pastel pencils are a bit harder and may be better to start with. Even so, I find them more difficult to work with than regular pencil. (There are also Conte Crayons, which are sort of a stick-form oil pastel.) But give it a go and see how you get on.

I do use pastel pencils on black paper for solar sketching. The sun reflecting off white paper is just too bright to see what you're sketching (and your tear-drops tend to land on the sketch).

Most people like Strathmore Artagain best for black paper if you can find some of that.

-- Jeff.

#6 rodelaet



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:01 PM

Congratulations, Jeff, with your first sketches! :jump:

Keep up the good work!

I think you did the right thing with M13 : when an object looks too hard to render, try another target. You'll have more fun and satisfaction with an easier target.

Personally I have good experiences with a 0.3mm black pigment liner for drawing the stars. The stars points remain visible while adding features with the pencil.

#7 TenthEnemy


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

You can use a fixative on your pencil sketches if you're worried about that. It's supposed to work with chalk too, but I think it softens up the image.

You're off to a good start, work on making the stars round and blending.

I make my stars round by holding the pencil vertical and rotating it, then I go over them with a felt tip pen, making the brighter stars bigger. You can buy a blending stump, but I just use my fingers to blend.

#8 frank5817



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:10 PM


You did it. You took the plunge. A nice job indeed. Just keep sketching, you will soon find what works for your sketching style. :waytogo:

Frank :)

#9 CarlosEH



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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:27 AM


Excellent first observaions of M81/M82. You have captured the appearance of these galaxies well with your fine instrument. An HB pencil (graphite) is a powerful tool for any observer. You will have noted from the excellent tutorials on this forum that various observers use lighter shades as well (e.g. 4H, 2H, etc.) and darker shades as well (e.g. 2B, 4B (usually to render shadows on the Moon)). I would suggest to practice making observations as much as possibe and reviewing the outstanding reference produced by a variety of forum members;

Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction ( http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=1721 )

We all look forward to your future observations on the forum.


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