[Libration is the wobble of Luna on its axis which allows us to sometimes see features over the limb which are normally turned away from our line of sight. Mare Orientale is on the SW limb, and the southern and western hemisphere libration has been almost at maximum.]
The Orientale impact basin is huge, about 600 miles/1000km in diameter. I have sketched it twice before and know there is a lot of detail to be seen so I chose to use graphite pencil on white paper because I have more experience with that media. I wasn't prepared for how much detail the favorable libration and good seeing and transparency would reveal.
I started the drawing Tuesday morning and soon realized I wouldn't be able to finish it so I anchored the sketch with the main features (which I knew wouldn't change) and trusted in the National Weather Service forecast for clear skies the next 24 hours.
That forecast held and I was able to get back to work, using the "template" of the main features as a starting point. Still, there was more detail than I could render. I worked the second morning until well after local daybreak--I didn't need a light the last hour. Altogether, I spent 3 hour and 45 minutes at the eyepiece and another couple of hours tweaking the drawing and processing it with the computer. I have a good six hours in the sketch so far and I want to post a labelled version as soon as I get the time. I don't begrudge a minute of it, though--the view was the best I've ever had.
I used HB, 2B, and 6B graphite pencils, blending stumps, and my fingers on white recycled Artagain sketch paper. I've done more computer processing on the sketch than I usually do. The scan was light, so I adjusted the gamma. The SCT gives a mirror reversed view, so I digitally flipped it horizontally. I used the paintbrush function to make the background black and the foreground gray and then used smudge on the foreground to blend it. And of course I added the text. I'd like to use this pencil sketch as the basis for another sketch using black paper and Conte' crayon to give myself more practice with those media.
I've tried to make this sketch as accurate as possible, but I left much out. I know it is unusual to spend two days sketching a lunar feature, but I thought I could get away with it since MO was in full sun both days--you be the judge. Comments, feedback, and criticism are welcome.