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Sketching advise?

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#1 azreal07



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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:16 AM

Hey all,

I want to start sketching but am confused about a couple of things.

most of the sketches I see the "Circle" is black with the images and stars actually being white.

Do you guys use black paper and some kind of white pencil? I'm really not sure how you guys do this!

I really want to start sketching with the outcome being a black circle, with the stars, images being white, Rather than white paper with black dots representing stars etc etc

I hope this makes scene.

Any helps advice on start sketching would be great!



#2 bandhunter


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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:23 AM

I think some people use some kind of program that reverses their sketches.(i may have made that up) Very interested as well. I plan to start sketching this summer.

Band Hunter

#3 TenthEnemy


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Posted 22 April 2010 - 02:01 AM

You can use white conte or something similar on black paper, or you can invert the colors of your sketches in an image editing program. I prefer to do my sketches in graphite and invert them later.

#4 cildarith



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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:56 AM

Hi Anthony,

Welcome to the sketching forum. There are basically two ways to get the effect you want: 1) white pencil on black paper, or 2) black pencil on white paper, scan or photograph the sketch and invert the colors. Even a simple program like Paint can accomplish this task.

#5 JanisR


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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:09 AM

Start simple, because you'll have some brain training to do.

What I did when I started out was graphite pencil in a log book. My log book was a marble bound notebook with grid paper, but these days you can download and print very detailed custom log pages. It's a matter of personal taste and budget. Once I'd learned control of the pencils, I stepped up to black pastel paper and white Conte pastel pencils. (Ha! Back then that was the only choice). I don't do much processing to my drawings, but that's just me. I do think that taking time to scan and then invert a graphite sketch can reveal how good your sketches really are.

And you will need a red light source, a surface to lean on (I use a clipboard), a selection of erasers, maybe a blending stump or two (some folks just use fingers to blend) and a container for all your stuff.

And don't be too hard on yourself. Many people give it a try and then dispair that their drawings aren't "good enough". Always remember that the drawing is simply a record of what *you* perceived. The "perfect" image is the one inside your head, where it should be. You drawings won't be like photopraphs or electronic images, nor should they be. The drawings will be a true representation of what you can actually perceive with your eyes and your brain and your telescope. After some frustration and self-doubts, you may fall in love with sketching and find you have a peaceful pasttime that can literally last your entire life.

Oh, and it's CHEAP, too. I couldn't afford to do astrophotography in the old days, nor can I afford imaging today. Sketching is still just right for me.

#6 JayinUT


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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:38 AM


Janis has given you some great advice. I invite you to check out Jeremy Perez's site located here. He has tutorials, how to invert your sketch and what tools to use. On Tuesday I was going through my first sketches and was having a good time seeing how I have somewhat improved. In the end, the sketching is for you, to record what you have seen. One tip that I would mention that is fun is to compare your sketch to either a photo of the star field or a image from a program like The Sky or Starry Night Pro etc to see how close you came in placing stars and giving the object the right orientation. Good luck and most of all enjoy the process. Sketching is like learning to star hop, it takes time and patience when your first start out, and sometimes more as you get into it. I would also invite you to look in the gallery section of the site as many more members sketch who never post here in the forum.

#7 markseibold


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:08 PM

Anthony and Brad

Welcome to the CN world of sketching. You will find many knowledgeable and friendly people here with a wide range of advice and help.

Although others offered great advice here, I for one would feel that you are missing allot if one only considers black on white and white on black, only. In the art world, the possibilities are astronomical and I should add, colorful too! (;

I began as a child thinking that sketching was only done with a grey graphite writing pencil on white paper. Then we all had crayons as children of course in early grade school. How do we forget that? Having a father that was a visual artist possibly helped as he had bough me a set of charcoal sketching paper and materials when I was maybe 7 or 8 years age. I forgot about this for many years until high school, then onto art college but never considered melding my art with my observational astronomy as instead, simple astrophotgraphy with a 35mm camera soon took over for many years.

It was not until I saw a sketch of the suns prominences a few years ago by two others that have contributed here in the CN Sketching Forums, shown in Spaceweather.com’s front page in late 2006 that I was compelled to put orange pastel chalk to a scrap of black pastel paper that was lying around the house at 3 AM in the morning. Just playing around like a child again and not really intending to submit it to an online site. Several old antique sets of pastels from the 1930’s given to me by a relative some years before may also have been responsible as I hear many new sketchers fears of art material costs or fearing to take the leap to go to an art store and spend only a few dollars. Believe me they are minimal and this great process really has nothing to do with money. It is an enriching process for the healthy brains survival, so needed today, that I feel we will soon perish if many to choose to neglect it. I feel that it should be required in all levels of education.

Little did I know my small sketch work would be published to Spaceweather’s front page, I receinved e for several days, spurring an art contest and that I emails from around the world; and would go on to have a piece shown on Astronomy Picture of the Day within a couple weeks. I was at first in disbelief that they would publish an abstract impression from my observation of a solar prominence as I observed through my solar telescope.

Do not limit yourself to only black and white. Some have even hand duplicated the skethcing templates and f [list] orms with hand written information rather than using copied and pre-typed forms.

Wait till you see the pastel chalk shelves and the racks full of many colored pastel papers in a good art supplies store.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing your future sketch work here at CN,

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