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Astrosketching Workshop

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#1 Special Ed

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:27 PM

Hi Folks,

I want to tell you a little bit about the two astrosketching workshops I conducted at the recent Green Bank Star Quest 7. With all the emphasis on imaging these days online, from vendors, and in the media, I wasn't sure how much interest there would be (even though last year's workshops at GBSQ 6 were very well received).

I'm happy to report that interest in astrosketching is strong. Both workshops were very well attended. People enjoyed learning about the history of sketching as well as seeing contemporary examples of astrosketches, participated enthusiastically in the hands on portion of the workshop, and then put what they learned to use each night on the observing field.

After the PowerPoint presentation (a crude but free version of last year's presentation can be seen here at slideshare. net), I passed out clipboards, templates, 2B pencils, and kneadable erasers and participants practiced on a slide that the group chose.

The first group chose Jeff Young's sketch of M57 and the second group chose Rony deLaet's drawing of M6, both of which would be visible in the summer night sky.

I went around giving encouragement and tips as people transferred what they saw onto paper. They quickly came to the realization that they really had to look at the target in order to sketch it.

Handouts included sketch materials resources and online resources. Naturally, this forum topped the list. Participants got to keep their pencil and eraser and had the loan of a clipboard for the night. Templates were supplied also.

I want to thank the organizers of GBSQ, who are willing to encourage astrosketching, as well as the members of this forum who graciously allowed me to show their work in my presentation.

On a personal note, I got to meet and talk with Carolyn Shoemaker, the famous comet discoverer, who was the keynote speaker. I even showed her some of the comet sketches in my sketchbook. A very nice person. :bow:

I hope that folks reading this will draw strength from it to use on those long and sometimes arduous nights at the eyepiece.

#2 JayinUT


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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:53 AM


Excellent report and I appreciate reading about the event. Glad to see that people are interested in sketching in a time when imaging seems to be getting more and more attention.

#3 stevecoe


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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:19 AM


I am so glad that you had a good turnout and that people went away having received a hands on lesson in drawing what they can see at the eyepiece.

I enjoy imaging on a low level, I use lenses that are piggybacked on my refractor to take wide field shots of the sky. For all my high power observations of deep sky and comets, I sketch what I see. I find that my sketches are more personal and I enjoy making them.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

#4 Special Ed

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:01 AM

Jay, Steve--thanks! I do some imaging myself and have a great deal of respect for imagers and the level of expertise it takes to get good images.

I make a point at the beginning of my talk of speaking briefly about imaging vs. sketching, since it's the elephant in the room. I explain how I believe they complement each other, allowing people at different locations to compare observations, have a visual record to scrutinize, and even use computer processing.

I mention the similiarity between stacking images in the computer and in one's visual memory during moments of good seeing. I describe the advantage of how the sensitive human eye can collect photons without burning out on the bright parts. While I'm talking about advantages, I add that sketching is a lot less expensive. Finally, I emphasize that one does not need to be an artist to produce a sketch and that the main purpose of sketching is to improve one's observing skills.

That last point is driven home during the hands on part of the workshop. :cool:

There is enough interest out there that I was asked to give my presentation and workshop at the Blackwater Falls Star Party put on by the Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society (KVAS) in September. :)

#5 Tommy5



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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:28 PM

glad to see that there is an healthy interest in sketching and that you are out there spreading the word.

#6 StacyJo


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Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:30 PM

Nice presentation!

#7 frank5817



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Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:37 PM


Very nice that you are doing this for the sketching community.
Thanks a lot.

Frank :)

#8 Special Ed

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:05 AM

Thanks, T5 and Frank. I've enjoyed being in your company here on the Web all these years.

Stacy, I'm glad you liked the presentation. I especially like showing off the work of some of the contributors to this forum. I wish I could include more of the folks sketching here, but the powerpoint would go on for several hours!

#9 CarlosEH



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Posted 24 July 2010 - 10:53 AM


An outstanding lecture on Astrosketching. You have presented the material on sketching in a systematic and logical manner. You have also used the outstanding observations of talented CN observers in your lecture which adds to the lecture. I am sure that the attendees enjoyed your lecture immensely. Thank you for sharing the lecture with us all.


#10 Special Ed

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 06:48 AM


Thank you for your kind comments--very much appreciated.

#11 ChipBee


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:53 AM

My wife and I attend Green Bank Star Quest 7 and Special Ed’s astrosketching workshops, Vivian has taken up the challenge to start sketching at the scope, she has everything ready but the weather has been bad in our area since we left Green Bank. Just yesterday, as we worked cleaning her telescope, she had me mount a small red light for sketching and then she double checked her observing backpack to make sure she had all her tool but especially her “kneadable eraser”
Thanks again for a great workshop!


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