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Beginning Sketching

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#1 sideshowkevin

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:16 AM

Greetings sketchy people!

My last couple of observing sessions, I have carried an observation form, some pencils and pens, and an eraser out with me, thinking that I would take a stab at my first stellar sketches. But I haven't found a target that wasn't overwhelmingly daunting to me yet, so I figured I would get your advice about some of the easier targets that would help me build skills.

I have read through a lot of the archived threads stickied here (btw, a lot of the links are dead), and I have a pretty good feel for the processes and techniques (get some brighter guide stars on paper first, work in quadrants, etc.) I should employ.

I have to say that I have little inherent "artistic aptitude" in me. I think I can compensate with my spatial relation skills - I have some experience with drafting. Another roadblock is that I have a Dob, and so I have to sketch and manually track. And it is definitely hard to re-center the same FOV. However, whenever I get frustrated I just remember that the original sketchers didn't have tracking either!

So, having said all that, I am hoping that the more experienced here could provide some stellar targets, with recommended EPs if possible, that I could attempt to sketch whenever the weather gets better here (EP recommendations are welcome because I can't figure out if I should start with low, medium, or high power sketches). I am looking for low hanging fruit at this point - something that would provide some initial confidence while also providing just a little challenge, and ultimately teaching me important sketching skills. Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

#2 Asbytec

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:41 AM

Well, try eta Cassiopeia. It's a colorful double with a interesting star field.

https://bestdoubles....ten-components/

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#3 Undermidnight

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:59 AM

Welcome to Sketching!! I have found that sketching is not necessarily about drawing everything perfect exactly as you saw it, nor is it necessarily about artistic ability, but the experience of analyzing and appreciating the subject object for what it is and attempting to capture it as best you can.

A nice candidate object to start with is M29.

Looking forward to your work!

Jason

#4 Carol L

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:21 PM

But I haven't found a target that wasn't overwhelmingly daunting to me yet...


Try sketching clusters when there's lots of lunar interference. The moonwash will overpower the dimmer stars, and the clusters won't seem as intimidating. Do as much as you feel comfortable with, and then complete the sketch on a moonless night. This technique also works with nebulous objects. Draw the initial framework of stars when there's moonwash, along with any nebulosity that's detected. Then go back and fill in the details when the sky is dark. Before you know it, you'll feel confident enough to tackle sketches on moonless nights from start to finish. ;)

Another roadblock is that I have a Dob, and so I have to sketch and manually track. And it is definitely hard to re-center the same FOV.


A handful anchor stars will solve that problem - they're usually the brightest in the field and are used as reference points throughout the sketch. Draw them first, and place them very carefully. Their pattern provides a background framework that will help you to keep your chosen starfield centered in the eyepiece. Have fun sketching! :grin:

#5 sideshowkevin

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

Thanks for the advice, everyone! Tonight looks like it will be a clear night with some lunar interference, so I look forward to trying out my first sketches on the two suggested stellar targets. It will probably be awhile before I have something worthy of post-processing, but when I do I will be sure to share it. Thanks again for your help!

#6 hbanich

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:04 PM

Greetings sketchy people!

But I haven't found a target that wasn't overwhelmingly daunting to me yet, so I figured I would get your advice about some of the easier targets that would help me build skills.


You might try practicing sketching from photos to get the a feel for the process before you start sketching at your scope. I suggest starting with planetary nebula because they often have an interesting shape, relatively sharp boundaries and are fairly small. Once you’re comfortable sketching these indoors from a photo they become a lot less daunting to face when you’re looking at them through your scope. However, you’ll have to be careful about taking the mental images from the photos with you to the scope. If you’re not totally conscious about what you’re really seeing it can be too easy to fill in the blanks about what you know is shown in the photo.

That said, practicing indoors for awhile can make sketching at your scope a lot more approachable and enjoyable.






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