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Brainstorming a sketching dew solution

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:28 PM

One difficulty I faced last night was excessive dew. In my climate, dew is the norm rather than the exception....and when keeping written logs with pen this isn't too bad, but graphite and moist paper just don't go together.

In fact, one of the chief frustrations I felt last night was that I couldn't blend at all, the paper was too moist (doesn't take much!), not to mention that I kept leaving my blending stick on the chart table in a puddle of dew. (Most humorous moment of the night was using the my hair dryer to remove the frost from my kneaded eraser!)

My chart table -- a nicely sized TV tray -- is very comfortable for sketching. I can bring it right over my knees as I sit next to the telescope. It also provides a convenient place to put a clip-on light for illumination. My sketching paper is 8.5x11 (I do two sketches per paper) that rests on a clipboard to give a smooth surface.

My first thought was to place a heating pad on the chart table and under the clipboard. This has two drawbacks...one, many heating pads have 60-minute off timers for safety and two, while it would keep the underside of the clipboard warm and above ambient air temperature, I don't think it would keep the paper from absorbing the moisture in the air.

What I need to do is cover the paper easily and conveniently when I am not actively drawing. My next thought is to velcro a small piano hinge to the chart table above where I put my clipboard. I could attach a piece of plastic or other non-porous material to the hinge and lift and cover my paper as needed.

Maybe I can take this a step further. Dew most assuredly will form on the plastic and as I lift and lower it and that dew will drip off...maybe even onto my drawing paper. What if I constructed a simple dew heater of a string of resistors powered by 12v? I could line the perimeter of the plastic...hopefully generating enough heat to keep the plastic relatively dry. With the cover lowered, the resistors will put out enough heat (but not too much heat) to keep the paper dry.

So that is my current thinking. :) Comments welcome.

#2 youngamateur42

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 02:34 PM

How about one of those clipboards with the storage compartment underneath? It's just a plastic clipboard that opens up to hold paper, pencils erasers etc and keeps everything dry. Only take out the paper when sketching, it works!

#3 Michael Rapp

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:23 PM

Hi Justin!

I thought about that..., but I'd have to keep taking the paper in and out of it, whereas I'd like something that would just lay on top of my paper. Still, I'll have a small bin to keep my sketching supplies in as I'm not switching out pencils all that much.

#4 Asbytec

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:27 PM

Okay, blow drying your eraser is, well, that's a lot of dew. :lol:

Maybe using the KISS method is in order here. Justin's idea is simple and seems elegant. I am not sure wiring your clipboard with dew heaters or heating pads is simple or elegant. It requires more set up and tear down time, too, wires running everywhere. It's messy and complicated. Using a blow dryer requires running power and is just aggravating, surely.

Personally, I like the simple idea of covering your sketch with a hinged absorbent material. Not plastic or metal. Maybe a thin piece of wood? Maybe a piece of cloth? Flip it up and sketch, the drop it back when observing.

Flipping a simple "dew shield" out of the way is still a bit of a nuisance, but you can get accustomed to the routine pretty quickly. It's not nearly as bad as dragging out and storing extension cords or blow drying everything after it get's wet. Just gotta find the right material that will not form dew drops.

Maybe you could just turn your sketch face down when you're observing, unless your table get's wet, too? As long as you paper is not in contact with the table, it should be alright. Maybe lay it face down on two blocks of wood, like a car on jack stands. Since you're seated when observing, pull it into your chest when you're not putting pencil to paper?

#5 Michael Rapp

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 12:45 AM

Norme,

You are making sense. Knowing me, I'd probably set the sketch paper on fire. :D

I was trying to think of a simple cover, that when flipped "open" would not be exposed to the sky and dew up itself (or at least the surface that lays down on the sketch paper would not dew up).

I was Googling for ideas on my iPad, when I noticed my iPad's cover. Instead of a single flat cover, it is hinged in various places, and it can fold back on itself.

Now, I'm not about to spend $40 on an iPad cover for my sketching paper, so I Googled how to make an iPad case -- and I found an example using cloth placemats! I could take a large placement, put some stiff material in it and fold it in half. I could device it so the placemat could hinge like the iPad case, so the side that faces the sketch paper is never exposed to the sky.

Sure is a lot easier than soldering all those resistors and wires!

#6 Asbytec

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 09:20 AM

Michael, it sure is much simpler. I was building a home made dew strip, talk about a lot of work. So, yea, keep it simple and elegant and be happy. You can fold it either to the side or to the top, which ever suits your style. Tailor to fit with the right material.

Okay, Michael, looks like you're ready to begin sketching? Soon? Cool.

#7 kraterkid

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hi Michael,

A simple solution to your dew problem might be the use of "Rite in the Rain" paper.

#8 Michael Rapp

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 01:47 PM

Rich,

That's an excellent idea! I had totally forgotten about that paper.

The only blank paper they sell is 4 5/8 x 7....wish they had blank 8.5x11 that I could run through my laser printer to get my sketching template on it.

Still may have to try it.

#9 kraterkid

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 02:02 PM

Michael did you try looking in the pattern section under blank notepads?






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