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New Monthly Target - The Moon

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#1 Erix

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 11:40 AM

The sketching forum has grown so much this past year, thanks to all of you who have shared their techniques, encouragement and enthusiasm. This forum has become yet another invaluable source of information, allowing us to learn from each other and improve with each sketch and observation.

CN already has a contest for images/sketches that is a way for us to have fun and show what can be accomplished through our observations. We continue striving to “create a range of options for members to explore as they use CN to develop their skills and interest in this hobby” (a quote by Tom Watson that I certainly couldn’t have worded better).

With this in mind, we could try setting up a monthly thread with a common target. Perhaps it won’t be a specific target because of location constraints, but a type of object such as complex craters, simple craters, open clusters, globs, Saturn, etc. And then encourage everyone to supply a mini tutorial with it so we can learn better the many different ways each observer tackles that same object...both for observing it and rendering it.

To get the ball rolling, the only other sketch I’ve done this month besides all the solar sketches is a full disk of the Moon. So here is this month’s first target, simply because I wanted to give you an example: An entire Moon sketch

I know several other sketchers have already sketched the entire moon either naked eye or through a scope/binoculars. It does not matter what stage the moon is in, as long as it is the entire moon as you see it. If you have already done this type of sketch, please could you post a mini tutorial either with or without step photos, and anything you feel is relevant in how you observed or rendered this target.

If you have not yet sketched the entire moon (again, it doesn’t matter what lunar day it is, or if it’s a quarter moon, etc), then now is your chance to have a go at it and share with us how you did it!

#2 Erix

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 11:46 AM

To begin with my mini tutorial, here are the sketching tools I used the night of observation. I was using an ED80 refractor with a Kelner 20mm with diagonal, moon filter because of how luminous the Moon was, and an LXD75 German Equatorial mount. I have an adjustable seat observing chair and used the powerpack that I plug the mount into for a foot rest. The sketch is done on my lap with a faint headlamp hanging down on my sketch from the diagonal.

I have a cup of hot tea in a tippy cup beside me and my sketching box is laying on the ground beside me as well, opened up and ready for use.

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#3 Erix

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 11:49 AM

Here is the sketch of the Moon I did that night. I doubt I could recreate this sketch, so in the following steps, I've only given a few examples on the jist of how I did it.

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#4 Erix

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 12:01 PM

Paul was taking the photos for me so I’m sorry these were at an angle making the disk oblong. I should have used a tripod for my camera, but was in a hurry. Still, you will get the jist of it.

1. Using black Strathmore Artagain paper, I create a circle about 7” in diameter with a softer, waxier white pencil. In this case, it was Prang.

2. A hunk of white Conte’ crayon was used to fill in the circle creating the backdrop of the sketch. I did this fairly heavy.

3. I blended very lightly and quickly with my fingers. With this smooth of paper, had I used a cloth or blending stump, it would have rubbed most of my crayon back off the paper. By the way, it’s Conte’ “crayon” but acts more like chalk or charcoal.

4. I then sketch in maria with the blending stump. As mentioned in step 3, a blending stump on this kind of paper will remove layers of the markings. The blending stump was clean and I simply rubbed out layers of the marking to “sketch” in these regions. By creating the maria first, it lays the foundation marks so that you can accurately place the other features later on in the sketch.

5. (and 6) Using a white Conte’ pencil (very dry chalky pencil) or a very fine pointed gum eraser pencil, I started concentrating on adding detail the mare regions. When I was finished with that, I added the brightest, most striking features in the same fashion. Then lastly, the extra subtle features, not treating them like actual features at all, but more like different shades or patterns on the disk. hint: Jeremy had explained before how to triangulate stars in his DSO sketches. Using his advice for DSO work, I tried this same triangulation with craters on the moon for accurate placement. It really helped in placements for such a large area that was being sketched*

6. (same as above)

7. At times I had to add more Conte chalk to increase depth, and then very lightly blended or tapped those area with my fingers to soften the new markings. Sol does a great job this type of blending on his planetary sketches, so I tried to follow his lead with this sketch. Another great way to lightly blend is with a fan brush as shown in the picture.

8. Final step, cleaning up the sketch. I really like using a dry rag or paper towel to clean up the outer areas of a sketch while using chalk or charcoal. If more umph is needed, I will use a white vinyl eraser either in pencil form like in figure 8 or a big piece of flat eraser. I sometimes blow on loose charcoal dust, but I have to make sure I don’t accidentally spit on my sketch (yes, it happens…often. :ohmy:) Another great way is using the fan brush to lightly wisp away erasure or chalk dust.

The only other thing I do with chalk or charcoal drawings is to add several layers of fixative on it. Be careful, though. Sometimes it will come out as splatters on your sketch. I shake the hairspray or can of real art fixative for a few minutes, then test spray it to release clogs or splatters, then spray my sketches very lightly and quickly.

Well, that’s it. I hope someone can find this little example useful.

Who’s next?! :D



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#5 Jaycin

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 02:55 PM

Wow Erika! :bow: I thought you said it was a "mini" tutorial. ;)
That is just too cool! :cool: Thank you very much for sharing! This monthly target thing is a great idea. I will give the whole moon a shot. I'll post the results and the process when I complete it.

#6 rodelaet

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 04:43 PM

Hi everyone,

Here is my mini tutorial :

Naked eye Moon watching.

Here is my mini tutorial. I had no tutorial in mind when I made the sketches, so I have no photo’s of the stages.

The reason for these sketches is that I wanted to test my naked eye resolution. I wanted to know how many features of the moon, the naked eye can detect.

The sketches are made on white paper with a mechanical 2B pencil. The only indoor preparation consists of drawing a 3 inch full circle on the paper.

The observing site and timing : As with all sketching, the better results come with a comfortable observing position. An observing ( lawn) chair is preferable. I once made a sketch from the driver seat of my car with the door open. Because the moon is a very bright object, there is no need for or advantage from dark adaptation of the eye. On the contrary, the eye performs better on the moon in bright ambient light. I tried to do the observations at sunset, when the sky was still bright. Once the sky darkens, the glare from the moon can wash out subtle details of the moon’s surface. Using sunglasses can also enhance the contrast of the view. Take care to use sufficient light on the sketchbook to prevent the eyes from going into dark adaptation. Having the moon next to a street light can also be helpful to cut its glare.

Drawing the Moon is very similar to drawing planets like Mars or Jupiter.
First I draw the terminator of the moon as a raw thin soft line. Next I pay attention to the most obvious dark features. I draw them as patches in gentle soft layers, to be darkened later on. Then I try to concentrate on the more subtle features. As the drawing develops, the darkest features get another pass of the pencil and more subtle features are detected. Once the surface of the moon is finished with ‘dark features’, I try to look for whiter patches. These features are drawn as dotted lines on the sketch. The terminator also gets proper attention. Sometimes the terminator can look distorted! This whole process takes about 30 minutes. I am always amazed about the amount of detail that the naked eye Moon shows to the patient observer. The raw outdoor sketch is now ready.

Once indoor the sketch can be finished. I start with a clean sheet of paper. First the full circle followed by a detailed terminator line. I fill up the whole moon with a light shade of gray. This first layer will be smoothed out with a smudging stick. It will be the basic layer to continue on. The darker features are drawn with the appropriate pencils (HB to 4B). The white areas (indicated with a dotted line on the raw sketch) are created with a small rubber. Once all the features are drawn, the sketch gets a final touch by the smudging stick and rubber. The sketch is ready to be scanned.

Here is the result.

Clear skies,

#7 kraterkid

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 05:25 PM

Fantastic work Erika and Rony! It's so cool learning how each person approachs this task. I'm in need of a little help with Photoshop CS, learning how to make a single image that is a composite of smaller images. Erika, would you or Rony or anyone else here know how I might go about this? :question: My mini tutorial will otherwise be too long to post. :ohmy:

#8 SallyR

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 05:32 PM

Hi Rich - I tend to paste the images I want alongside each other into a blank slide in 'PowerPoint', then I 'select all', 'copy' and 'paste' back into Paint Shop Pro as a single image. I haven't worked out how to do it in PSP itself so I am hoping someone else will be able to help there!

#9 kraterkid

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:03 AM

Thanks so much Sally! :flower: Actually Paul Rix, Erika's husband, helped me with Photoshop's montage procedure which is very similar to your description. I'm still wotking on the montage and tutorial text so it'll be a while yet. I'm really looking forward to your submission! :grin:

#10 kraterkid

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 01:02 PM

The following series of steps and images illustrate my approach to sketching a full phase Moon. I want to thank Paul Rix for teaching me this photo montage technique. And thanks to you Erika and Sally for your suggestions. I want to apologize on the outset for the very poor lighting, I was unaware at the time how terrible it was (too tired lately I guess!). Hope you can make out these steps.

Here’s how I do it:

1. My sketching stuff: Cosmetic brush to remove eraser debris and crumbs, blending stumps for tight work, synthetic, dense plastic packing foam to use as a blender of large areas, white Conte’ Pencils, white Conte’ Crayons (chalks), Eraser pens for small areas, Pink Pearl and Stadtler plastic erasers for large erasures, and pencil sharpeners (Carpenter’s sharpener and regular pencil sharpener).

2. I sketch on large 19” x 25.5” textured black Strathmore paper, consequently I like to tape my paper down to a sketch panel first. I use 2” wide masking tape to affix the paper to the panel, overlapping the paper on all four sides about one inch.

3. My 12” Meade SCT cap works great as a circle template.

4. Tracing the circle with a sharpened white Conte’ pencil.

5. The circle is the starting place.

6. Since this drawing is of a waning gibbous Moon, here I am sketching the approximate line of the terminator.

7. Now I erase the segment of the circle above the arc of the terminator I’ve sketched.

8. Voila, the overall shape of the full phase.

9. I like to add the most intense whites to the drawing first, so using a piece of Conte chalk stick applied on it’s side, here you see me adding the brightest features, Tycho and a bit of the southern highlands.

10. More bright areas added.

11. And so forth.

12. Yet more bright areas delineated.

13. And more.

14. I tend to dart this way and that over the paper, constantly referring to the scene before my eye(s). Here you see that I’ve been busy adding little details such as the bright crater rays and the rim around Mare Imbrium. There really is no sequential order to what part of the sketch I work at this time, just a lot of scurrying about the paper adding this and that bright detail.

15. The last to be added is the bright crater rims and shadows on the terminator. Black Conte is used to darken some of the obviously shadowed crater floors.

16. More of the same.

17. I use a flat side of a piece of Conte’ Crayon with a gentle to and fro stroke on the maria areas. Here I only want to add a small amount of chalk so that when it is blended it will still have the tone of the mares (darker than the highland regolith).

18. Rapidly moving the synthetic packing foam or sponge, with a back and forth motion, the applied Conte’ is blended until it resembles the tone of the maria.

19. I keep working the mares until blended just right.

20. Well I’ve made quite a mess with the Conte’ powder at the periphery of the Moon’s limb. Here I’m using my Stadtler plastic eraser to begin erasing the powder, hand and finger prints.

21. Yet more erasing.

22. Finally, I finish up with the cosmetic brush, whisking away the eraser debris. The sketch is now finished. I generall like to remove the tape at this point and apply a spray fixitive to prevent smearing when it is stored in my sketch archives.

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#11 kraterkid

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 01:03 PM

Here's the final sketch:

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#12 frank5817

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:09 PM

I knew at some point I wanted to try a “complete disk sketch” of the moon and there is no time like the present, especially if it is clear. I cut a rectangle ( 8.5”x 11”) from a sheet of textured black Strathmore paper and drew a 6 inch diameter circle using an old mirror tool as a template. For sketching I used a white 5mm Conte’ pastel pencil and also a black one. For a blending stump I used a piece of napkin taped over a pencil. Using these pencils reminded me of using charcoal. At first it was a bit awkward using these drawing materials. I was surprised at how easy these pastel pencils erased. I expected this to be like oil pastels and I was pleased it was not.
Although it was clear one hour after moonrise, the wind was gusting up to 30 mph. After getting started I returned to the house once to get tape to tape the paper to my clipboard.
I very carefully reviewed the methods described above by Erika, Rich and Rony. I found Erika’s method of getting the background done first very useful. I eliminated some mistakes with a gum eraser and others with the black pencil. For light I use a vest clip-on fly tying lamp. I have a white bulb lamp for fishing and a red bulb one for astronomy sketching. I used both. When I finished and returned inside I could see some smearing created by running my hand inadvertently over the sketch. I fixed this and considered the drawing finished.
If I had this to do over I would have started with a much larger circle or paper with less texture. Overall it was fun and went better than I expected.
I may never have attempted this were it not for all the fine sketchers here providing their encouragement to me. Sketchers, thank you for Best of the Sketching Forum's 'How To' Threads .

Scope 4.25” f/5 Dobsonian on an equatorial platform with a 21mm eyepiece (26 X)
Date: 1-11-2007 Time 8:05 – 9:15 UT
Temperature: -2.2 C (28 F)
Atmosphere: clear, very windy
Lunation: 21.75 days
Illumination 52%
Seeing: Antoniadi III

Frank :)

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#13 kraterkid

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:20 PM

Frank that sketch is simply beautiful! :jump: A wonderful mini tutorial as well! :D I do a lot of vigorous blending so the Strathmore texture isn't so apparent when I'm finished, but I have to say I love the way the texture works in your sketch! Wow! :yay:

#14 frank5817

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:34 PM

Rich,
Thank you for your compliments. I know I will need some practice.I have a long way to go with this medium. I am still shaking the rust off from my pencil sketches. This is good brain exercise for an old guy like me.
Frank :)

#15 Dee

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 07:06 PM

Gosh Frank that is soooooooo good.

Dee

#16 rodelaet

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 03:40 PM

Hey Frank,

a fabulous full moon sketch sketch :waytogo:

I enjoy it very much :bow:

#17 Erix

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 07:25 PM

Thanks for the contributions everyone. Wonderful sketches and tutorials. I can't wait to see more.

And I also am getting excited about next month's target!

#18 Carol L

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:51 AM

Wow, mine's from way back in June of 2005!! :bigshock:
I didn't realize it was done that long ago.
Was it the very first full disc sketch here?

As far as how it was done, it was really pretty simple: a piece of paper,
a blending stump, a pencil, a clip board, and a small piece of charcoal
(which proved to be so sloppy I never tried using it again :p).

The circular limb of the Moon was drawn free-hand with a 2B pencil
on a piece of computer paper, and the features were drawn with a
blending stump dipped in a 2B graphite swatch. After it was finished
I used charcoal to darken the background.

Like I said, pretty simple. ;)

#19 Jaycin

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 10:25 AM

Frank,

That is an Awesome sketch! :waytogo: :bow: :jump:
Those 30 MPH winds must have made things really interesting! I would feel awkward using those materiels myself (I've always been a pencil sketcher), but you sure made them work for you. Great job, my friend! :cool:

#20 Jaycin

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 10:27 AM

Carol,

That is a beautiful sketch! :bow: :waytogo:
I'd love to see more of your work here in the Sketching Forum! :)

#21 rodelaet

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 02:28 PM

Carol,

Everything from simple, it's an awesome sketch :waytogo:

#22 frank5817

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 02:29 PM

Carol,

Beautiful parsimonious sketch,simple is good and I agree with you about the charcoal, it is too messy to use at the eyepiece. I do like to sketch with it under other circumstances. Your photos are great but your sketches are fabulous. :bow: :) :bow:

Dee, Rony, and Jason:

Thank you. :)

Jason:

The wind would have been a big problem if I was using a larger, taller scope. My 4.25" dob on a platform under low power is very close to the ground so I could wait out the gusts.:coldday:
Frank

#23 Erix

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:40 PM

I'd say the charcoal is all what you're used to. I mainly use charcoal at the EP with no problems at all, as well as a few other sketchers. Also, charcoal is pretty similar to Conte' and pastels. So for all of us that use those two at the EP will do just fine with charcoal as well. ;)

I don't care for graphite. :lol:

#24 Jaycin

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 07:18 PM

OK everyone, here is my mini (and I do mean mini) tutorial for my Monthly Target sketch: The Moon

Materials: 6.25" X 8.5" Strathmore "Windpower" Sketch Pad, 0.5mm 2HB Mechanical Pencil, 50mm Finderscope Cap.

Step 1: I traced around the finderscope cap so I had a perfect circle in the center of the paper.

Step 2: I used my lowest power EP (32mm/37X) and studied the Moon for a good 20 minutes before I began sketching (it was great not having to adjust the scope every 1.25 seconds). Then I lightly drew in a line for the Terminator.

Step 3: I drew in all of the detail along the Terminator. I only darkened about a quarter inch into the Terminator, and then started on the craters on the left limb and worked my way to the right.

Step 4: I shaded in the dark areas of the mare and used my eraser to make the rays. That ended my work in the field (I kind of like referring to my driveway as "the field" ;) ).

Step 5: I scanned the sketch into my ancient computing device.

Step 6: I used my equally antiquated MGI Photosuite III to blacken the black areas, smooth the scratchy areas and adjust the brightness and contrast. Then I added the title, info and signature. After that I uploaded it to my file storage and posted it here. Viola! :cool: Here's the result:



Posted Image


Hopefully this little lesson on Jason sketching will help someone out. If not, at least you all know how simple my process is. I basically just draw what I see and then digitally add the finishing touches (like black shadows and Terminator).

Clear skies and dry sketch pads! :grin:

#25 SallyR

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 07:28 PM

Wonderful tutorials everyone! There is so much good information flying around this forum I think I'll have to start wearing a flack jacket when I login next time :roflmao:

Here's my write-up. I don't have any step-wise photos I'm afraid:

For this early evening naked eye sketch I was sat on a camping stool with a small table at my side with the sketching equipment readily to hand. It was light enough to see what I was doing without a torch for the duration of the sketch. I had the pad of paper on a clip board resting on my lap. The Moon was quite high in the sky (~40 degrees elevation) so it was a case of looking up, then down, then up, then down…..! It was a very calm evening, and there was quite a haze that became more apparent as it became darker. I was initially fooled into thinking it was quite mild, that is, until I’d been sitting still for half an hour and the cold began to bite.

On Daler-Rowney grey-blue ‘Ingres’ paper (12” x 9”), using a white pastel pencil I drew the semi-circle curve of the limb by hand, approx. 4.5 inches in diameter (a bit silly really as I had to tidy up the sketch slightly when I got back indoors to get the curve correct – I was just being too keen to get out there and start drawing at the time as it was the first clear night I’d had for nearly two weeks and I was scared the clouds would roll back in before I had time to complete the sketch!) I then lightly filled in the bulk of the area up to the terminator with a small piece of chalk pastel used on it’s side, but left out the obvious darker mare regions simply as the blue of the paper. (I found it quite helpful to screw up my eyes a bit when looking at the Moon naked eye, as it helped me to see just the light and dark regions whilst taking away the glare that was increasing all the time as the sky was getting darker.)

Using my fingertip I smudged the pastel to get a more even tone, then laid down more pastel to brighten the areas that needed it. I used both a putty rubber and a harder gum eraser to lift out pastel and re-define the mare regions, and again added in a little more pastel for a few brighter regions, this time using the pastel pencil for more precision in placing the smaller marks. It was absolutely freezing by now and I really hadn’t dressed properly and had no gloves on, so it was time to de-camp to the warmth of the house.

Once back inside (and when my hands had thawed out enough to work again!) I tidied up the curve to the correct shape by erasing a small amount of pastel from the top and bottom of the lunar disc, then brightened the curve of the limb with another layer of pastel pencil. I rubbed a small amount of orange pastel directly onto my fingertip then laid this down and smudged the colour very lightly all around the lunar image. Finally I rubbed a small amount of white chalk pastel directly onto my fingertip and applied this over the orange, again smudging with my fingertip to get the desired final colour for the haze.

I blew excess pastel powder off the sketch as I went (thankfully I didn’t spit on it!), and finished off with a light spray of fixative.

And that's it!

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