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kraterkid
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Making faux clay craters for sketching
      #604221 - 09/17/05 07:48 PM Attachment (126 downloads)

Hi folks,

I'm going to try to introduce a easy method to learn to draw craters without using photographs or even a telescope by creating modelling clay craters.

First start off with a ball of modelling clay about 2" in diameter. You can purchase modelling clay at most arts and crafts stores, and if you can find a gray clay buy that.

Attachment

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Edited by kraterkid (09/17/05 08:48 PM)


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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604224 - 09/17/05 07:51 PM Attachment (113 downloads)

Next flatten the clay out till it's about 1/2" thick. Notice that the clay is sitting on a piece of card board. It is really helpful to press your clay patty firmly against the board so that it will adhere to it even when placed on a wall, that way it allows you to sketch the craters from a more comfortable sitting position.

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Rich



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Edited by kraterkid (09/17/05 08:24 PM)


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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604227 - 09/17/05 07:53 PM Attachment (118 downloads)

Using a plastic bottle cap make a circular indentation in the clay.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604229 - 09/17/05 07:56 PM Attachment (117 downloads)

Following the edges of the circular impression, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch up a rim for your crater.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604230 - 09/17/05 07:58 PM Attachment (116 downloads)

This what it will look like when the rim is complete:

Attachment

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604235 - 09/17/05 08:01 PM Attachment (120 downloads)

Now use your thumb and forefinger to pinch up a central peak.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604237 - 09/17/05 08:03 PM Attachment (114 downloads)

Here's what it looks like now:

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604246 - 09/17/05 08:05 PM Attachment (105 downloads)

Next we'll add a small crater off to one side of the big one near the center of the clay patty. I used the rounded end of an artbrush but pencil erasers work just fine as well.

Attachment

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Edited by kraterkid (09/17/05 08:07 PM)


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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604261 - 09/17/05 08:10 PM Attachment (99 downloads)

Next we'll add another small crater like so:

Attachment

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604266 - 09/17/05 08:12 PM Attachment (97 downloads)

Using the sharp end of a pencil drag it through the clay to create a sinuous rille.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604270 - 09/17/05 08:14 PM Attachment (97 downloads)

We'll add one more small crater, this time by pressing a pencil eraser in to the clay.

Attachment

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604275 - 09/17/05 08:16 PM Attachment (111 downloads)

These are the final results of our arduous 5 minutes of preparation:

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604294 - 09/17/05 08:29 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

Here is an example of how you may want to light your model. Note that the desklamp is pointed where its light will strike the surface of the model at an almost tangental angle. This will give you dramatic light and shadows, similar to what you might expect to find near the Moons' terminator.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604302 - 09/17/05 08:34 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

When you are sketching of course, draw the shades and darken the room (the lamp will be your only light source). This is what you'll see:

Attachment

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604311 - 09/17/05 08:40 PM Attachment (116 downloads)

By changing the angle of the light, you can see subtle changes in the way the light and shadows fall upon these forms. Here I've lifted the board a bit by sliding my artbrush under one side of the card, simulating the setting rays of sunlight on a waning Moon:

Attachment

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604313 - 09/17/05 08:43 PM Attachment (116 downloads)

Ok, this is the setup I used to sketch this model:

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604319 - 09/17/05 08:47 PM Attachment (118 downloads)

I spent 15 minutes drawing and this is my final compressed charcoal and carbon pencil sketch. It's that easy!

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Tim2723
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #604863 - 09/18/05 09:11 AM

Rich, that's the coolest thing I've seen on CN in a long time! That's probably even better than practicing from photos.

Have you ever seen the lunar sculptures by Nasmyth and Carpenter? They did theirs from plaster and photographed them.

If this catches on, we'll have to start a sculpture forum!

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Sol Robbins
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: Tim2723]
      #604869 - 09/18/05 09:16 AM

Hi Rich,

!DITTO!

Best,

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: Sol Robbins]
      #605026 - 09/18/05 11:53 AM

Thank you guys!

I was wondering when I posted this whether it had already been discussed at CN. It was something I had started doing as a kid (wait...was I ever a kid? ) during the Apollo missions. Back then Mom used to make me homemade clay and tell me to "go make the Moon". I now see her motives, besides spurring my artistic tendencies, were to give her a break from my constant yammering about Apollo, Luna and her human guests! It was about three years later when I had ground and figured my first (and last) telescope mirror, that I really became interested in sketching at the eyepiece. My first attempt at lunar sketching was a bearly recognizable pencil sketch of the crater Copernicus. Mom, Dad and my brothers and sisters thought it was great though, and that was enough to keep me at it. During the long and sometimes boring days of summer vacation, I would make and sketch modelling clay lunar sculptures and contentedly sketch my faux versions. At night you would find me in my tin roofed, fold down observatory, happily sketching the prominent craters. Eventually, I learned to render them fairly well.

Sol, you might be interested to know that my sketches of Mars during the opposition of 1971 presented at the Greater San Diego Science Fair allowed me to meet a Nasa Engineer, Gene Ball, who worked at JPL. They really liked my sketches, showing me comparison images of the features I drew and explaining how dust storms or clouds were obscuring areas where I showed little detail. I received the Nasa Award which included an autographed copy of "The Mariner 6 and 7 Pictures of Mars" which I will always cherish.

Thanks again,
Rich

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #605116 - 09/18/05 01:14 PM

Tim,

Yes, I did run across the Nasmyth and Carpenter plaster models some time back, they are incredibly beautiful! I'd love to see the originals. Do you know if any of them survived and where they are now housed?

Here's a link for those who may not have seen any of their fine work:
http://www.lhl.lib.mo.us/events_exhib/exhibit/exhibits/moon/p20.htm

Rich

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Edited by kraterkid (09/18/05 01:28 PM)


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Jeremy Perez
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #605163 - 09/18/05 02:02 PM

Rich, that is VERY cool. Thank you for sharing.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: Jeremy Perez]
      #605207 - 09/18/05 02:44 PM

Thanks Jeremy!

Rich

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oldsalt
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #606006 - 09/19/05 06:42 AM

Great idea Rich. It will give us all something to do on those rainy, and cloudy nights when we a project to work on. Always enjoy seeing another way to hone ones skills. This could also make a great learning tool for school kids.

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: oldsalt]
      #606251 - 09/19/05 11:12 AM

Thanks Jim,

You're right on both points, both school kids and adults can get in on the fun!

Rich

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cildarithModerator
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #606927 - 09/19/05 07:15 PM

Only a krater 'kid' at heart would post something like this, Rich! Thanks for sharing the fun!

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: cildarith]
      #607013 - 09/19/05 08:23 PM

Hi Eric,

It was my pleasure!

Rich

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CarlosEH
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #609121 - 09/21/05 05:31 AM

Rich,

Thank you for providing us all with an excelent lesson in rendering lunar features as well as how to improve your drawing (and observational) skills. The use of clay to "create" lunar craters (and environs) is very novel. James Nasmyth and James Carpenter in their classic book "The Moon" (1874) used clay models to represent lunar features visible through the telescope ( http://www.bibliomania.com/2/9/70/117/24608/1/frameset.html ). I look forward to your future observations.

Carlos

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: CarlosEH]
      #609250 - 09/21/05 09:20 AM

Thank you very much Carlos!

It really is amazing how accurate those Nasmyth and Carpenter plasters were. The feature sizes and positions and their resultant photographs show a level of observational skill that is still unequaled in many ways.
While some of their photos display lunar promontories and crater rims as being a little more jagged in appearance, this was probably the combination of the tendency to perceive most craters as volcanic (a commonly held belief of that era) as well as the perception that emerges when one views the long jutting shadows cast by these features when observing them near the terminator. There may be another aspect to this as well, perhaps an over exaggeration in altitude was made to provide a stronger sense of relief in the final photograghs.

One of the cool things about using modelling clay is that when you are done sketching your crater you can mash it flat again and create a new feature to draw. I'm so interested in domes now that lately I've taken to making little mounds with classical craters adjacent to them and studying the way they appear at various angles of light. It's remarkable to see how quickly these faux domes disappear when the angle of the incident light is greater than 5 degrees!

Thanks again for your kind words,

Rich

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CarlosEH
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #610669 - 09/22/05 06:47 AM

Rich,

The lunar scenarios produced by the famous English selenographers James Nasmyth and James Carpenter were truly impressive even by todays standards. They included their work in their famous book The Moon:Considred as a Planet, A World, and a Satellite (1874) which is now very rare and valuable. Their results were probably influenced by the belief at the time (even up to the Apollo lunar landings) that the majority of lunar features were products of volcanism (now we know that they are due impacts billions of years ago). Their efforts are still to be envied by all.

Lunar dome are very interesting as you point out. They are difficult to observe with an incident light of greater than 5 degrees as these features are usually less than this angle in obliquity. I have found some interesting links to domes;
http://www.lpod.org/archive/2004/03/LPOD-2004-03-26.htm
http://www.uai.it/sez_lun/domes.htm
http://www.mikeoates.org/mas/members/domes/

Carlos

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: CarlosEH]
      #611334 - 09/22/05 03:41 PM

Carlos, thanks for the great links on domes, I'll be spending some foggy evenings in San Diego poring over them.
If you, or anyone else for that matter, ever find out whether any of Nasmyth and Carpenters' releifs are housed, presuming they survived the ravages of war, let me know, this kind of stuff really intrigues me!

Thanks so much,
Rich

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Rich



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Edited by kraterkid (09/22/05 03:43 PM)


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revans
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #624902 - 10/02/05 02:24 PM

This is one of the most imaginative and creative posts I've ever seen. Very well done...

Rick Evans

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: revans]
      #625002 - 10/02/05 03:19 PM

Thanks Rick!

It'll keep you sketching on cloudy or New Moon nights and its a great way to hone your skills under lighting conditions that don't change while sketching, while also providing the opportunity to experiment with different mediums in a more leisurely way. Add to that the fun you have creating these lunar scenes and you have everything rolled up in one ball o' clay!

Thanks again,
Rich

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JayKSC
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #625572 - 10/02/05 10:52 PM

This is a neat idea, and one that I'll need to try. Lunar sketching has always seemed daunting to me. Thanks much for the demonstration.

- Jay
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Erix
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: JayKSC]
      #625585 - 10/02/05 11:07 PM

So that's what sparked the post in the lunie bin! How did I miss this post? Rich, that was so fun and looks so easy to do that I can hardly wait to get to the craft shop to buy some clay. I've been trying to get my niece and nephew insterested in astronomy too and what better way than this for hands on when the weather is too bad for the scopes and binos.

I really enjoyed that, thank you!

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: JayKSC]
      #625673 - 10/03/05 12:34 AM

Thanks so much Jay!

I know you'll have as much fun as I'm having creating your own lunar terrains for sketching.

Rich

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: Erix]
      #625705 - 10/03/05 01:08 AM

Erika, I can see the three of you creating those clay models on one of those cloudy nights, because you'll all find this so much fun and a real educational opportunity for sparking thoughts about the Moon and its many exciting features. I love the way this kind of project can give kids a real "hands on" experience of astronomy as well as providing experienced observers with a neat technique for learning to sketch 3D lunar forms.

It gives me great pleasure to know you enjoyed this little exercise. Keep us posted on what you and the kids come up with!

Thanks again,
Rich

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Erix
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #627289 - 10/03/05 11:27 PM

Rich, I could barely wait to tell you that I popped to the craft shop tonight on my way home and picked up some clay. So when I have some spare time this week, I'll make a few craters to share using your faux clay tutorial! What fun!

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Erika
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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: Erix]
      #627392 - 10/04/05 01:32 AM

Wonderful Erika!

I'm really looking forward to seeing your model(s) and/or sketches from them, and if your niece and nephew make some, send us some pics of those as well. I'll be stopping by the art supply store myself this week to see if I can get some gray colored modeling clay for my "at the eyepiece lunar sculptural relief" that I mentioned doing in my post on the whereabouts of the Nasmyth and Carpenter plasters ( actually it was you who made me think about doing a direct representation in clay at the scope). This is such a blast to do, I can hardly wait to try it!

Thanks,
Rich

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nitrohepcat
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #2117433 - 01/13/08 01:00 PM

Wow. This is a really great idea. I can't wait to try it out!

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: nitrohepcat]
      #2119582 - 01/14/08 12:18 PM

Thanks Justin,

I think you'll really enjoy doing this. It's also a great way to learn lunar topography because it helps you understand the 3D aspect of the Moon's features while preparing you for your first "at the scope" sketches.

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rodelaet
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #2120004 - 01/14/08 03:12 PM

Just a silly thought of me : would it be possible to reproduce a full moon globe in clay with craters, lava flows and the like. Then with a spotlight, the phases of the moon with the shadows could be simulated?

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kraterkid
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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: rodelaet]
      #2121197 - 01/14/08 11:34 PM

Yes it could be done Rony, and I've seen convincing examples of regional areas done using this technique, i.e, Nasmyth and Carpenter's plasters from the turn of the century. However, the scale needed to show sufficent detail may demand a large diameter sphere. But then again, I've never tried what you are suggesting...hmmm!

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Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: kraterkid]
      #2137906 - 01/22/08 12:09 PM

As a child in England I was part of a group that made a world globe. We used paper mashie wrapped around a large beach ball. We formed all the continents and oceans, then when it was dry we painted it and named the different
places of the world, just as an ordinary globe would show
only ours had contours and shape. The papermashie made the
whole thing very light.

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Geoff...




Nexstar 8SE + bits and pieces
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kraterkid
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Reged: 03/07/05
Posts: 4709
Loc: Jacumba, California
Re: Making faux clay craters for sketching new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #2139407 - 01/22/08 11:15 PM

Thanks Geoffry, I'll keep that in mind. I'd love to make a paper mache' Moon with scaled elevations (perhaps a little exaggerated in the "z" axis). Cool idea!

--------------------
Rich



My CN Gallery




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