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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Charcoal Sketching Tutorial
      #638731 - 10/11/05 10:51 PM Attachment (381 downloads)

My sketches are done mostly with charcoal, sometimes adding chalk or graphite. So for anyone interested in the technique I use, I hope this will be helpful. - Grasshopper

Firstly, I normally sketch using the Rite in the Rain paper and the charcoal I use I've had for so long that I don't recall the brands. However, I do know that it's compressed and reformed from pure wood charcoal. The broken bits have their use as well, since sharp edges can be used for finer areas.

Also, I think it should be noted that my paper usually is approximately 4x7", with my sketch only using up 1/2 - 2/3 of that page. And all my lunar sketches are done at the EP using a bluish/white soft headlamp that normally hangs from my EP or the focuser.

For the sake of this tutorial I have used a 60 lb wt art paper at my tool bench with camera and tripod set up above me. My sketch is drawn using a photo from Nasa out of Wood's "Modern Moon" as my subject. I never use photos for my renderings, but rather I sketch at the eyepiece. However I chose to use the photo for the sake of this tutorial because its been cloudy for days.

First step - lightly outline the featured object and fill in the darkest area of it faintly. This way you can draw over it in case you don't have the formation correct. It gives me a starting point to focus on.

Attachment


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638735 - 10/11/05 10:53 PM Attachment (310 downloads)

I call this "dipping the stump in the charcoal" as I do this very often for faint areas to leave a soft outline or to fill in very faint shaded areas.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638738 - 10/11/05 10:56 PM Attachment (275 downloads)

Next I add shading inside the crater by using a light gray chalk. Normally I would dip into the charcoal with my blending stump (and use the blending stump then to fill in the shaded area), but this sketch is so big it would have taken me ages. So I substituted with the lighter chalk.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638742 - 10/11/05 10:58 PM Attachment (267 downloads)

This handy little gadget is a holder for my charcoal stick pencils. The pencils I use have no wood around them and this holder supports it better so I don't snap it in half with my clumsy vice-grip landscaping hands!

In this photo, I now begin to outline the shadowed area of the crater since I am happy with it's shape.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638746 - 10/11/05 11:01 PM Attachment (241 downloads)

I then filled it in with a larger chunk of charcoal, blended it in with the larger stump, and started adding a little detail as placement points (meaning little markings that will help me with placing more details as the sketch progresses...am I making sense? )

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory

Edited by Erix (10/12/05 09:30 AM)


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638749 - 10/11/05 11:03 PM Attachment (238 downloads)

Now it's time to add some background effect. Again, normally I would do this with my finger dipped into the charcoal, but the area is so big that it made it easier to use the chalk.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638750 - 10/11/05 11:03 PM Attachment (237 downloads)

NOW I can use my finger...it was beginning to feel left out!

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638754 - 10/11/05 11:05 PM Attachment (215 downloads)

Now I add the preliminary darker area around the crater and the surrounding area.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638756 - 10/11/05 11:07 PM Attachment (219 downloads)

More detail is added inside the crater as well switching back and forth between the charcoal pencil and the lump of charcoal.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638762 - 10/11/05 11:09 PM Attachment (221 downloads)

Nearly done. Finishing touches are added with light gray chalk, sides of a small round stick of charcoal, part of the fat lump of charcoal, and finer details with the charcoal pencil.

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638765 - 10/11/05 11:10 PM Attachment (271 downloads)

Et voila! May I present to you, my friends, Linne!

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638773 - 10/11/05 11:18 PM Attachment (222 downloads)

Here are some of my kit that I like to use. In this sketch, I've used two blending stumps, my fingers, the white vinyl eraser sparingly for highlights that I accidently marked over, the little round long piece of charcoal, the fat lump of charcoal, the charcoal pencil, and two of the gray chalks, oh and the sandpaper.

1. Charcoal pencil in its holder
2. Sandpaper for sharpening and cleaning my blending stumps
3. Section of harder charcoal pencil
4. Round pieces of charcoal
5. Fat charcoal lump
6-11. Shades of gray, black and white chalks
12. Graphite stick
13 & 14. Fat sticks of graphite
15. fatter piece of gray chalk
16. Fabric eraser (white vinyl)
17 & 18. blending stumps
19. Kneadable eraser

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638775 - 10/11/05 11:19 PM Attachment (237 downloads)

And for those of you interested in the differences between charcoal, regular pencils, chalk and graphite sticks (as well as three types of papers):

Attachment

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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Paul Rix
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/06/04
Posts: 3421
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638865 - 10/12/05 12:47 AM

An animated GIF of the photo's Erika took while creating the sketch:


Animation (209K)

Edited by Paul Rix (10/12/05 12:50 AM)


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Tim2723
The Moon Guy


Reged: 02/19/04
Posts: 5762
Loc: Northern New Jersey
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Paul Rix]
      #638884 - 10/12/05 01:10 AM

Thanks Erika (and Paul too!)!!!

Another fine contribution to our little community.

Do you find charcoal messy at the scope? I've only tried the regular charcoal pencils and even they scare me when I think of the mess I could make of my equipment. What's the secret to keeping everything clean?

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Intes MK-66 Deluxe (6" f/12 Maksutov)
Celestron C-102HD (4" f/10 achromat)
Celestron C-102AZ (4" f/5 achromat)
Orion 6LT (6" f/8 classic Newtonian)
Orion Apex 90 (90mm Mak spotter/grab-n-go/little fun scope)



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Erix
Toad Lily


Reged: 12/25/04
Posts: 24022
Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Tim2723]
      #638896 - 10/12/05 01:25 AM

Thanks Tim!

I'm very careful with our lenses...everything that is not in use is covered and my journal or clipboard is on my knee far away from the EP.

I have a little plastic pencil box that I take out with me and it usually only has a small portion of the tools shown above.

So bottom line is....no, I don't find it messy at all. I'm just careful of wiping my finger tips off on my jeans before changing EP's.

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Erika
Automatic doors make me feel like a Jedi.

Zhumell 16", 10" LX200 Classic,Celestron 102 XLT, ETX70-AT, DS Maxscope 60mm, AT6RC
PCW Memorial Observatory


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kraterkid
Post Laureate


Reged: 03/07/05
Posts: 4709
Loc: Jacumba, California
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: Erix]
      #638954 - 10/12/05 03:00 AM

Erika what a wonderful tutorial and a great sketch! That drawing of Linne seems three dimensional and the tonalities are so rich. Charcoal is quite expressive in your capable hands (Perhaps they are as strong as a vice grip but they are as precise and graceful as a concert pianists')! Thank you for the depth of detail you brought to bear on the matter of tools and the different appearances of the various mediums (charcoal, #2 pencil, gray chalk and graphite stick) on select papers.

Does laying down graphite first prevent that same area from taking a subsequent layer of gray chalk or charcoal?

You've done such a fantastic job! Thanks for enlightening us all on the use of charcoal as a sketch medium. Tom, this post has sticky written all over it!

Rich

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Rich



My CN Gallery




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Sol Robbins
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/01/03
Posts: 1985
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial new [Re: kraterkid]
      #639046 - 10/12/05 06:36 AM

Excellent!

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S.R.


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oldsalt
Astro Philosopher


Reged: 02/12/05
Posts: 8806
Loc: Pa - between starparties
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial [Re: Sol Robbins]
      #639054 - 10/12/05 06:46 AM

Outstanding Erika. The animation is also very nicely done, watched it loop a few times just to catch all the progress. Looks like I'll be adding charcoal to my arsenal next.

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There are no winners in war, only bigger losers.

"Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less. Rober E Lee

"It is well that war is terrible-otherwise we would grow to fond of it" Robert E Lee 13Dec1862 Battle of Fredricksburg

Jim


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Gandalf
sage


Reged: 08/19/05
Posts: 423
Loc: The Library of Minas Tirith
Re: Charcoal Sketching Tutorial [Re: oldsalt]
      #639148 - 10/12/05 09:06 AM

Erika,

Thanks very much - this is all great stuff!

I plan a big sketching season as soon as my new telescope arrives and I get it installed. I have all the supplies for pencil and charcoal sketching and a little desk easel which I'll get set up in my observatory on my folding pine table.

Meanwhile I'll do some practice sketches from photos, which should put me in the right mood

Thanks to you and other Lunies I have plenty of hints and tips to get me started!

Stuart

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Stuart Williams aka Gandalf the Grey - "A star shines upon the hour of our meeting".
Meade 10" LX200GPS, ETX90AT, AR6.
The Patrick Moore Lunar Observatory: http://www.lunarobservatory.co.uk
Hi-Mag Lunar Stereo Imaging Project: http://freewebs.com/luna3d



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