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What's your setup for sketching at the eyepiece?

Sketching
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#1 AstroBoyInTheCity

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 12:28 AM

What is your setup when you're sketching at the eyepiece or indoors? It would be great to see photos from folks of their setups!

 

What do you find most important when you're sketching at the eyepiece?

Do you use a red light or amber?

How do you store materials for easy access?

What haven't I even considered???

 

To start this all off, I'll share my setup.

 

Setup_03_2024_B
 
When I started sketching, I would have a prismacolor pencil, a white acrylic pen, and two gel pens (0.5 and 0.7) in my shirt pocket and sketch everything in my 5x7 sketchbook on my lap. It worked okay, but I found it difficult to refine the sketches without a solid surface to balance on. From there, I've slowly evolved my setup to this. I found a laptop stand that was lying around at work and brought it home to experiment with. It's been working quite well so far. It's stable enough to take a good amount of weight from my arms while sketching, it can rotate sketching angels between 0 and 90 degrees, it's light enough to move around quickly for better positions or when changing targets, and it is large enough to add on a few extras like a light and pencil holders without them getting in the way. I also have a small canvas bag with additional tools hanging off one of the tightening thumbscrews on the main post in easy reach.
 
When positioning the stand, I setup to have minimal head movement looking between eyepiece and paper. Ideally, If I open both eyes I'd be able to see both the object in the viewfinder and the sketch on the paper. This really helps when checking positions and scales of everything on the page. I always sit when sketching. Currently, I'm using one of those plastic telescoping stools which works okay. But It doesn't always reach the high enough for me to view objects comfortably near zenith.
 
Setup_03_2024_A
 

I use a rechargeable amber light with three brightness settings clipped to the top of the table. My pen/pencil holder is an old style one that was traditionally used by Disney Animators back when 2D animation on paper was still a thing, and there's a little lip on part of the bottom which I can use to hold erasers and such. This has been working decently so far, but I do find that It would be nice to have a little more space for tool storage. I'm thinking of attaching some cups hanging off the right side of the drawing area to hold additional things.

 

 

 


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#2 tcifani

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 11:29 AM

I really appreciate all of the helpful information you provided in this post. I am going to make a few improvements like getting a laptop stand or similar. Right now, my setup is fairly crude and I just hold the drawing pad in one hand and fumble around with pencils or other drawing tools. I'm new to sketching sky objects but used to draw when I was younger. I also struggle a bit with pushing the telescope since I don't have tracking. I find my small refractor is easier for sketching, although I prefer my Dob for viewing and sketching most objects. Also, I posted recently about my struggle with reading glasses and viewing through the eyepiece. I am following some wise advice and will be visiting my eye doctor soon for an exam. Despite all this, I still have a lot of fun when I draw and really enjoy seeing everyone's work. There are some wonderful sketches and drawings on this forum and also sage advice like yours.

Clear Skies!

Tony

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#3 bphaneuf

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 11:49 AM

My set up is limited to a clipboard due to the fact that I'm up a ladder to reach the eyepiece.  I also have a hanging clip that I Velcro to the ladder to hold the clipboard when moving the ladder around.  It's fallen too many times!  I like that the goose-neck lamp can be angled such that the glare doesn't reflect back to the eyes.  The other tool is an eye-patch that I use to protect my observing eye while sketching, switching it to the non-observing eye when at the eyepiece.  Sketching with one eye takes a bit of doing and practice, and sometimes I just remove the eye-patch for finer work.

 

sketching clipboard.jpg

 

Here's a close-up of the spring clips I use.  They're handy in that they take a wide range of diameters and still hold well:

 

spring clip.jpg

 

-b


Edited by bphaneuf, 29 March 2024 - 11:50 AM.

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#4 AstroBoyInTheCity

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 12:04 PM

My set up is limited to a clipboard due to the fact that I'm up a ladder to reach the eyepiece.  I also have a hanging clip that I Velcro to the ladder to hold the clipboard when moving the ladder around.  It's fallen too many times!  I like that the goose-neck lamp can be angled such that the glare doesn't reflect back to the eyes.  The other tool is an eye-patch that I use to protect my observing eye while sketching, switching it to the non-observing eye when at the eyepiece.  Sketching with one eye takes a bit of doing and practice, and sometimes I just remove the eye-patch for finer work.

Great to hear that the clipboard works well for you, I was thinking of a setup like that for grab-and-go setups. Thanks for sharing the images. And I second the gooseneck lights. SUUUPER helpful!

 

I’m curious, have you experienced significant benefits from using the eye patch when observing? 



#5 bphaneuf

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 06:52 PM

Absolutely have. The red light is certainly better being dimmed and pointing away, but it still has an impact on dark adaptation so the patch helps to preserve it. If my non-observing eye has been exposed to it I really notice a difference between it and the protected eye when I turn off the lights and remove the patch.
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#6 AstroBoyInTheCity

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 02:55 PM

Anyone else willing to share their setup?

I just spent my first overnight at a darker sky site and sketched for 6 hours with my sketchbook on my lap and pens in my shirt pocket. My back is feeling pretty stiff…

#7 bphaneuf

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 08:45 PM

I just spent my first overnight at a darker sky site and sketched for 6 hours with my sketchbook on my lap and pens in my shirt pocket. My back is feeling pretty stiff…

Comfort is a key to good observing, so try out some different chairs, etc.  I can't do much of that up the ladder, a drawback to the 24.


Edited by bphaneuf, 12 April 2024 - 08:47 PM.

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#8 Astromade

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 07:44 AM

This topic is interesting, I think the answer is different depending on the subject to be drawn:
the moon, the planets, the deep technical sky..

Phil



#9 Warmvet

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 12:28 PM

I have never seen those pencil holder clips. I think I need some as I am usually fumbling for my pencils in the dark as well. I do have a 2b velcro’d to my clipboard but that is only helpful when I am sketching with that pencil. Thanks for the idea Royce and Butch! 
 

Cindy


Edited by Warmvet, 13 April 2024 - 12:30 PM.

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#10 Procyon Lotor

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 02:04 PM

I don't do anything fancy - just a red headlamp, HB pencils, eraser and blending stump in an observing log book. I transfer the sketches to an art book the next day while the view is fresh in my memory to have something cleaner for sharing. I don't transfer everything I sketch, just ones that I am really happy with and have a good memory of.


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#11 AstroBoyInTheCity

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 06:05 PM

This topic is interesting, I think the answer is different depending on the subject to be drawn:
the moon, the planets, the deep technical sky..

Phil

Interesting! So, how do your setups differ between those setups? I'd assume you use some different tools (Charcoal, color pencil, etc) But do you also vary up the surface you work on or lighting and such?




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