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White paper + graphite or Black paper + white pencil?

Art DSO Equipment Observing Sketching Visual
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#1 Rayje1997

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 07:41 AM

Hello!

 

I like to sketch when I observe visually with my 8" dob. I mostly like sketching DSOs and have had decent success sketching on white paper with graphite and then inverting that, but I have noticed that some of the better sketches that I have seen have been on black paper with white pencil. Obviously the medium doesn't make you a better artist, but I was just wondering what people think between these two techniques/mediums. I have a black sketch pad so I might try it next time I go out, but I just feel like it might have a hard time seeing the black paper. Maybe I'm wrong though, won't know till I try it. 


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#2 gstrumol

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 07:51 AM

iPad and Procreate wink.gif

 

Why? The undo feature alone is priceless. Then there are the huge number of brushes. Effects. And, of course, the ability to export the image for saving and posting.



#3 Rayje1997

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 08:05 AM

iPad and Procreate wink.gif

 

Why? The undo feature alone is priceless. Then there are the huge number of brushes. Effects. And, of course, the ability to export the image for saving and posting.

Interesting approach, but there are a few problems with it for me. Firstly that I don't own an iPad, but also I can't imagine that this would be at all good for your dark adaptation when looking at faint objects. Maybe if I was sketching the moon and planets it would be good, but for me I just don't see that as being a viable option.


Edited by Rayje1997, 20 May 2024 - 08:06 AM.


#4 lwbehney

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 08:19 AM

Great OP and I agree that the black sketch pad and white and/or colored pencils seems like the better way forward to better mimic the eyepiece view.
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#5 Procyon Lotor

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 09:16 AM

I haven't tried white on black technique yet. I do my sketches in a log book with HB pencil and a smudging tool then later transfer to an art book with quality art paper using a good set of pencils the next day while my memory is still fresh. It can be pretty dewy where I live so I don't like taking my art books out with me while I observe.
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#6 frank5817

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 11:00 AM

I suggest to try it both ways.

 

frank5817


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#7 Rayje1997

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 11:03 AM

I haven't tried white on black technique yet. I do my sketches in a log book with HB pencil and a smudging tool then later transfer to an art book with quality art paper using a good set of pencils the next day while my memory is still fresh. It can be pretty dewy where I live so I don't like taking my art books out with me while I observe.

I have the same problem. I usually use a piece of cardstock to sketch on since that seems to fend of the dew pretty well. I have never done a second sketch from the first though, I always just sketch at the eyepiece and go with that. Maybe I should consider doing the sketch on the white paper and then using the black paper during the day to make a more polished sketch.



#8 Rayje1997

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 11:04 AM

I suggest to try it both ways.

 

frank5817

I will, especially since I already have the materials to do it with. Just gathering opinions!



#9 frank5817

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 11:11 AM

If you do your final sketching at the eyepiece, you will find you have a particular favorite set of materials (paper, pencils, pastels etc.) for The Moon, Sun, planets, dark sky targets.

 

frank


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#10 Warmvet

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 03:24 PM

As Frank said try it both ways. I basically use white paper and graphite or charcoal for deep sky, but use black paper with white implements for luna. The black paper is not hard to see since the white charcoal pops. I have done some deep sky with black paper as well. You might develop a preference for some objects, i like that my brain doesnt have to invert with the white on black! I like to sketch from the ep and just clean up indoors.

 

Cindy


Edited by Warmvet, 20 May 2024 - 03:25 PM.

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#11 AstroBoyInTheCity

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 04:19 PM

In my experience, there are benefits to working with both mediums.

 

Working on white paper with graphite is great for fine detail, line control, and pricepoint. The standard HB to 4b pencils hold a point extremely well and can be easily sharpened with a pencil sharpener. Using mechanical pencils adds an extra level of refinement to your ability to create pinpoint dots. Erasing is also generally much easier on white paper. All the materials are also a fair deal cheaper than most white on black options. (Although everything in sketching is a drop in the bucket compared to pretty much all other astro gear so....) On the negative, you do end up having to mentally flip the image's exposure in your mind. It's not as tricky as trying to read a star chart with a mirrored image in the eyepiece, but there is definitely a bit of a learning curve there.

 

Black on White is gives you the advantage of seeing exactly what you get while you are drawing it. I also really enjoy working on black paper as there is considerably less glare from the paper when sketch. White paper reflects a lot of light and can effect night vision more than black. Sharpening charcoal pencils generally requires a blade instead of a pencil sharpener to avoid broken tips. Overall, I find that I need to use a much larger range of tools to convey a similar image when using white on black. My current black paper setup includes white charcoal pencils, black charcoal pencils, white conte, brushes and conte powder, two different white pens, a smudge tool, and an eraser. For Black on white it's just a 2B pencil, smudge tool, and an eraser.

 

Personally, I enjoy going back and forth depending on what I'm drawing. Quick sketches are usually done on white paper. I use a black paper logbook so most my sketches are done in there. For moon drawings It's currently an even split between white and black paper. I rarely do any post-processing in the computer as I enjoy having a physical copy of the final image, and all the marks that made that image visible.


Edited by AstroBoyInTheCity, 20 May 2024 - 04:22 PM.

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#12 Rayje1997

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Posted 21 May 2024 - 07:49 AM

In my experience, there are benefits to working with both mediums.

 

Working on white paper with graphite is great for fine detail, line control, and pricepoint. The standard HB to 4b pencils hold a point extremely well and can be easily sharpened with a pencil sharpener. Using mechanical pencils adds an extra level of refinement to your ability to create pinpoint dots. Erasing is also generally much easier on white paper. All the materials are also a fair deal cheaper than most white on black options. (Although everything in sketching is a drop in the bucket compared to pretty much all other astro gear so....) On the negative, you do end up having to mentally flip the image's exposure in your mind. It's not as tricky as trying to read a star chart with a mirrored image in the eyepiece, but there is definitely a bit of a learning curve there.

 

Black on White is gives you the advantage of seeing exactly what you get while you are drawing it. I also really enjoy working on black paper as there is considerably less glare from the paper when sketch. White paper reflects a lot of light and can effect night vision more than black. Sharpening charcoal pencils generally requires a blade instead of a pencil sharpener to avoid broken tips. Overall, I find that I need to use a much larger range of tools to convey a similar image when using white on black. My current black paper setup includes white charcoal pencils, black charcoal pencils, white conte, brushes and conte powder, two different white pens, a smudge tool, and an eraser. For Black on white it's just a 2B pencil, smudge tool, and an eraser.

 

Personally, I enjoy going back and forth depending on what I'm drawing. Quick sketches are usually done on white paper. I use a black paper logbook so most my sketches are done in there. For moon drawings It's currently an even split between white and black paper. I rarely do any post-processing in the computer as I enjoy having a physical copy of the final image, and all the marks that made that image visible.

Interesting! I had not considered that the black paper would reflect less light since I had not tried it, but I have noticed that the light reflected from my white paper effects my vision and I have to periodically close my eyes and be very careful about how the light hits the paper. Since I already have the materials I will give it a try next time I go out, especially since I enjoy doing longer term sketching projects that take me a few sessions to do. 


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#13 Ivan Maly

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Posted 22 May 2024 - 02:57 PM

White pencil is more natural and satisfying. But it does not blend or erase well, which calls for more deliberate drawing and a larger scale. It also does not work well when it's damp or cold. So for the best results drawing at the eyepiece, black paper whenever possible. For consistent sketching, white paper if your climate is like ours.


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#14 Rayje1997

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Posted 22 May 2024 - 03:29 PM

White pencil is more natural and satisfying. But it does not blend or erase well, which calls for more deliberate drawing and a larger scale. It also does not work well when it's damp or cold. So for the best results drawing at the eyepiece, black paper whenever possible. For consistent sketching, white paper if your climate is like ours.

Fair point. I have some pretty serious dew sometimes and have even considered buying waterproof paper in the past. So I will try it one day and if the damp is just too much then I will just use the black paper to make a final sketch.



#15 tcifani

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Posted 23 May 2024 - 07:27 AM

I suggest to try it both ways.

 

frank5817

+1 for this. When I sketch with black pencil or any dark media on white paper, I don't invert the image digitally, I draw in all the tones and all of the dark background. Yes, this is more time consuming and uses up more pencils. But, I have a hard time thinking in the negative, in other words drawing black where it should be white and so forth. White pigment on black paper can be a beautiful process, but I find this method is less forgiving. But, I do enjoy both of these methods.


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#16 frank5817

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Posted 23 May 2024 - 11:13 AM

tcifani,

 

" I have a hard time thinking in the negative, in other words drawing black where it should be white and so forth."

 

I also have done this and it is very unforgiving and requires much concentration.

 

frank :)



#17 Rayje1997

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Posted 24 May 2024 - 07:44 AM

+1 for this. When I sketch with black pencil or any dark media on white paper, I don't invert the image digitally, I draw in all the tones and all of the dark background. Yes, this is more time consuming and uses up more pencils. But, I have a hard time thinking in the negative, in other words drawing black where it should be white and so forth. White pigment on black paper can be a beautiful process, but I find this method is less forgiving. But, I do enjoy both of these methods.

Interesting, I have only ever done the negative method and digitally inverted it. I have had decent success with this, and by success I mean you can at least tell what the object is. That is how the sketch below was made. 

gallery_393298_20944_14891821.png


Edited by Rayje1997, 24 May 2024 - 07:44 AM.

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