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Old 30-09-2014, 07:52 PM
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Hi Alex, just found your blog, Gondwana telescopes, your article on the Mellish technique and more! Ill take some time to read through it all properly and give some of the techniques a go. I'm using the method described in Jeremy Perez's YouTube post, and the biggest problem, aside from not putting too much weight and getting the right angle on the shading stump) has been inverting the scanned image (the scanner picks up all the lumps and bumps on the page as well as the markings). Might need a different scan setting, better paper or a different tool in GIMP.... Or get some black paper and embrace Mellish :-)
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  #282  
Old 30-09-2014, 09:05 PM
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Aside from Alexander's amazing work (!) I found some of Greg Wing's pictures quite compelling (astropaintings.weebly.com). It's not their accuracy that is amazing but the way he uses observation and photography as a starting point for creative work. It's nothing I'd ever consider but his work sparked some interesting discussions in other forums. Certainly raised the issue of what a sketch meant to those doing them: a record of an event, seeing better, a joy in drawing, creative endeavor, building a personal catalogue etc. Right now I'm just out to see better and take time looking at one thing, to counterbalance the desire to finish a list (which is currently a Dunlop 100 list). Curious as to why others sketch?
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  #283  
Old 02-11-2014, 05:30 PM
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Hi guys today the sun had an awesome flare on and i couldnt resist i had to get the pencils out i have only just started doing this recently but im happy with my progress so far they just keep getting better each time i need to do it more often as i really enjoy doing it Hope you like cheers

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  #284  
Old 02-11-2014, 08:33 PM
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that high power sketch made me smile.

I don't think I've seen too many solar sketches. Nice work, great to hear you are having fun.
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  #285  
Old 02-11-2014, 09:19 PM
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thanks michael
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  #286  
Old 03-11-2014, 08:40 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Excellent piece, Jen!

The great thing about sketching the Sun is being able to make use of the paper's texture to our advantage. The Sun's surface being so 'grainy' is easy to simulate with the texture.

Would be exciting sketching the Sun too as features change so quickly. I've only had the one opportunity to view the sun with a dedicated solar scope, and the five minutes I sent with it amazed me at the speed at which things happen. And then knowing the sheer size of the sun, these flares are really moving!!! at pace,

You might have a dicky high power eyepice there too Jen... that, or you got sun stroke... Nice way to finish the piece too,

Last edited by mental4astro; 03-11-2014 at 12:04 PM.
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  #287  
Old 03-11-2014, 11:56 AM
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thanks Alex
Yeah the first time I looked through a solar scope that was it I was totally hooked so I had to go buy a solar scope straight away hehehe
It is fun drawing the sun as it's always different and easy
But the moon on the other hand looks way to hard to draw I'm too scared to even attempt that one yet hahaha
Yeah I love my high power piece it always reflects back my smiley face when I wake up to a clear sky sunny day
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  #288  
Old 29-11-2014, 01:05 PM
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I'd like to try doing eyepiece sketches using the white-on-black technique (been using graphite so far). The local art store had a pad of the Strathmore Artagain (60 pound, 400 series) paper I've seen recommended, but they didn't have much of a pencil selection.

So I went online and ordered 2 black and 2 white Conte' Pastel pencils:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/conte-pastel-pencils/
And a set of 4 Conte crayons:
http://www.dickblick.com/items/20201-0049

Did I get the right stuff? They all feel a bit 'chalky'.
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  #289  
Old 29-11-2014, 08:34 PM
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Hi Peteradams,

Soft pastels are a type of very fine grain chalk. So, yes, they are chalky,

I, for one, don't recommend any grade of paper. Some do, and that is fine. But sometimes it can be difficult to get these, but other grades would be more readily available. So my 'recommendation' there is to get and use what you can readily get your hands on. It can be easy to get lost in technicalities. If what you can get your hands on gives you the results you are after, then there is no right or wrong.

Here's a link to the Melish Technique that I use for sketching white on black. You may already be familiar with the article:

[http://www.iceinspace.com.au/63-614-...html]Sketching DSO's using the Melish Technique[/url]

At the end of the article there are a few resources to further assist with developing your technique and confidence. Do a few practice pieces to get a feel for the materials and how they respond. This will take much of the guess work out of attempting to do a first up sketch in the dark. If you have any questions, please ask. Any pieces that you produce, practice or at the scope, do post them,

Alex.
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  #290  
Old 30-11-2014, 06:27 AM
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Hi Alex, and thanks for your reply.

Yes, I'm familiar with this technique - been using it on my graphite astro sketches for over 15 years, but only recently started experimenting with "General's" brand chalk pencils and black craft paper (called 'construction' paper over here, no idea why). The results turned out ok, so I decided to get some better supplies - thanks for verifying that I bought the right stuff. Time will tell if the 'art' paper is better than the craft paper... the latter is definitely cheaper, and more easily available.

Already, I can tell that the pastels are much smoother to work with than the chalk pencils I'd been using. It's been mostly cloudy (and cold) lately and I haven't been able to get behind the eyepiece for a while, so I'll be practicing from photographs - or from some of your fine work, if that's ok. And yes, I'll post my results - warts and all, as they say.

I'm hoping the white-on-black method will be easier on the eyes while sketching at the eyepiece. Sometimes it was very difficult (a strain, really) to see how much graphite I'd 'painted' on the paper, but increasing the light's brightness would interfere with my night vision - so most of the time, nebulous objects turned out looking too intense. Hopefully working on black paper will help.
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  #291  
Old 09-12-2014, 02:36 PM
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As promised, here's a sketch using the pastels (sorry, I can't remember whose online sketch was used as a model). It turned out better than expected and I'm glad I took a pic before spraying it with pump-style hair spray from the bathroom shelf - maybe an aerosol can would have been better, but there wasn't one there. The spray darkened the sketch and left speckle marks all over it. Oh well, lesson learned - looks ok without my reading glasses though, lol. I'll post the before and after versions.

The white pastel looks great on the black paper but I think I'll stick to using graphite on white paper for my lunar sketches - the pastel medium is just too darned messy. Not too sure how the dew would affect it either - I'm usually at the eyepiece for the better part of 2 hours when making a lunar sketch. DSOs will probably be a lot easier and neater because of the lesser amount of pastel used. I'll post one of those too, as soon as I get one done.

In the meantime, what does everyone spray on their sketches to keep the dust from smearing?
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  #292  
Old 09-12-2014, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteradams View Post
As promised, here's a sketch using the pastels (sorry, I can't remember whose online sketch was used as a model). It turned out better than expected and I'm glad I took a pic before spraying it with pump-style hair spray from the bathroom shelf - maybe an aerosol can would have been better, but there wasn't one there. The spray darkened the sketch and left speckle marks all over it. Oh well, lesson learned - looks ok without my reading glasses though, lol. I'll post the before and after versions.

The white pastel looks great on the black paper but I think I'll stick to using graphite on white paper for my lunar sketches - the pastel medium is just too darned messy. Not too sure how the dew would affect it either - I'm usually at the eyepiece for the better part of 2 hours when making a lunar sketch. DSOs will probably be a lot easier and neater because of the lesser amount of pastel used. I'll post one of those too, as soon as I get one done.

In the meantime, what does everyone spray on their sketches to keep the dust from smearing?
Nice work
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  #293  
Old 10-12-2014, 04:24 PM
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Thank you, Jen!
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  #294  
Old 10-12-2014, 09:19 PM
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Excellent sketch. Crater Plato, I'm pretty sure. Love those spiky shadows on the crater floor.

Quote:
In the meantime, what does everyone spray on their sketches to keep the dust from smearing?
I reduce the darkening you saw by doing two things:
  1. I put the pastel on really thick! Yes, it's messy.
  2. I use Boyle "Matt Spray Finishing Sealer" which is an aerosol. I spray it on in about 5 very light coats, allowing to dry for 5 mins or so in between coats.
-Ivan
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:54 PM
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Thank you Ivan, and thanks for your advice regarding a fixative.
I'll experiment with different pastel thicknesses, and see how they react to it.
(Yes, it's Plato - sorry, I should have included that info.)
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  #296  
Old 14-12-2014, 10:42 AM
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Nice work Peter. Good to see new participants

Working with pastels and charcoal is a challenge. Smearing goes with the material, and demands special care. I used to use fixative, hairspray actually. It requires very careful use as Ivan mentions. GO VERY LIGHT ON EACH AND EVERY APPLICATION! You can't hurry the stuff, or it will stuff-up the piece.

I no longer use a fixative. Now I remove each piece from the sketch pad and put it into a plastic sleeve book. No fingers, no smears, no risk of damage from spraying.

You can also look to practice sketching by working from a photo. Nothing wrong with that. You can practice and develop your technique this way too. Will give you a different insight into sketching as the finer details will test your capabilities, and helps you determine how to best render these yourself.
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  #297  
Old 15-12-2014, 05:26 AM
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Thanks, Alex.

You're absolutely right - working with pastels and charcoal is challenging, but it's good to try new things. And yes I'll use photos as models - I never thought of it before, but using someone else's sketches might encourage me to imitate their style. It's best to develop my own.

I bought a can of fixative and will experiment with it out of curiosity, but would rather not spray anything on my sketches. So I'll take your advice and keep them in plastic sleeves - what a great idea, thanks!
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  #298  
Old 22-12-2014, 05:48 PM
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Here's a quick sketch of C/2014 Q2 'Lovejoy' done at 87X through the eyepiece of a 130mm F5 reflector. It was easily visible naked eye and showed a pale green tinge in binoculars however no tail was visible. I used a 3B pencil on paper, used my finger as a smudging tool and inverted the image in registax 6. The FOV is approx 45'.
seeing: 4/10
transparency: 3/10
Earlier in the night I also saw 15P/Finlay but it went below the treeline before I could do a sketch.
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Old 22-12-2014, 10:29 PM
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Sorry about the dark image. I just saw it on a different monitor and it was almost invisible! Here's a brighter version.
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:26 AM
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Hey Ralph, nice work on Lovejoy!

I've had a chance to also pin Lovejoy. My chance came on New Year's Eve from an uncle's property out at Hill End, an hour's north of Bathurst.

I just took my little 4" refractor and a single eyepiece, an ES 30mm 82deg. This combination gives me a 5deg true field of view, yum! Even more staggering is that this combo gave me a view of an angle's-breath faint tail! Not just a hint of a tail, but some structure to it too.

I've done a more extensive write-up of this sketch in my blog, which can be accessed through the link below in the signature.

Scope: 4" f/5 achromatic refractor
Gear: ES 30mm 82deg, 16.7X
Location: Hill End, NSW
Date: 31st December, 2014
Materials: Soft pastel & white ink on A3 size black paper.
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