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Hayduke27

What Advice Do You Have For A Newbie?

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Hayduke27    51

Hi everyone!

I am a new amateur astronomer, but absolutely loving it and am fascinated by everything I am seeing and learning.  I read about sketching the views in my telescope some time ago, but I never really felt that interested.  However, as I learn more and get more time at the scope, I am quickly seeing the benefits and how rewarding sketching can be.  I just got my first sketching kit, I have a notebook, and I also have printed some blank sketch templates.  As the moon is getting so big in the sky, I think I will make some of my first sketches in the near future of the moon (as soon as this rain stops, geez!).

My question to those veteran sketchers out there is this: if you could give one or two pieces of advice to a beginner, what would they be?  I have watched some sketching videos and read some articles, and am not looking for "How to sketch" advice so much as I am looking for advice on some nuances that might just make life easier.  What would you tell somebody who has never put pencils to paper?  Does anything come to mind?  

P.S.-- I really love looking at the new sketch posts, thanks to everyone who puts their time and effort into sharing those!

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Richard Hather    715

Sketching is for me the most rewarding part of astronomy, my first piece of advice would be to take your time.

i usually spend a good 20-30 mons observing the object taking in all the glorious detail. Then spend again 20-30 mins sketching the object.

Always try and sketch seated I found being comfortable whilst sketching is key fingerless gloves are a must have.

Finally don’t put yourself under pressure to be great at it straight away it take time and patience to find your way to sketch any given object.

Clear skies 🌌🌙✨💫🔭

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N3ptune    917

You can start by doing small sketches, small area of the paper to make it look less like a burden. And picking easier objects to see how you like it.

Edited by N3ptune
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mikeDnight    3,560

Stick at it! Keep all your sketches, good and bad, so you can look back and see how your drawings and your observing skills improve over time. You'll not regret it!

Perhaps when sketching the moon you could try your hand at drawing the subtle detail on the floors of ringed planes such as Aristarchus. At first it may look bland, but as you begin to put pencil to paper you'll find there's some interesting detail to be teased out of the image. The walls of ringed planes tend to be simpler than many terraced crater walls and so are good to practice on. Also, don't worry if your eyepiece sketches are a bit messy, just make cleaned up versions of them when you get inside. More than anything else, enjoy yourself!!! :icon_biggrin:

 

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Hayduke27    51

I made it out for my first sketch session last night.  It was also my first time taking a long look at the moon through a telescope.  I have viewed it with binoculars and spotting scopes in the past, but last night was the first time I really sat down at the eyepiece of a telescope and took a few hours really observing.  Man, there was a lot to see!  I observed for about an hour before I began to sketch.  I haven't tried my hand at making a proper sketch of anything for over a decade, and getting the shakes out of my hand was no small task.  By the time I picked a target and got the feel for the pencil, another hour had gone by. 

Anyway, in the end I ended up sketching the Pythagorus Crater with its neighbors.  It was near the terminus, and so the shadows contrasted nicely.  I experienced what was said by @mikeDnight about the interesting detail that really begins to stand out as I sketched.  When I began the sketch, it seemed like I was just going to make a quick sketch of a simple crater.  By the end of it I was noticing an infinite amount of detail and shading that just seemed like too much for me to even capture.  By the time I finished, I was thinking to myself how making a sketch of the stars and some faint DSOs will likely seem easy compared to trying to capture all the details of the surface of the moon!  All the same, what an awesome subject to draw, and I can see how the moon will provide countless hours of observing and sketching in the future.  Here is my sketch.  It's not much, but I will say that it's amazing how quickly I understood how sketching not only makes you really pay attention to what you are observing to tease out the details, but in drawing said details you really commit them to memory.  By the time I pulled out the moon map this morning, I found the crater I had drawn immediately and recognized so much of the detail shown on the map, it was a cool moment :happy7:

Enjoy the sketch, and I am absolutely open to all tips, tricks, hints, and advice so keep it coming!

IMG_2296.JPG

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Trikeflyer    32
4 hours ago, Hayduke27 said:

I made it out for my first sketch session last night.  It was also my first time taking a long look at the moon through a telescope.  I have viewed it with binoculars and spotting scopes in the past, but last night was the first time I really sat down at the eyepiece of a telescope and took a few hours really observing.  Man, there was a lot to see!  I observed for about an hour before I began to sketch.  I haven't tried my hand at making a proper sketch of anything for over a decade, and getting the shakes out of my hand was no small task.  By the time I picked a target and got the feel for the pencil, another hour had gone by. 

Anyway, in the end I ended up sketching the Pythagorus Crater with its neighbors.  It was near the terminus, and so the shadows contrasted nicely.  I experienced what was said by @mikeDnight about the interesting detail that really begins to stand out as I sketched.  When I began the sketch, it seemed like I was just going to make a quick sketch of a simple crater.  By the end of it I was noticing an infinite amount of detail and shading that just seemed like too much for me to even capture.  By the time I finished, I was thinking to myself how making a sketch of the stars and some faint DSOs will likely seem easy compared to trying to capture all the details of the surface of the moon!  All the same, what an awesome subject to draw, and I can see how the moon will provide countless hours of observing and sketching in the future.  Here is my sketch.  It's not much, but I will say that it's amazing how quickly I understood how sketching not only makes you really pay attention to what you are observing to tease out the details, but in drawing said details you really commit them to memory.  By the time I pulled out the moon map this morning, I found the crater I had drawn immediately and recognized so much of the detail shown on the map, it was a cool moment :happy7:

Enjoy the sketch, and I am absolutely open to all tips, tricks, hints, and advice so keep it coming!

IMG_2296.JPG

Great report. I too want to start sketching. You have inspired me, thanks.

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Mr niall    309

I have just started sketching too! Best thing I ever did!

One or two things I have noticed;

  1. Deciding on the size of things, and their placement is really really challenging. Thats just a practice thing I guess.
  2. Being faithful and resisting the urge to "overdo" it is tough. I have found myself drawing what I want to see more than what I actually saw. My drawing of M27 was just a faint smudge, and I desperately wanted to squeeze some dumbell shape in there but resisted the urge. Later on I checked a drawing from "The Messier Catalog" and it looked really similar to mine. I was so proud!
  3. Getting a good light to draw by was a challenge for me - finding a balance between brightness and being blinded!
  4. Give yourself a good 10-15 mins just looking before you think about drawing.

Thats what I've learnt so far! Your mileage may vary. I literally only use one of my kids mechanical pencils with an eraser on top and do the smudging with my finger. Makes life much easier as a beginner and less things to lose! Seem able to get the majority of effects (I've noticed a mixture of finger smudging and light erasing gets a huge amount of different tones).

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N3ptune    917
On 2017/10/06 at 08:31, Mr niall said:

I have just started sketching too! Best thing I ever did!

One or two things I have noticed;

  1. Deciding on the size of things, and their placement is really really challenging. Thats just a practice thing I guess.
  2. Being faithful and resisting the urge to "overdo" it is tough. I have found myself drawing what I want to see more than what I actually saw. My drawing of M27 was just a faint smudge, and I desperately wanted to squeeze some dumbell shape in there but resisted the urge. Later on I checked a drawing from "The Messier Catalog" and it looked really similar to mine. I was so proud!
  3. Getting a good light to draw by was a challenge for me - finding a balance between brightness and being blinded!
  4. Give yourself a good 10-15 mins just looking before you think about drawing.

Thats what I've learnt so far! Your mileage may vary. I literally only use one of my kids mechanical pencils with an eraser on top and do the smudging with my finger. Makes life much easier as a beginner and less things to lose! Seem able to get the majority of effects (I've noticed a mixture of finger smudging and light erasing gets a huge amount of different tones).

What solution did you find for your light? and what balance did you find ideal too?

I like to draw woman's face too, it's very challenging and I noticed that speed is an important factor, for me the gain of speed is very important maybe more then the gain of quality. The ratio Speed/quality, is really rewarding. Depending on many factors, these days, i am quite satisfied with my sketches, so I guess at some point you get some kind of self-sufficient model, like a working business where you start to work less and get more income. :p

It's fun.  I agree too with your point, to look at 10 15 minutes, that's a good amount of time. I did that a few observations ago with the double cluster but after 10 minutes, I was intimidated by the object, the challenge was too big.

 

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Wiu-Wiu    63

Some things I try to remember myself when making a sketch:

I use different sized fineliners to draw the stars. Start with the brightest stars, then work down to the smallest, then draw in the object and AFTER all that, just look at the object's finest details and try to adapt to the dark again. Then draw in the details and the stars missed because of the red light (with a fine pencil)

 

Practice makes perfect!! I started out just copying a moonscape from a picture in a book, or an open cluster,... then I just started placing stars on my observation notes and making field sketches. I now see I have the urge to sketch everything 'too' good, even on my field sketches. 

Also: get to know your tools: Doodle away! Imagine a galaxy, a comet, a cluster with some nebulousity,... Nothing better than your imagination, it will help you when trying to replicate the real thing! (smudge, feather, erase,..) 

Both are perfect for the times it is cloudy.. So we all know you'll get plenty of practice time ;) 

 

There are people who take time to make a sketch, with notes, and do it all over on a clean piece of paper the next day. As much as I like those sketches, I don't think they are exactly what you see, like you said: you have to resist drawing things that you think must be there. 

 

Last but not least: keep at it! you'll get better and even when you think your sketch is bad, keep it! one day you'll revisit and compare, and you'll be glad you can see your progress. Same with bad skies and better skies: nothing more interesting than being able to compare what you can see MORE under a good sky! Sketching has made OBSERVE, rather than WATCH. And it makes me appreciate the hobby even more. 

 

Have fun! 

 

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Mr niall    309
10 hours ago, N3ptune said:

What solution did you find for your light? and what balance did you find ideal too?

I like to draw woman's face too, it's very challenging and I noticed that speed is an important factor, for me the gain of speed is very important maybe more then the gain of quality. The ratio Speed/quality, is really rewarding. Depending on many factors, these days, i am quite satisfied with my sketches, so I guess at some point you get some kind of self-sufficient model, like a working business where you start to work less and get more income. :p

It's fun.  I agree too with your point, to look at 10 15 minutes, that's a good amount of time. I did that a few observations ago with the double cluster but after 10 minutes, I was intimidated by the object, the challenge was too big.

 

Well, as a temporary solution I'm using one of those red LED lights that they were giving away free to cyclists at an event I was at last year. I've been trying to dull it down to reasonable levels using that sticky tape thats kind of clear, kind of opaque (bit like a frosted window) and just been progressively adding layers until I get to a level I like. Seems to work for now!

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Sky-J    15

Thanks so much for starting this topic, I too have been wondering about sketching and was about to ask the same question.

I look forward to seeing more results and will post mine when I start.

Clear skies

Jeremy

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