Messier Object Sketches

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Updated May 28, 2012

7 Replies to “Messier Object Sketches”

  1. I really like your sketches a lot. I have a long way to go before I get to your level.
    Do you have a certain process you use when creating them? Also, do you have an art background?

  2. Anthony, thanks very much for your comments!
    I have a couple tutorials describing my basic sketching technique and how I deal with the sketches after scanning them:
    Sketching Tutorial
    Digitizing Tutorial
    I’m not sure if you have ever visited the Cloudy Nights forums, but there is an excellent sketching forum there as well:
    Cloudy Nights Sketching Forum
    As far as my art background goes, it’s been a hobby since I was very young. And for the past 16 years I’ve worked as a graphic artist. Despite that, however, I believe astronomical sketching is within the reach of everyone, regardless of artistic talent. In discussions with various amateur astronomers, I’ve found other very adept sketchers who had no prior experience with art as a hobby or profession. They simply found that sketching greatly improved their observing experiences. And along the way they got to be very good at it. So I hope you keep up the sketching!
    I plan to provide more information with tips, tools and tutorials pretty soon as well.
    Clear, dark skies to you,

  3. Very inspirational work. I will read your tutirial.At 60 i want to do observation more seriously then before.
    Your work and notes will help.

  4. Hi Taha, thank you. Most of the sketches on this page were observed with my 6″ f/8 Newtonian. Some of the more recent observations were made with my 8″ f/6 though. The scope I used will be listed beneath the full sketch.
    I try to faithfully record the details I saw; but it’s important to note that many of my drawings are the result of lengthy observations that allowed me to slowly pick out all the details. Those same details only take a moment to see when viewing the drawing on your computer monitor.
    When you first look at one of these objects, especially a galaxy or nebula, it’s not likely to look as obvious as it does in one of these sketches. However, all those details should be within reach of the same size scope with patient observing under clear, dark skies. I have posted a discussion of how the “at-a-glance” view through the eyepiece compares to a what a lengthy observation can accomplish: How Well Does a Sketch Represent the Eyepiece View?.
    I hope that helps answer the question a bit. Let me know if there is anything else I can describe.
    Clear skies,

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