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One Review at a Time: LED Light Box

For the last couple months I have been very focused on remodeling my studio. Throughout that process I have discovered and purchased a number of products that have helped me along the way. One of the goals of One Fantastic Week is to share that sort of knowledge with our amazing community. To that end I have decided to start a monthly blog post where I review and share the products I've found and the things I've learned along the way!

Don't worry, I'm not going to overwhelm you with a bunch of products all at once, we're going to handle this...

...One Review at a Time!


 Old School Light Box

Old School Light Box

One of the things I wanted for my studio was a light box. I do a lot of ink work these days and I like to sketch digitally. In the past I chose to print out my sketch as blue line and ink over the top, removing the blue lines later in Photoshop to produce a clean digital final. I love original art, and for awhile I've wanted to find a way to produce crisp clean original ink drawings.

Fortunately there is over a hundred years of inkers who solved this problem for me. Ink over pencils, erase the pencils! Using a light box I knew I could print out my digital sketch, trace it in pencil, then ink and erase the pencils when done. Fairly straight forward process as long as you have a light box.

In the past the size and cost of getting a good light box kept me away. Older light boxes were bulky because they had to contain light bulbs. I don't have the space to dedicate to leave out a bulky light box all the time. I was also worried about a cheap box not shining enough light to go through heavier Bristol paper, as I commonly use the 300 series or higher. So I started to research online.

After digging a bit I discovered that thanks to LED technology new light boxes are available that are about as wide as a digital tablet. At letter paper size they are even relatively cheap (around $25), but I needed a larger one. With most brands I discovered that going to A3 size paper (13"x19") increased the cost dramatically (around $100). I like to draw larger and my printer can easily handle A3 paper, so I knew that was exactly what I needed.

 

I was able to find the CCTRO Portable LED A3 Light Box. At $42.99 and on Amazon Prime I figured it was worth a try. It's easy enough to return things on Amazon so I figured what did I have to lose.

A couple days later my new LED Light Box had arrived. I plugged it in an checked for brightness. It could indeed shine through a digital print out and Bristol paper for tracing. I was off to the races!

I was commissioned to do an ink drawing based on the Old Scottish poem, "The Twa Corbies," in English "The Two Crows." I started off as before working up a messy digital sketch that combined scans from my sketch book, digital scribbles and tweaks. Once I was happy I printed that out on A3 paper, the image size was 12"x18".

I placed the print out on my new light box, placed a piece of Bristols 300 series paper over the top and traced my image onto the new piece of paper I was very happy with the clean pencil drawing I had down and ready to ink!

As you can see from the photos above the new LED light box and the project was a success! If you find yourself in need of a tracing tool I highly recommend this product. It's light weight, easy to use, and as easy to store as a package of A3 paper.

-Sam


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Sam Flegal is one of the Co-Hosts of One Fantastic Week a weekly webshow about self employed fantasy artists. His personal project, Fateful Signs, focuses on Norse Mythology. Sam lives in Nashville with his wife and daughter; and he buys too much stuff on Amazon Prime.