A drawing lightbox is a very handy tool for artists as it helps draw with precision, particularly when tracing.
However, it can also be extremely useful for a variety of artists (or aspiring artists) and helps create better-looking pieces.
That being said, today I want to break down how lightboxes are used and how to pick the right one for your needs.
What is a drawing lightbox?
Drawing lightboxes are just like their name implies: a box with a glass surface that is backlit by LED lights.
It’s mostly used by illustrators to trace drawings and designs into paper, particularly for animations or preliminary drawings.
What are drawing lightboxes used for?
- To trace images or patterns
- To transfer your own sketches
- To transfer elements from resource materials
- Crafts like calligraphy and stained glass techniques
Tracing images saves time over drawing everything freehand. If you need your images to look similar or even the same, freehand is a risky path.
Plus, it ensures you’re able to catch details and make consistent artwork.
What to consider when buying your drawing lightbox
In order to trace well, you need high quality LED lighting within your drawing lightbox with a maximum brightness of 4000 lux. It should be bright enough to shine through 2 sheets of thick paper.
If you need the lightbox for a different purpose (like photography or drawing without tracing), 1500-4000 lux should suffice.
Also, make sure your lightbox has adjustable brightness so you can adjust it as necessary and comfortable for your project.
Drawing lightboxes come in regular paper dimensions, like A4, A3 and A2. So consider what sized paper you want to work with.
If you need a more portable device, A4 is the better choice. Otherwise, go for the larger devices.
Drawing lightboxes are very affordable. They go for anything between $20 – $100, depending on the size, brightness and power supply.
The non-dimmable options tend to be much cheaper, so if price is a strong consideration, you can save by selecting a lightbox without adjustable brightness.