Light Box

Blog, Musings

One may confuse the name “LightBox” with an Ecommerce service in New Zealand, but this is not what we are talking about as of now.

“Lightbox” simply put, is an apparatus that provides translucence, and is especially used for tracing. It consists of objects that can illuminate the surface, thus enabling the artist to view multiple layers at once.


It is has been used in many ancient cultures for curing patients using light, such as ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and in Indian Ayurveda. We see lightboxes used in advertising digitally. It includes LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) or florescent candles (tube lights)at movie theatres or bus stops etc. “Easy Studio” has come up with a mechanism of shadowless lightboxes for promotion of products, and it targets Ecommerce sellers. “Lightbox Javascript” is available for users who intend to do this on their compatible devices such as a PC or a Laptop. It performs a similar function. However other photo editing software’s let’s say “Photoshop” provide that option as well, where the opacity of layers can be tweaked.

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It could be a “turn table” kind of a lightbox used by animators, let’s say for Disney animation. It could be a flat glass desk with lights underneath. The structure varies as per its functionality.


Traditionally animation and comic artists, use the lightbox for inking (producing finished work), after completing their line work, that generally is in pencil.

There are lightboxes that enable the user to work digitally.


Now the question arises, as to how do I, go about tracing, if I am either just doing it as a hobby, or I don’t have or don’t want to spend so much on this thing? Well then the answer is very simple. YOU COULD MAKE YOUR OWN LIGHTBOX.

You could use a transparent examination pad as your surface, place it at a comfortable height so that you can work with ease, place a torch or use a mobile flashlight, to illumine the pad from below.


This is what I did, since I had to work on A3 sized sheets as well, hence I used my teapoy (with glass top, placed three CFL bulbs (available at home), CFL because it does not produce heat and we get clear white light of required intensity.


I placed these in a plastic pot whose inner surface I covered using silver foil to get maximum luminosity. The pot had three holes, in the bottom for excess water flow which I used to draw wires of the bulbs and make the connection.


The apparatus is cheap because it uses things from the household and also it is easy to set up and pack it all up, after completion of work.

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