Artist Tips #1 Why you should try using Lightboxes
A light Box or Light table is a container, usually horizontal or tilted of translucent glass or plastic that has one or more LED lights attached that works as a back light for the box.
Many kinds of industry professionals use light boxes in their work. From graphic designers and painters, to comic book artists and animators. Light boxes can be ideal for any kind of artists from hobbyist to professional.
Uses Light Boxes have:
Much like projectors, Light boxes can be used to create the under drawing for your paintings weather it's watercolor or acrylic which saves time on having to free hand your base drawing. Doing this will also allow you to get in the best amount of replicated detail with precision without having to constantly stop to look back and fourth at your reference material.
Animation and comics:
Light boxes are an essential tool for animators when it comes to frame by frame animation. It allows animators to create duplicate frames and make their edits to each frame drastically cutting the animation process time in half rather than just free handing every frame piece by piece and cross checking to make sure each frame looks exactly the same.
Comic book artists work very similar in the sense that they use light boxes for a multitude of things when it comes to comics, from getting line work out of sketches, to using light boxes to speed the process of creating final pieces of work for illustrations by combining reference materials with their artwork seamlessly.
Here's a link to a great interview with comic book artist Matt Brundage on how artists can use light boxes as an essential tool for finishing quality work on deadlines.
Light boxes can be a great way to improve, restore, and revise some of your hand based works say you have a drawing you love, or a sketch design you find absolutely perfect, you’ve free handed it and you know for some reason if you draw it again freehand it won’t come out the same because usually no drawing ever does come out exactly the same when you’re free handing duplicates. with a light box, You can duplicate your sketch or drawing and get it ready to be scanned or simply worked on with colors or inks.
this also works perfectly for preserving old sketches and drawings that have seen better days from time. Maybe you want scan in an image but it’s missing pieces like literally torn up at some pieces or faded, you can use a light box to to trace over what you have and clean up just like Photoshop. Now you’re thinking well why can’t I use Photoshop from the jump?
Well sometimes if ink is faded or lines are messed up what good can scanning do? Also, it’s also great to always be proficient in both tricks of the trade.
Arts Avenue Co founder Emmanuel Knight uses Light boxes when it comes to working on art projects and commissions
"I like to use light boxes kind of like Photoshop traditionally usually when I’m working on commissions, especially traditional ones, I usually sketch out the base and after I find the right sketch I’m pleased with I’ll take it over to my light box and do some line work, as well as some edits I’ll change a smile to a frown, or a arm pose or maybe some eye movements then from there I’ll do one more light box sketch to vary some designs."
In closing, Light boxes, like rulers, measuring tapes, Photoshop and easels are just tools to help you create better. it can't make you a perfect artist or teach you how to use colors blends and perfect shades. However, it can help you speed your process and understand light and shades as well teach you a ton of things if you're willing to experiment with it.