How To Transfer Artwork with a Light Box

Want to do flawless artwork? If you’re a beginner in painting, let’s say, using watercolor as a medium, you should need to do a template first before proceeding with the finalization of the artwork. Besides being the watercolor paper which is very expensive, it would be cleaner. Tracing an artwork can be very tricky. If you can’t see the sketch very well, you are likely to miss some minute details and it’s really not recommended to lift the paper up and lay it down again – there’s a chance the lines won’t be aligned. The best way to transfer artwork is using a light box. Light boxes are simple art tools equipped with fluorescent tube lights in it and a smoked glass to draw on. The concept is simple: light enables you to see sketches through paper. So are you ready to learn how to transfer your artwork using a light box? Go ahead and read on.

  • Get a light box that suits your need. There are light boxes on sale in local art stores or even on Light boxes on sale are usually smaller around 15” x 20” but if you do bigger artworks, it would be best to customize your light box.
  • Sketch your drawing on a poster paper. Poster paper is a hard enough paper to draw on while translucent enough for light to pass through so it’s perfect for your initial sketches. Don’t use Bristol board or thick boards that light won’t permeate through. Remember that you are going to transfer using “light.” Draw your design using soft pencils but dark enough to trace. Don’t do any finalization yet, all you need to sketch is your template for the artwork.
  • Set up your drawing board. Put your light box on a drafting table. Drafting tables are the best to use because you can incline the surface making it easier to draw plus – correct your posture while you’re at it. If you don’t have a drafting table, a clear leveled surface is okay but make sure your light box has a stand that could incline it.
  • Tape your poster paper on the light box. After you have drawn your sketch on the poster paper, tape the drawing on the light box to keep it from moving. Be sure you tape it on all four corners and don’t cover any part of the sketch. Use masking tape for easier adhesive removal that would not damage your poster paper.
  • Start tracing your sketch. Put the watercolor paper on top of the poster paper where your sketch was drawn. Tape it down to keep it from moving. Next, turn on the light box. Now you could see through the watercolor paper the sketch from beneath it. With a soft pencil, lightly trace the sketch until all lines are transferred. If you wish to do repetitive designs, you could shift your watercolor paper so you can repeat tracing the design to another area.

Always be sure you trace all lines of the sketch. After everything is done and traced, remove the watercolor paper off from top of the poster paper and turn off the light box. Keep the original sketch in case you need to use it again. Good luck and have fun painting your artwork!


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