This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Draw with No Money and No Talent - Part 2


Yesterday we learned all about copyrights and licenses and found a lovely stock image to use. Today we are going to make a lightbox!
Depending on your fields of expertise, lightbox can mean different things, but in this case it means a box with a light in it that is used for tracing.
Yes, I said tracing.
I know you're all saying "Tracing is not drawing"  but tracing can be a means to an end – and the end result is what we're after. Sure, it would be great if everyone could just look at something and reproduce it – okay, they CAN, but it takes a LONG time. For instance, in the 1800's, ladies were taught to paint watercolor. Some were better than others, some could paint things straight out of their heads, and some had to have something right in front of them, but they still made passable works. The point is anyone can be trained to reproduce what they see, but it is a long and arduous process of training the hand to move where you want it to go, and this isn't a long haul art course, only a few day tutorial. Do I advocate tracing consistently forever? No, not really, but do I see any shame in tracing outlines once in awhile? No. In fact, I have even traced  for a few of my paper dolls (Ville springs instantly to mind, as does the Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka).  Besides, once you have the original "sketched" you're going to need to trace it over onto a clean piece of paper. In fact, when I draw something I end up tracing my original work over and over – sometimes ten or more times – to get the finished, clean copy that I scan. So, by the time you have retraced your image (though probably not ten times) it's pretty much your own.
Aside from that, tracing is also a good way to learn. tracing repeatedly will train the hand to make the lines you want - which is all art is. making your hand go where you want it.
So now that you understand the importance of the lightbox – let's make one! If you want to spend money you can buy one, of course, but unless you intend to do a LOT of art work I don't recommend that, though they are handy for other things too and are pretty good, quality wise. I got mine for my eighteenth birthday, and other than a little bit of wiring work my brother had to do, it is still going strong – then again they are very simple things:

(the inside)

If you're a real do it yourselfer I'm sure you could use those pics to make a really fancy thing, but frankly, I couldn't. However, there is something I can do – utilize my resources. Everyone has different resources, and because of that no two people may end up having the same homemade lightbox. And for that reason, here are several alternatives.
ALTERNATIVE ONE: The universal solution.
If you have a window then you have a natural lightbox. Make sure to remove any screens that may be between yourself and a layer of glass (normal windows won't require this, but I have abnormal ones). And TA DA! You're all done.  If you are using this method then you won't want to pay any attention to the taping procedures I will detail later. Instead, just hold the printed picture (the one we printed yesterday) up against the glass and tape all four corners down.  You will then tape your blank paper over it and voila.


The up side to this is it's easy, quick, and makes no mess. The down side is that your arms can get very, very tired depending on how much tracing you have to do, and it can only be done in the daytime.

ALTERNATIVE TWO: The Coffee Table (this is the one I am using for the remainder of the tut)
If you're lucky enough to have a glass top coffee table, then you're lightbox is going to be really simple – that is if you have a table lamp or some other bright light source.  The flashlights that stand up by themselves will work well, too.
First remove the shade from your lamp:

Now, on the bottom shelf of your coffee table you'll need to use books or vcr tapes or something else to stack up and lay your lamp across – you don't want the bare lightbulb to touch the floor/bottom shelf/etc. After all, lightbulbs get hot.


Once you're positioned turn the lamp on and you're done :)


The upside to this is it's stable, easy to do and doesn't require a lot of work or cleanup.  On the downside it only works if you have a coffee table with a glass top, LOL!


To build this you need three key things. A lamp that you can remove the shade from, a quantity of something stackable such as books, vcr tapes, etc, and a piece of glass from a picture frame or opaque plastic:

Position your lamp and then stack your books/tapes/etc on either side until the piles stand at least one inch higher than the top of the lightbulb. Lay the plastic/glass across the top and you now have a lightbox:


The upside to this – it can be put together and taken apart with minimal fuss, and it requires very little that everyone doesn't have, but on the downside it is not as stable and you have to be careful when drawing on it


If you want to put in some time and maybe a little money – depending on your resources – you can build yourself a wooden box that is at least two inches taller than the lamp or flashlight you want to use. When you're done, turn the box upside down and lay the glass over the opened top:


The upside to this is that you can really customize it (if you're using an upright flashlight you can make a small box and that's very handy), also, it makes it easier to set up in the future. The downside is that you can't really disassemble it easily and it takes a lot more time investment than the others and it can cost money.

Now that we have our lightbox made we're about ready to start drawing, but we'll do that in another blog.


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