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Old 06-26-2006, 05:27 PM   #1
Propsdue
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The problem with lightboxes......

Been using this tool for about the last 4 years now..You know the drill.... make a cool sketch, photocopy it to a larger size and then trace it to your finished page?...right?...But I've also done pages (splash or cover usually) by drawing them directly to the finished page..Starting witha blue pencil and finishing with an H or Hb or something....Heres my new dilema...

Theres a much more loose and "natural" feel to the process of drawing straight without the "box"...And here recently when i finish a lightboxed drawing it feels stiff, and lets call it what it is...traced....Any Joe shmo looking at a "boxed" and a straight drawn pic would probably never know the difference...But i can feel it...I've tried to remedy the situation by making extremely loose sketches...I mean bare minimum lines So that I can "think out" what needs to go where...but it hasnt worked that well...So i ask..

Do anyone know what I'm talking about?
Does this happen to any of you guys?
What other options are there to make lightboxing seem looser?
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:54 PM   #2
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I'm curious to see the answers here. I now have a piece taped to the light box on my board. Even with the lights on It's tough to see some of the details. Maybe the tracing step you're referring to might be the answer for me. That's right me..me..ME!! It's all about ME!
But like you, I'm afraid to lose the fluid look of the original pencils!
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:30 PM   #3
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What other options are there to make lightboxing seem looser?

100% accurate points in your initial post, Propsdue. The only thing I've ever found is to simply not stay on the LB too long and don't get bogged down in rendering too much detail.

My best suggestion is to get the barest sense of a breakdown happening, then move off the LB and finish / draw the page the way you normally would. That way, you'll get the best use of the lightbox, get a cleaner page, and still maintain a good deal of the spontaneity.

Last edited by BKMDog; 06-26-2006 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 06-26-2006, 07:32 PM   #4
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Just shape out the drawing... un-light it, and fill in the details... keep it loose.



On another note, a great way to make an awesome lightbox is to cut a big hole in the middle of your table... and mount a flourescent light under it... then cover the table with white plexi.... bam! Instant light table. Huge light table. Experiment with the amount and type of light you want, but be sure to keep your distance from the plexi... wouldn't want heat issues... plexi will warp if over-heated.
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Old 06-26-2006, 09:57 PM   #5
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don't use a light box! Learn to draw big.
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:39 AM   #6
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Here's how I work.

I scan the drawing/sketch into photoshop, turn it into a blue line drawing, print it out onto my drawing paper, then pencil right over top of the blue line drawing. And then, you can do the same thing for inking the pencils, too.

It works like a charm and you never have to worry about screwing up the original drawing/sketch!

But, of course, this means you'll need to buy a large format printer!
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Copland
Here's how I work.

I scan the drawing/sketch into photoshop, turn it into a blue line drawing, print it out onto my drawing paper, then pencil right over top of the blue line drawing. And then, you can do the same thing for inking the pencils, too.

It works like a charm and you never have to worry about screwing up the original drawing/sketch!

But, of course, this means you'll need to buy a large format printer!
Damn, thats almost what I do! And I thought I was original!

Basically I leave the figures at 10% opacity, print it out and draw over them. It's easy to play with perspective and such when scanned in making for fewer mistakes later and it's faster to rearrange then to redraw a sketch. With such low oppacity, you don't trace so much as just have a few points of reference for proportions.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dano
don't use a light box! Learn to draw big.

You should definatly learn to draw big.

But I also use the light box in jams. I'll usually have a loose idea of paneling, shapes and composition at about... I dunno, 4"

I blow that up to full size, print it out and put that vague sketch onto the board. At that point I do the real drawing, using the compositional elements and panel layouts that I created in the rough. I find it helps me create more detail.

Sometimes when you draw on 11x17 you aren't sure what will show up well.

If you sketch small first, you know what will be visible. In time you'll be able to just bang it out full size and know what is too small or too large.

But that might help you get the loosness.
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmycakes
You should definatly learn to draw big.

But I also use the light box in jams. I'll usually have a loose idea of paneling, shapes and composition at about... I dunno, 4"

I blow that up to full size, print it out and put that vague sketch onto the board. At that point I do the real drawing, using the compositional elements and panel layouts that I created in the rough. I find it helps me create more detail.

Sometimes when you draw on 11x17 you aren't sure what will show up well.

If you sketch small first, you know what will be visible. In time you'll be able to just bang it out full size and know what is too small or too large.

But that might help you get the loosness.
I do my roughs in 2x3 or 3x6 thumbs and then blow those up and tape those to the LB. I lay the boards over, get the rough composition ideas and take them off the board and finish them. My problem is either due to poor eyesight(I'm gettin up there by cracky)or I'm not drawing dark enough. I'm having a hard time seeing through the boards. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j giar
.........My problem is either due to poor eyesight(I'm gettin up there by cracky)or I'm not drawing dark enough. I'm having a hard time seeing through the boards. Any suggestions?

You can darken the lines in Photoshop by going to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast settings. Bring up the Contrast to a point that makes the lines dark enough to look almost like ink work. Then print out your blown up version. Works for me everytime.
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Old 06-27-2006, 02:03 PM   #11
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I used to use the light box, and go through all that rigamorale or drawing small, blowing it up, lightboxing, etc. It made me anal retentive and the art stale.

Nowadays, I'll work out the pages composition in terms of panel numbers and shapes and relationships, but then I'll go straight to final paper with a 4H pencil. I want it to be the first drawing I draw, because that's where all the energy is. Yeah, sometimes I have to erase, so I draw lightly, and my pencil boards get a little messy, but it's the inks that count.

This same approach is why I don't do finished pencils for myself anymore. I don't set line weights, or spot shadows, or textures or anything like that. I go straight to ink and do all those finishes in ink. How incredibly boring is it ink over finished pencils you've done? Too boring for me. I want the art to be fresh and explosive.

When they do their layouts, some artist do all this armiture and cone shape build up thing like you see in so many drawing books. Not me. I get a vision of what I'm drawing, and go right drawing. First, a rough outline, check the perspective and proportions, then straight to details. Building up a figure in layers like they teach is just too anti-intuitive for me.
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Old 06-28-2006, 07:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j giar
I do my roughs in 2x3 or 3x6 thumbs and then blow those up and tape those to the LB. I lay the boards over, get the rough composition ideas and take them off the board and finish them. My problem is either due to poor eyesight(I'm gettin up there by cracky)or I'm not drawing dark enough. I'm having a hard time seeing through the boards. Any suggestions?
What kind of light do you use? I have a homemade lightbox that uses 2 long (about 14 inches) 15 watt florescent bulbs and it works great for my old eyes . The board I use is not too thick either.
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Old 06-28-2006, 09:38 AM   #13
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I don't do the re-sizing thing, I use the lightbox with a sketch drawn in the right scale. Unless it's a splash page, most of the time the panels would've fit on a regular piece of paper anyway.
I've also noticed the stiffness problem a few times. What I do to avoid it is not trace the rough sketch. I'll keep my hand moving the same way it did when I drew the sketch. My sketches are pretty loose and scribbly, so I can't really follow a specific line anyway. I use the lightbox mostly for placing everything where it's supposed to be with a minimum of messy lines.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j giar
I do my roughs in 2x3 or 3x6 thumbs and then blow those up and tape those to the LB. I lay the boards over, get the rough composition ideas and take them off the board and finish them. My problem is either due to poor eyesight(I'm gettin up there by cracky)or I'm not drawing dark enough. I'm having a hard time seeing through the boards. Any suggestions?

yeah, adjusting in photoshop will help and i have a super bright light in my box. i just cut a hole in my counter top and put a flouresent box up against it. I use glass to avoid the warping plexi thing.

and i usually work in dim light if i'm having trouble seeing my lines. I have one of those magnifying glass circular flourecent lights and i just move it further away from my board if i'm having issues.
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:48 AM   #15
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lots of cool ideas...But i see loads of peeps simply saying draw it big to the final art paper...Herein lies another problem...The human eye can only take in about 3/4 of an 11/17 page before the remaining portion gets skewed or distorted...This was a prob i ran into before i started "boxing" in that i would thumnail what i wanted to go on a page and then i would literally draw myself into a corner while trying to put it on the final paper...like i said it works to go straight with a splash or pin because the only thing at the bottom of the page is usually some feet...but an 8 panel page might require the last panel to be a group shot or something.......Tell me if I'm talking stupid....feels like it
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