So K made me a lightbox for my birthday.

Several months ago I drew a very sketchy plan on the back of an envelope and voila, here it is!

It even has a handle so I can tote it around the house.  It’s perfect.

Light boxes make it easier to trace.  When I didn’t have one, when I needed to trace something I would use a window or computer monitor as a backlight.  This is obviously not nearly as effective or comfortable.

When you’re little and you’re good at drawing, the other kids always ask, “Did you trace that?”  It’s basically an accusation, and there’s this assumption that unless you do everything the hard way, by hand and skill, it doesn’t count.  I still feel a little guilty using a light box for that specific reason, mostly when doing a pen and ink drawing as opposed to using it to prepare a transfer or whatever.  But like most things I feel guilty about, there’s no point to it.

I have plenty of slightly more legitimate things to feel overly guilty about: the messy room, the to-do list, the need to bathe.  Guilt over using a tool to facilitate my work has no place in my life.  I don’t always have to do things the hard way.  Drawing still isn’t easy, and my skill, judgment and training still apply.  When it’s done, this drawing will not be a soulless regurgitation of a photograph.  Right?

Besides which, I love this lightbox.  I don’t think I’d be able to pry it out of my own cold, dead hands.

I guess that settles that.

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2 Responses to Lightbox

  1. Mike Webster says:

    The paper, ink, and pen, remain soulless only until your hand brings them together.

  2. Jim says:

    What a beautiful lightbox, what beautiful craftsmanship.

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