The principle is that you put an existing image, such as a photograph, newspaper clipping, other sketch, someone else's mail, etc. and lay it on the shadow box under a sheet of paper. The strong backlighting lets you see the image. You can trace the image onto the other paper.
You might say that's cheating, but I say you should stay out of my business. There are indications that many master artists used similar techniques in creating their art. It is also useful for beginning artists to trace out pictures to help practice drawing new shapes. I used this for my Christmas Card from 2012.
Now, I’ve seen shadow boxes on sale for $20 now, but my frugal nature will not allow me to part with that money as long as I have spare parts left in my storage closet!
- Cabinet Light Set
- Plastic Storage Tote
- Acrylic Sheet
- Zip Ties
- Paper Glue
- Several Pieces of Plain Paper, Size is Optional
- Drills and/or Utility Knives
- A Sense of Adventure
Step 1: Carving the Box
Pay no attention to the extra holes. Let's just say that I didn't have an Instructable when I made this.
Step 2: Carving the Lid
Step 3: Paper the Box
Step 4: Mounting the Lights and Power
Step 5: Assembly
Step 6: Fire It Up and Prepare to Art!
One of the most common uses I have for it is when I am including a building or other fixed structure in my drawings. I like to use it to get the proportions and layout down as well as to catch some of the details of the building that I might otherwise have missed.
The digital era has made this a lot easier.
The basic method is to:
- Take a digital picture of your subject
- Change it to grayscale.
- Increase the contract until it is close to black and white. Play with the brightness and other parameters to get a clear image.
- Scale your image and/or make a composite image from multiple shots.
- Print on basic printer paper, which is thin enough to be easy to shine through.
- Pieces of masking tape or drafter’s dots help to secure your copy.