10 Best Tracing Light Pads | March 2017

We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether you are an animator, a graphic artist or simply enjoy the art of drawing, one of these tracing light pads will let you create accurate and beautiful reproductions of any image. They can also serve double duty as portable X-ray and photo negative viewers. Skip to the best tracing light pad on Amazon.
10 Best Tracing Light Pads | March 2017


Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
10
The Coocheer CH-941 can work on 110V or 220V sources, making it a good choice for those planning on taking it traveling overseas. Plus it's very easy to set up. But it must be plugged in to function, as it has no battery option.
9
The TREVIEWER A3-400 was created with input from comic book professionals, resulting in a beautifully crafted and functional model. It even has angle adjustments, so you don't need to hunch over to see your work.
8
The Dbmier A3 is a favorite among photographers who want to take photos of their illuminated negatives. The frame also won't flex at all during use, so your work will stay steady. Plus it's good for tracing quilt block shapes.
7
The AGPtek Artcraft comes with a power box that can be plugged into a regular wall outlet, or into a USB-receiving device. The on/off button is also conveniently distanced from the surface so you won't accidentally shut it off.
  • blue light indicates unit is plugged in
  • can trace on vinyl
  • light has a ripple effect sometimes
Brand generic
Model HL0163-1-1
Weight 2 pounds
6
The US ART SUPPLY® LM-303 has flicker-free LEDs that are comfortable for the eyes and won't cause strain during long drawing sessions. It also comes with a one-year unconditional warranty, and is easy to clean.
  • sturdily constructed
  • comes with a circle template
  • accidentally turns off sometimes
Brand Us Art Supply
Model LM-303
Weight 5.8 pounds
5
The HomCom A1-0023 has measurements built into the border so you can easily scale your projects. It works well in bright areas, too, so it's ideal for taking outdoor art classes or working in a park or on the beach.
  • tablet-sized for easy portability
  • rulings don't interfere with the screen
  • doesn't connect to a usb port
Brand HOMCOM
Model A1-0023
Weight pending
4
The Huion L4S remembers the level of brightness you had it on during your last use and returns to that when you power it back up. It also has an acrylic surface that makes it feel like a glass panel and look elegant.
  • connects to computers via usb
  • has a gradual dimming feature
  • power cord isn't long enough
Brand Huion
Model L4S
Weight 1.9 pounds
3
The Litup LP3 is the brightest drawing pad in the field, with the ability to shine through several layers of paper, highlighting the contrast in your drawings. Plus a simple touch switch controls the dimming feature.
  • single tap on/off function
  • produces minimal heat during long use
  • convenient 6' long power cord
Brand Litup
Model pending
Weight 4.8 pounds
2
The Crayola Light Up is the ideal gift for young aspiring artists. It comes with 100 images to help practice tracing, which can then be customized with color and shading. It's also very thin and easy to hold.
  • includes colored pencils and stickers
  • paper-locking frame
  • great value at roughly $20
Brand Crayola
Model 04-0907
Weight 2 pounds
1
The Artograph 225 comes in four different sizes based on your needs. It's also super durable with chrome steel corners and an attractive aluminum frame. Plus it has rounded edges that make it comfortable to put in your lap.
  • material won't scratch easily
  • evenly illuminated surface
  • led bulbs last up to 30,000 hours
Brand Artograph
Model 225-930
Weight 5 pounds

Light Pads: Child's Toy, Artist's Tool, Doctor's Diagnostic Aid

The concept of the light pad couldn't be more elegantly simple: a light pad consists of a flat, translucent plane below which light is shined. Light pads allow designs, writing, or other content printed on one sheet of paper to be visible through one or many other sheets, making it easy for the user to transfer the original design via tracing. Light pads also make it easier to view photographic negatives, and may even make it easier to see the fine patterns or internal structures of items ranging from leaves to fabrics to scientific slides.

A light pad therefore, simple in design though it may be, has many potential applications and these range from the purely recreational to the educational to the artistic to design to diagnostics. As a toy, a light pad can help child or adult alike create drawings and patterns copied from almost any flat document. A light pad can serve to assist youngsters just learning to write the letters of the alphabet, but it can also help an adult practice the writing of a foreign language: imagine the ease of learning Arabic's flowing script or the intricate characters of Japanese by tracing instead of copying. So too can light pads help hone the hand of the budding calligrapher or graphic designer. Light pads not only make practicing writing or drawing more productive, but they make it more satisfying and rewarding, too.

The aspiring artist, linguist, or design professional interested in using a light pad is in luck: many light pads cost only around twenty dollars. And even the most expensive options, those with adjustable light settings and which are made from the most durable materials, rarely cost more than $100. When selecting a light pad, make sure to consider the size which will best suit your needs. If you'll only be using standard 11" by 8" paper, it will be easy to find a great light pad that's quite affordable. But know that much larger light pads, even units measuring up to 17" in width, are readily available, and these may be necessary for viewing larger documents such as x-ray slides or various schematic documents or pieces of artwork.

Also consider durability as a factor: many of the lower cost light pads are more than suitable for use by adults, but one might consider spending a bit extra on a stronger, more resilient light pad if it will be used in a classroom or by younger children. It is cheaper to buy one sturdy light pad once than a more easily damaged light pad twice or more.

The Light Pad In The Hands Of The Artist

A light pad is an artist's secret weapon. These handy tools can serve artists at all levels of skill and experience, for example helping the transfer of a sketch from the master painter's field notebook to a canvas prior to commencement of a new work. They can also help the budding cartoonist copy his or favorite panels to practice a character's expressions.

And unlike traditional tracing paper, the added illumination of a light pad lets the artist work using most standard papers, canvases, or other related media. A bold design will be clearly visible through several sheets of paper, in fact, allowing an artist to overlay a few different layers of image to create a composite design they can copy onto the top sheet of paper. This can be a great asset to the graphic designer trying to create a logo, and it can help the cartoonist trying to replicate a character in many different panels of their work.

While light pads work best when the artist is copying a monochromatic work, many colors will be visible through a single sheet of paper, so they can be used even with colorful original works such as paintings or photos. Just note that if the original media is too thick, many of the details will be lost when viewed through the layer of paper atop it.

For the youngster looking to refine his or her hand, the light pad helps to develop the fine motor control and muscle memory needed for successful artistic creation. Far from suppressing the creative mind by encouraging copying instead of original production, a light pad helps to train the hand and eyes that will then be able to create images seen only in the imagination without the limitation of unrefined ability. Any parent or art teacher wanting to support the young visual artist should of course encourage individual, non-directed artistic creation, but should also enlist the help of a light pad to assist the establishment of good mechanics.

The Light Pad Beyond The Arts

Beyond the arts, a light pad can be used to view media such as x-rays or photographic negatives, and they can help illuminate slides to be studied by magnifying glass, microscope, or simply by the naked eye.

Many light pads are lightweight enough to be brought into the field, and some units are even powered by USB connection, making their use in forensic work not just feasible, but practical.

A light pad can help an architect plan a multiple-level home or building by enabling him or her to view multiple floor plans at once and it can help an industrial designer plan the inner workings of a complex machine. In short, whenever there is need to see beyond the surface of a single document or other type of media, shining light through can be illuminating indeed.



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Last updated: 03/30/2017 | Authorship Information

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