Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Light box as pattern table

I've been spending some time at a friend's studio lately and I have to report on a brilliant but simple setup he's created for himself. He mentioned that he has started to think of pattern making as something akin to engineering, and in doing so, was inspired to set up his workspace in a similar way.
Now, one of my least favorite things about pattern making is tracing patterns in bad light. The thing is, almost all light is bad when you're using a clear plastic french curve, because the light, no matter where it's coming from, bounces off the side of the curve and creates this tiny little shadow, which is just big enough to make it impossible to see exactly where the line you're drawing is at.
What my friend has done to remedy this is essentially create a light box. He bought a large table with a frosted glass top, put a long rope of those tube white christmas lights under it, and viole, lightbox. It looks really classy, not DIY at all, and not only is the french curve tracing problem fixed, but so is the problem of creating flipped patterns for things like facings and linings. You can place a pattern face down, put a clean piece of paper on top, still see all the details, and create a mirror pattern in one trace.
I'm writing about this as if it's a new idea, but has anyone seen this used for patterns? I asked some of my industry friends here, and they said that they're generally only used for technical flats and sketches.


Jessie said...

This sounds like a dream. You had me when you described the shadow next to the curve! That drives me crazy. Lighting is so important!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant (pun intended) idea! Thanks for sharing it.