A tracing board or light board is a flat electronic pad that emits light. It allows drawings on one sheet of paper to be viewable through another sheet or even multiple sheets. This makes it easier to trace sketches, full drawings, calligraphy and more. It’s also a tool for beginners learning how to draw from the act of tracing.
Today, I’m reviewing the RH A4 LED Tracing Board. I’ve always wanted a tracing board, so when GearBest asked me to review this, I immediately said yes!
This is a USB powered device, but the package does not come with a micro USB cable, just the light board, packing foam and a pre-installed protective sheet on the surface of the board.
The board is made of acrylic and the surface provides a nice grip for any smooth sketch paper or light drawing paper laid flatly upon it. It seems like the static and texture help hold the paper in place. When I lay a sheet of paper on the surface, it seems as though the board creates a suction effect which keeps the sheets of paper from moving, even when I push it with my hand (this is without the protective film).
Along the top and left border of the working area, there are measurements to keep track of scale. I think that’s useful for architectural drawings. I don’t know what I would use it for, myself.
On the back are 4 plastic stickers… I’m not quite sure what their use is. They’re definitely not for grip because of their slippery nature. My guess is they provide an easier way to pickup the board when placed on a flat surface.
At 5mm thick, it’s quite sturdy. I wouldn’t be afraid to toss it into my messenger bag for a drawing session out in the park.
I usually trace things by holding them up to a window during the daytime which gets very tiring for my arms. The tracing board allows me to trace while seated at my desk during any time of the day.
This model has 6 levels of light intensity, controlled by a touch sensitive switch. The first image below on the left is the board switched off. The following images to the right are the 6 light levels which illuminate evenly across the surface – no stripes or flickering.
The color temperature ranges from 13,000 – 17,000K with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
I used it at night to trace and shade a portrait for 4 hours and was pleased to find that it did not cause any eyestrain and even after such long use on the highest brightness setting, the board did not heat up. Small details from the portrait were clearly visible through a layer of printer paper.
The board provides enough light even when using thick canson bristol paper on the brightest setting.
These images were taken in a room with double-glass doors on a bright sunny day.
I also tested it outside under direct sunlight on the highest brightness setting. It’s almost impossible to see the drawing underneath unless I’m in the shade:
Under the shade, I can make out quite a lot of detail through the printer paper. So while you can use it outside on a sunny, cloudless day, you’re better off in the shade. Tracing text or drawings with very broad lines should be super easy.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this tracing board. The only con being that it didn’t come with a micro USB cable… but I have too many lying around my apartment anyway. I’m stoked that I can add this to my artist toolbox now, replacing the whole window tracing thing that I do very often in preparation for my tutorials!
If you’re interested in learning more about this or picking one up for yourself, please visit GearBest for more info!
Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.