This review is written by Vera Brosgol.
I’m reviewing the Huion A3 LED light pad. Huion makes several sizes, from A4 to A2. I bought the inbetween A3 size, since it nicely accommodates the 11”x14” paper I use for comic pages. The illuminated area is 310mm x 430mm and it weighs 2.3 kg. It’s lightweight, but large, so I wouldn’t call it portable.
I’ve also tried the L4S model, which is great for smaller work. The L4S has a USB adaptor, while the A3 has a regular DC12V adaptor. I haven’t tried it, but there is also a rechargeable battery LB4 model, in case you need to travel with it.
I primarily use it for transferring sketches to watercolor paper, or inking comics onto Bristol board.
As you can see the adaptor cord is very, very short – 114cm, less than four feet. My solution was a cheap extension cord.
Compared to previous lightboxes I’ve used, expensive bulky metal things with halogen lightbulbs that you have to replace, this is crazy-thin - less than 8mm.
The LED light is supposed to last 50,000 hours, and is much more evenly lit across the surface than halogen bulbs. You can’t replace the light, but at less than $100USD you can probably swing a new one if it ever wears out.
The light is on the cooler side of white.
The surface is acrylic. It wipes clean, and I’ve been able to scrape little drops of acrylic ink off of it without visibly damaging the surface. I haven’t dropped it yet but I expect it would survive.
One of my favorite things about it is that the light is adjustable. There’s a touch-sensitive button in the corner. One quick tap turns it on and off. If you touch and hold you can cycle through the brightness range til you arrive at something that feels right. Sometimes it’s not very responsive, but it never takes more than a few seconds to adjust to where I want it.
If you turn it off and on again, it remembers what your last brightness setting was, which is pretty sweet.
My preferred method of making watercolor illustrations is to do rough drawings on a Wacom Cintiq, print them out, and then transfer them with the light pad. Here’s a printed sketch.
I put another sheet of regular copy paper over it and set the brightness to a low setting. Generally for thinner paper you don’t need a very strong light, or it gets uncomfortable for your eyes.
Here it is at full brightness – definitely overkill.
Here’s 100lb Bristol board at a medium/high light setting.
Here is 140lb Arches watercolor paper at the highest light setting. You can still see all the detail.
Just playing around, here’s a brushpen on copy paper…
…and mechanical pencil on copy paper.
I used a combination of brown acrylic ink with a G-nib and mechanical pencil to ink the sketch onto watercolor paper.
Here’s the finished drawing, transferred to watercolor paper and ready to paint.
I used to transfer sketches using carbon paper, then ink them, then erase the carbon paper lines… the light pad has saved me so much time and mess, I use it nearly every day!
- thin and lightweight
- cheaper than halogen lightboxes
- comes in a variety of sizes
- adjustable brightness
- memory feature that remembers your last setting
- long-lasting, even LED light
- designed for right-handed people. Left-handed people might accidentally touch the on/off button while working.
- extremely short power cord
- A3 size is not portable, but smaller models are
The light pad are handy for illustrators, designers, calligraphers, cartoonists, tattoo artists, photographers, quilters... the list goes on.
It’s pretty hard to think of cons! Overall it’s a really simple tool with lots of applications in art, at a good price. I highly recommend it!
There's another version selling with support pucks at the back to tilt up the light pad to a more comfortable angle for drawing: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp