Light Drawing in Color

Light drawing is a night-time activity using a camera to take long-exposure pictures (usually 15 seconds or so). During the exposure, you can move lights around to create trails of light, making glowing doodles and sketches that seem to hover in the air.

It can be hard to find good lights to use—they have to be pretty small to make good drawings. You can make dedicated LED pens for doodling, but this requires soldering together LEDs, switches, and button cell batteries. It’s a fairly easy but time-consuming DIY project.

An alternative is to get super-bright and inexpensive keychain lights: 10 lights at 47 cents a piece. These lights are blinding—and at a price that makes them disposable.

Next you can add color with cellophane! This stuff is actually kind of hard to find in small quantities, but I saw some at Party City, 50 cents for a 5′ x 20″ roll—that’s enough to make color filters for at least a hundred of these lights. I cut out the cellophane and wrapped it around the light, tacking it down with just a bit of Scotch tape. Four layers of red produced a more vivid (but dimmer) red, and 2 layers produced pink. Alternatively, it could be easier to stick colored latex balloons on the lights.

Now to test out drawing: