ABOUT LUCID ART CAMERAS
The picture on the top right is of a view of the image as seen through the LUCID-Art & Lucy. The image is transparent, so you can see the subject (in this case a still life), your hand, pencil and pencil marks all at the same time. With the LUCID-Art you can adjust the size, position and intensity of the image as needed.
The User Manual will teach you how everything works and how to use your LUCID-Art, but the concept is very simple. You will be able to get an image of whatever you want to draw reflected right over your drawing surface. You simply trace over the image to get an accurate sketch quickly and easily.
You don’t have to worry about getting everything. Leave out what you don’t want and keeping what you like. Then after you have your sketch, finish your drawing with traditional drawing or painting techniques. It takes a little practice, but it’s as easy as it sounds.
For paintings you do not have to start with a pencil sketch, you can also paint right over the reflected image with oils, acrylics or water paints. You can use any medium you want: pencil, paint, pastels, charcoal, ink or almost anything else.
The LUCID-Art Camera Lucida will send shivers of excitement down your spine and you will quickly see why the old Masters might have found this kind of device so useful.
The view of the image as seen through the LUCID-Art
You simply trace over the image to get an accurate sketch quickly and easily
For paintings you do not have to start with a pencil sketch, you can also paint right over the reflected image with oils, acrylics or water paints.
Traditionally, even with a good camera lucida, it would only work on white paper if you had just the right lighting, and it was frustrating or even impossible to get the image bright enough unless you limited yourself to drawing on black paper.
And you had to change the lighting in the room to change the brightness of the image, then as soon as you changed the lighting all the shadows would change forcing you to start over. And if you were working outside, you had even less control over the image brightness because you could not change the lighting.
The LUCID-Art eliminates all these traditional lighting problems by incorporating two shatter proof optical filters that can be placed in the Top or Bottom Brace of the LUCID-Art; interchanged and combined to create nine brightness levels instantly without any lighting changes. This improvement alone changes the camera lucida from a neat device into an indispensable art tool.
Now you can easily use draw and paint on white or dark paper/canvas and adjust the brightness back and forth as you work with out any problems. This feature makes a huge difference-it’s like night and day!
Besides the above four brightness levels there are five other settings; three that make the subject dimmer and two that decrease the brightness of both the subject and your drawing surface. These are helpful while working outside on a bright day and other bright lighting situations.
There are three main factors that control the size of a camera lucida’s image: the size of the mirrors, the distance between the drawing surface and the lucida’s view hole and factor X.
You could set a lucida ten feet away from the drawing surface and get a huge image, but no one could reach that far to draw. You could increase the size of the mirrors to get a larger image, but then the lucida would be big and bulky.
The LUCID-Art is light, compact and portable, yet you still get a jumbo sized image because we discovered a new way of increasing the size of the image without increasing the size of the mirrors and maximize the size of the image at every height; we call it factor X, but sorry we cannot disclose how it works.
Here are the results, even at its lowest possible height, 16in (41cm) from the drawing surface, you get a large 13in x 26in (33x66cm) image, which is larger than any other camera lucida available–and it just goes up from there. Set at 21in (53.5cm) high the image is 18in x 31in (46x79cm). And at the highest height, 24 ½ in (62cm), you get a mammoth 20in X 37in (51x94cm) image.
Earlier prism type camera lucidas had (and the ones today still have) an unstable and elusive image. As David Hockney noted “You must use it [prism type Camera Lucida] quickly, for once the eye has moved the image is really lost.( Secret Knowledge, pg 24)”
Later mirror type camera lucidas have a more stable image, but they are often only suspended by a thin rod that wobbles back and forth as you try to draw.
The LUCID-Art has the more stable mirror type lucida image and is supported by a solid mechanical arm that is steadied by a second diagonal cross support arm; thus, eliminating wobbling and giving you the most stable image possible, while ensuring that the support arms will not get in your way as you draw.
The image is still a virtual image, so it will move if your head moves, but you will have a solid place to anchor your head. And if you move your head or want to take a break, then you can easily line your marks back up with the image and continue drawing.
Camera lucidas used to be more widely carried in art supply stores and have fallen in and out of popularity over the years. Consumers might even be willing to overlook all the before mentioned problems (lighting, Size, Stability,) except for the fact that camera lucidas have been so over priced for what they could do. Artists are used to seeing price tags of $375 or more for the frustrating little devices of the past.
It is true that the optics for prism lucidas are expensive, but they are not any better for the extra cost. And some camera lucidas are just tremendously overpriced for what you get.
The LUCID-Art is the best camera lucida ever built, solves all the problems with the traditional camera lucida and has one of the lowest price tags.
The LUCID-Art Camera Lucida is a high quality art tool made in California, USA with strong light weight aluminum alloy with a powder coated finish. All the mirrors and optical filters are shatter proof acrylic glass. It comes with a powder coated attachable steel clamp that secures it to a work space.
It easily changes back and forth from right-handed to left-handed. Comes with a very helpful illustrated users manual and online technical support is provided.
It works a lot like an art projector, except that you don’t have to sit in the dark with a loud hot projector, you’re not limited to working from photographs, the LUCID-Art works without electricity and it’s light (1.8 LBS) and portable!
It uses the same basic principle that was used to make transparent ghosts in movies before the advent of computerized special effects and is still the way Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion makes their ghost.
Please see the links on the left to read review, ask a question, make a purchase and see our other items for sell.
The LUCID-Art has a wide range of appeal within the art community and is the perfect gift.
The feedback that we have received ranges from excited patrons that couldn’t draw at all, but bought a LUCID-Art because they always wished that they could draw or had been meaning to learn, to professional artist with art degrees and/or careers who want to take the frustration out of drawing and painting and/or need a little help to make their art what they always wanted it to be, and everything in between.
Any artist or art enthusiast who would buy an art projector, wants to improve his/her art or make it simpler, is interested in the techniques of the Old Masters, uses the grid drawing method, is looking for a camera lucida, or just is intrigued by the almost magical effect of the LUCID-Art would likely be interested in buying a LUCID-Art.
Artists who refuse to use an art projector because they think that it is cheating, do not necessarily have the same feeling towards a camera lucida because it is not just a machine that copies pictures-it aids an artist in rendering art from life, and many of the old Masters of the past used camera lucidas and other optical devises, which legitimizes their use today. Click here to go to our History page and watch an interview of David Hockney talking about his book “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters”.
The LUCID-Art is about 5in (12.5cm) wide, and the height is adjustable between 16in (41cm) to 24 ½in (62cm) to fit the height of the artist.
It also folds together nicely for transportation and storage.
It only weights 1.8 LBS (0.8 kg).
Clamp opens wide enough to clamp to tables, notebooks, canvases or any other works space up to 2 ½in (6.4cm) thick.
You can reflect anything onto paper or canvas: paintings, landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes. And you can reflect the image onto white or dark paper or canvas or anything else you want to: dishes, crafts, rocks, t-shirts, sculpting.
The LUCID-Art can clamp to a table, sketch book, or most any stiff drawing surface up to 2 ½in (6.4cm) thick. So you can use it inside on a table or desk or clamp it to a portable drawing surface and take it out in to the field.
Plus, knowing that you are using the same kind of tool that the Old Masters used to make their Masterpieces makes drawing with the LUCID-Art that much more exciting.
Whether you are a Modern Master or just an Art Enthusiast who wants to paint like a professional, this is the ultimate tool for any artist. Because this is a tool not a toy, it is not recommended for use by small children.
Click here to see art and read testimonials from artist using the LUCID-Art.
We have two LUCID-Art accessories: one allows the LUCID-Art to enlarge photos and the other is a attachable drawing board. (each sold separately)
Click on each accessory logo for more information.
“This very clever device is not necessarily the answer to every question raised when following a path to draw or paint, as of course there are no real magical solutions, there is no substitute for traditional drawing or painting methods. However, your instrument, in keeping with the tradition of a true craftsmen tool is a worthy addition alongside all the other items to be found in an artist’s studio.
The camera lucida opens up a whole new world of possibilities. This instrument, requires a degree of patience and skill which rewards with truly amazing results which are genuinely astounding. The CL reduces the time it takes to measure a subject thus enabling rapid progress for the artist.”
“It would sound very dramatic if I tried to explain what a catalyst buying my LUCID-Art was for me. Friends who once pushed me to try to paint again now push to see finished products and they all know when I paint and when to expect another photo up on facebook. Even my children who used to blow me off artistically…I am just their mom…now encourage me and ask for pieces for their homes.
Now, after just a few months, I seem to have gotten myself into a gallery in Colorado, (Art on Mountain). I thought it was a bit soon to try for this and considered it a dry run, but there were 3 slots and 12 artists going through the jurying process, and my dry run has become my new reality!
It was my camera lucida that got me started back doing something I should be doing with my life, LUCID-Art deserve a big thank you for their part in all of this.
I LOVE THIS THING! I am so pleased and so excited and it is like MAGIC. It has added to my art degree training and expand what I can do. You can also sit in front of a computer screen with a digital image and use the lucida to draw it. I tried looking at some digital images through the lucida and view is 100% better than with an opaque projector.
Also, I drew a pot outside with the right oval shape and appropriate shadow. It was effortless. Perfection!
I found the instructions useful, as far as distance and adjustments were concerned. I didn’t feel lost at all and I love the results. VERY HAPPY HERE.
The girl (portrait on the right) is my daughter and it is VERY like her, a very good likeness. Keep in mind, while I have a BFA in art, I never would do a portrait in school. This of her is about 8th or 9th portrait I ever done, period.”
-Lynne Hurd Bryant
“I have purchased almost every one of Les’s incredible inventions. Needless to say I love them all.
I am a retired Psychotherapist, and loved my career, but I always wanted to be an artist. I had used these tools to help clients with self esteem issues, for years before retiring. Not to mention what the Camera Lucida has done for my own self esteem. At 52 years of age, I can only wonder how different my life may have been, if I had been introduced to these glorious tools earlier, perhaps in my childhood even. I was basically a stick figure artist most of my life, till I worked with my first Lucida made and designed by Les. I am no Rembrandt, but I have made money with my new skills. I have used these tools for so many things, art, sculpture, photography, to restore art projects I have purchased. I have found so many other surprising ways of using these tools as well. Think out of the box, and you will be surprised what you come up with.
No I am not a Cookson relative, nor am I getting any payment for my praise, except for the satisfaction of helping someone who has help so many others with his inventions, his ingenuity, and his generosity by pricing the Lucida so that most anyone can afford one.
I remember paying $1500.00 for my first Lucida on eBay, one of those vintage units, all chrome poles with a lens on top that were very difficult to use. I think it was made by Holbein, it had twelve different lens that basically drove one mad in a very short period of time.
Thank you Les, I can’t wait to get the new version, the [LUCID-Art] Camera Lucida. I have collected everyone of his inventions, because I think they are not just tools, but works of art. In fact, I make him sign everything I buy from him. I think this is embarrassing to him, but it is important to validate the importance of these items. They are tools, they are art, and indeed they are MAGIC!”
-Dr. Roy Hedrick
“I like to draw and paint en plein air. It’s great for drawings of cityscapes to get the perspective right (even while sitting in a car), but it also works well for painting. … In just a few minutes I’m started on a well-composed painting while my attraction to the scene is still fresh. Often I let drawn lines show through for an interesting effect.”
Art Work by Jerry Flanary using one of our Camera Lucidas.
Here is some art work done with the help of one of our Lucidas, thoughts and a testimonial by Les Bruder.
“The Camera Lucida is suited to reducing panoramas and natural scenes to the size of a large drawing pad, and its portability makes it ideal for such image capture. You don’t have to rely upon electricity as with projection systems, and the filters help one deal with all manner of natural lighting. You really learn a lot about light and seeing when you begin to play around with such an instrument. You feel like part of the camera, in fact you are a part of the camera; the mirror reflects the image onto a surface, the artist plays the part of the developing chemicals which fix the image on the paper. Another and perhaps greater instruction one gets from using the Lucida is practice in seeing and manipulating proportion, which, as Leonardo Di Vinci said, is divine.”
History of the camera lucida
The Lost Secrets of the Old Masters:
This is a very interesting interview with David Hockney, where he explains and demonstrates the use of camera obscuras and camera lucidas in the artwork of the Old Masters chronicled in his book “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters”.
An article about Hockney’s theory: click here.
Watch David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge Documentary
Watch this video to see some of the scientific evidence for Hockney’s theory!
The History of the Camera Lucida:
For nearly as long as humans have been making art we have employed tools to make our art better and easier. One tool that may have been the first was the camera obscura: in its simplest form is a small hole in the wall of a dark room, which projects an image of the outside world on a wall inside the room. Some have even claimed that a pinhole camera obscura was used to create some of the prehistoric cave drawing 1, but it was defiantly recorded as far back as 500 BC by great thinkers from Aristotle to Leonardo Da Vinci 2. Camera obscura is Latin for “dark room”, and is a predecessor to the camera lucida, which is Latin for “light room”. It is no coincidence that the names sound similar, and seem to be a play on words to juxtapose the way in which they function.
The camera lucida is an optical devise that allows an artist or scientist to see the transplant image of a subject reflected onto a paper or canvas, so that the image can be traced; thus, making an accurate drawing of the subject. The simplest devise that can achieve this effect is made by looking down through a piece of glass or half-silvered mirror set at a 45° angle. There are also many other configuration that can create a similar transparent image. Each configuration has positive and negative aspects, but some methods are inherently better than others.
This concept, later to be called the camera lucida, was first recorded by the German Scientist Johannes Kepler in his 1611 Dioptrice 3. By 1807 when William Hyde Wollaston patented the devise described by Kepler and gave it the name by which it is known today, the camera lucida, the world had forgotten about Kepler’s original description. And we have no way of knowing if Wollaston was knowingly copying Kepler or if this was a relatively common case of multiple people inventing the same devise separately.
In the mid nineteenth century, Alexander Alexander invented an improved version of the camera lucida, which he called the Graphic Mirror or mirror type camera lucida. This camera lucida had a more stable image when compared to the original Wollaston design, but the Wollaston design could easily accommodate lenses to magnify a subject.
The different types of camera lucidas that were used throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries varied only slightly from the original Wollaston and Alexander designs (shown below). They experienced waves of popularity in the artistic community by well know and amateur artist; although, sometimes their use was shrouded in trade secrecy. Among the scientific community; however, they experienced diminishing popularity as modern photography developed and camera lucida drawings of specimens and ruins were replaced with photographs. And by the late twentieth century, the camera lucida had become lost to the knowledge of most people apart from art and photography historians.
Until 2001, when artist David Hockney published “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters”. His argument, known as the Hockney-Falco thesis, is that great artists of the past, such as Ingres, Van Eyck, and Caravaggio did not work freehand, but were guided by optical devices such as the camera obscura and camera lucida 3.
This brought interest back to the camera lucida. The existing supply of camera lucidas increased in value as demand went up, so a few manufactures started producing the old Wollaston and Alexander designs, but only enjoyed limited success and circulation because of the inherent problems with the traditional camera lucida such as: a small reflected image, dim image that was hard to see, unstable image and the high price tag.
A young artist, named Les Cookson, was introduced to the camera lucida while attending a painting class by Mick Sheldon. Sheldon was showing the class his own version of the camera lucida, which he called the “Mick Lucida”. The first time Cookson looked through the camera lucida he didn’t even understand what he was looking at; somehow what looked to be a hologram of the gourds that were set up in front of the “Mick Lucid” were reflected on to the paper. It took a minute and a second look for it to sink in, but when it did Cookson was overcome with excitement that such a devise existed and immediately stated to work on plans to find ways to improve the camera lucida and solve the problems with the Wollaston and Alexander designs.
After four years of working with, researching, experimenting with and building camera lucidas, selling his various creations to artist all over the world in order to fund his efforts and test the effectiveness of his work and incorporating the impute and ideas he got in to his efforts, he finally created a camera lucida that incorporated the positive aspects of the Wollaston and Alexander designs while solving all of the inherent problems with the traditional camera lucida. He dubbed his ultimate camera lucida: the LUCID-Art.
Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: Right now we are offering free shipping for orders inside the USA. A discounted rate is charged for air mail to the rest of the world. So there are no shipping charges if you choose ground shipping for domestic orders or USPS. Click here for more internation shipping prices.
Q: Do you ship to international destination?
A: Yes, we shipping all over the world, just select your country from the drop down list during checkout.
Q: How soon will I get my order?
A: For LUCID-Art Camera Lucidas domestic orders will ship out of are shop in California in 1-2 business days (usually within 24 hours) after payment is received. UPS Ground takes 1-6 days depending on how far you are from California for a total of 1-8 days until you get your order. Or you can select UPS 2nd Day Air for a total time of 1-4 business days.
International orders will ship out in 1-3 business days (usually within 24 hours) after payment is received. Delivery time after it is shipping will depend on the international shipping method you choose. USPS Priority International takes 6-10 days.
Box Camera Obscuras can take from 2 to 10 business days to ship out. If you order both a LUCID-Art and a Camera Obscura, then each item with ship out separately as we get the items together.
Q: Do I have to have a PayPal account to order online.
A: No you do not need to use PayPal; we accept major credit cards directly online. PayPal is offered as an optional payment method.
Q: Does it matter if you are right or left handed?
A: No it does not matter because the manual shows you how it can easily changes the LUCID-Art back and forth from right-handed to left-handed. So if you have more than one person using it; then you can change back and forth from the right-handed setup to the left-handed setup.
Q: Can I see some larger pictures of the LUCID-Art Camera Lucida?
A: Yes, you can see larger pictures by clicking here.
Q: Can I use the LUCID-Art if I wear glasses?
A: Yes, you can use the LUCID-Art if you wear glasses, but it will not work if you have to wear trifocals.
Q: Will the LUCID-Art help me learn how to draw?
A: Yes, Drawing with the LUCID-Art will not only help you make accurate drawings, but it will also teach you to better see what you are drawing and help you to become a overall better artist.
Q: Can I buy a LUCID-Art camera lucida at my local art supply store?
A: Maybe, you’ll have to ask if they carry it. If not, please ask then to consider carrying the LUCID-Art.
Q: Does the LUCID-Art need any type of electricity?
A: No. It uses no electricity.
Q: Can you reflect an image from a photo or other small object?
A: Yes, you can reflect the image of a photo or small object to the original size, smaller or a little larger than life. The height of the camera lucida is adjustable to fit your height, so say you have the camera lucida eye piece set 20’’ high, then position the photo (by attaching it to a wall or easel or something) 20” away; then the reflected image will be the original size. If you want the reflection to be smaller then life then move the photo farther back (you’ll be able to get it as small as you want). If you want to make the reflection larger then life then more it closer than 20” (for now you can only enlarge to about 2 or 2.5 time the original).
Q: Do you offer discounts for schools or other nonprofit organizations?
A: Yes, contact us for more information if you are buying for a school or other nonprofit organization.