The LUCY Drawing Tool: Most Versatile Camera Lucida Ever

Created by Les Cookson & Ken Higginson

The LUCY Drawing Tool: Most Versatile Camera Lucida Ever
Photo original
795 backers pledged $88,771.00 on Kickstarter

LUCY Drawing and Painting Tool Inspired by the Old Masters' Secret Techniques—Designed for Today's Artists! Now You Can Draw Anything!

Raised in Kickstarter
$88,771.00 / 795 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$80,202.11 / 1,437 backers
Estimated Shipping Date: September 2016

LUCY Packages

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LUCY Camera Lucida
One Brand New Complete LUCY Camera Lucida with 2 Optical Filters and micro fiber cleaning cloth.
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LUCY w/ Photo Projector and Bag
One Brand New Complete LUCY Camera Lucida with all the extras!: 2 Optical Filters, micro fiber cl... more »
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LUCY w/ Photo Projector and Bag X2
TWO (2) Brand New Complete LUCY Camera Lucidas with all the extras! Each with: 2 Optical Filters,... more »
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LUCY w/ Photo Projector and Bag X3
THREE (3) Brand New Complete LUCY Camera Lucidas with all the extras! Each with: 2 Optical Filter... more »
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Photo Projector and Bag
The Photo Projector accessory for copying and enlarging photos, and the handy bag to keep everyth... more »
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The ProjectorARM allows you to use your LUCY to copy and enlarge images from a smart phone’s scre... more »

Products from Past Kickstarters

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Deluxe Walnut Camera Obscura
The Old Masters' Secret Tool for Today's Artists & Photographers. Wooden Camera for Drawing,... more »

Learn About Our Project:

 BoingBoing - BackerKit Staff Favorite - GIZMODO - ArtistsNetwork

The LUCY is a much improved version of the classic camera lucida drawing tool, which has been used by artists and old Masters for centuries. (see the history section below).   

The LUCY retains all the magic of this classic device, while offering all the solutions with a larger, more stable and brighter image. You can even adjust the brightness of the image as needed. This transforms the camera Lucida from a neat device of the past into an indispensable art tool for today.   

When you look through the LUCY’s view hole, optical mirrors create a transparent “ghost” image of the scene in front of you reflected down onto your canvas or paper. Just draw or paint over the reflected image to get the correct perspective, foreshortening, proportion, position, overlap, shape. Thus, leaving you more time to develop your art the way you want it without being frustrated by the technical elements.  

The LUCY head is injection molded in the USA with fiberglass-infused polycarbonate. All optics (mirrors and filters) are shatter resistant acrylic glass.   

The flex neck arm is 2 feet long by 10mm thick and made from strong lightweight steel with a black skin-like rubbery coating. The clamp is made from extruded aluminum with free-spinning rubber covered grip to keep your table protected.  

►Large image: 19 x 27 inches (48 x 58 cm)

►Adjustable image brightness

►Adjustable height

►Use it while standing, sitting or at an easel

 Contact me if you would like a reward in another quantity or combination. If you have any questions or difficulty pledging, please send a message with the link above or call Les at 916-412-1766.

Photo Projector

The Photo Projector is an accessory for the LUCY that come with the $109 and higher reward tiers. The Photo Projector allows you to enlarge photos, pictures or small objects using your LUCY up to a 3x magnification. That’s blowing up a 4in x 6in photo to 12in x 18in (10.2cm x 15.2cm to 30.5cm x 45.7cm).  

Simple and easy. The image is better than what you can get with an ordinary art projector: you don’t have to work in the dark, no annoying shadow, no electricity, no risk of damaging your photo with a hot bulb. It comes with the small stand that attaches to your LUCY and a custom acrylic Fresnel lens that both enlarges and focuses the image down on your paper or canvas.  

Carrying Bag

The handy carrying bag also comes with the $109 and higher reward tiers. It has plenty of room in the main pouch to fit your LUCY, and two outer zipper pockets perfect for storing the filters and Photo Projector. Bag measures 13.75" W x 16.25" H  

 Below are some testimonials and examples of art made by artists using my other camera lucidas over the years.  

 Lynne Hurd Bryant   

 “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.” -Lynne Hurd Bryant

Darice Machel  

 “As an art teacher and owner of my own art school in Maui, I was very excited about the new LUCID-Art Camera Lucida. My first project using the Camera Lucida was an 11x14 acrylic painting of a sail boat in the Lahaina harbor. I worked from one of my photographs … once I had it all alined to my satisfaction I was able to draw the image with ease. As soon as I master the use of this wonderful tool, I plan on teaching my students how to use it. They are as excited as I am and can't wait to get their hands on it.” - Darice Machel

 Eugene Conway  

 "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 camera lucida reduces the time it takes to measure a subject thus enabling rapid progress for the artist." -Eugene Conway  

 Stu Dunkel  

 Balance of Good, 12x16 oil on masonite.  

Les Bruder  

"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." -Les Bruder   

 Jim McLeod  

 Watercolor and watercolor pencils  

 Terry Elrod   

 "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." -Terry Elrod   

 Samuel Paris   

 "I bought the camera Lucida in the hope it would help my students learn to draw. Some students that had trouble concentrating with normal drawing instruction showed a renewed focus and showed considerable renewed effort in learning to draw. It is easy and fun to use and I would recommend you give it try. Here are some samples of portraits that I have done. The camera is a big time-saver and makes getting a likeness much easier." -Mr. Samuel Paris  

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”.

 Here is David Hockney's Secret Knowledge Documentary:  

 Here is some of the scientific evidence for Hockney's theory:  

Some of My Camera Lucida Designs Over the Years.
Some of My Camera Lucida Designs Over the Years.

Other Products I've Created (click images to find out more):

Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura

The sourcing, manufacturing, assembly, and fulfillment for all the rewards will be done by my manufacturing partner, Practical Industries Inc., under my close supervision in their 35,000sq ft facility in Stockton California (less then 2 hour outside San Francisco).  

Part of Practical Industries' Shop
Part of Practical Industries' Shop

Over the years, Practical Industries and I have built thousands of my camera lucidas in smaller runs and fulfilled my 2014 ProjectorARM Kickstarter project, so the relationship is set up and ready to build as many LUCYs as we need.  

For the LUCY head (the main part with all the optics) we have the mirror and half-silvered mirror that go inside sourced from US companies: ready to order as soon as we need them. The LUCY head is injection molded with fiber-reinforced polycarbonate in Sacramento, CA. The mold has already been built, so we know the parts will come out perfect because we have been using this mold to make the older style LUCYs with the steal rod for a couple years now. The process to make the LUCY head will, for the most part, be just a matter of running the same tested a proven process we have been using. We will be making a couple small tweaks though. One is that the placement of a hole will be moved slightly to make the LUCY head fit with the new flex neck arm. And we are equipping all the screws in the LUCY head with built-in internal tooth lock washers to help them grab tighter and hold together better.

For the new flex neck arm and aluminum clamp, we are going to leverage the mass produced flex neck arm products made overseas to keep the costs down as much as we can. I have been working with one of Practical Industries long time business contacts in China to get this new arm produced. They have most of the components they need to produce the arm from other products they are currently building. It is just a matter of putting them together according to my specifications, and fabricating one new piece that will go on the end of the flex neck arm, which attaches to the LUCY head.

They have already provided a prototype (pictured in the video and campaign page), and now we just need an order large enough to get it produced. And that is why we are on Kickstarter to get the funding it will take to order a large shipment of the new flex arms with clamps and to product an equal number of LUCY heads to go with them.

Also as part of this project, Practical Industries will be doing a run of my Photo Projectors to go with the LUCY rewards that include them. The Photo Projector is made all in house. Practical Industries punches, forms and powder-coats the parts, then assembles and boxes the finished product.

So once we get the funding, we will place the orders for the mirrors, half-silvered mirrors, laser cut neutral density optical filters, and injection molded LUCY heads from our US based suppliers. And we will place the order for the flex neck arm with clamp from our supplier in China. All the components should be delivered to Practical Industries' Stockton facility with in 7 to 10 weeks. Then the LUCYs will be assembled and professionally packaged within 4 to 6 weeks before being shipped to you by June or July of 2016.

 Check us out on Kicktraq