Using a Camera Lucida
I’ve been reading Secret Knowledge by David Hockney recently and it got me interested in trying a camera lucida myself. I found one online and ordered it, and have been playing around with it lately. I should say that the service was amazing – I had it in a couple of days.
Drawing with an optical device is not at all what I expected – I thought it would be a quick fix (and sort of a cheat), but it comes with its own set of problems. First of all, seeing the image on paper is way harder than you would think from reading the website. Plus it sort of jumps around and you have to train yourself to focus on one part of the image – which makes the perspective wonky. And you can’t control the size of the image except by moving closer.
On the other hand, you can do these drawings quickly, when you get conditions right – the best is to be in shadow while drawing something in bright light – not as common a situation as you might think!
Here are my first baby steps. The first ones are done on black paper because I couldn’t see anything on the white paper that day (outside).
Here’s one done from inside looking out (with sun shining!) – notice how wonky it gets on the right hand side.
I then did a couple loking into roms that had more sun than I had where I was sitting. I should be ashamed to show my son’s messy closet but here goes :
I tried some thumbnails from photos on my computer – this is really easy and goes so quickly –
I also tried to practice from freeze frames from a dvd. I think where people are concerned, the camera lucida is best used for preliminary measurements :
But, statues work really well (hmm, could fear of portraits be a psychological thing for me?)
I have since found a manufacturer of optical devices that seems to have found solutions to some of the problems with the one I’m using now- I’m thinking maybe for my birthday….