Do you recall my recent blog about the mega-cool Camera Lucida app I discovered for the iPad? The idea is that you first use your iPad to take a picture (or to display an image that you acquired from elsewhere), then you use the iPad to superimpose the image over a live image of your drawing surface and you create your perfectly-scaled drawing using pencil and paper (or whatever media you prefer).
As I mentioned in my previous blog, it's actually much easier to explain this using a video as follows:
Well, one of the comments on my first blog was from Carolyn Hall Young, who said "The iOS Camera Lucida app is an extraordinary and cool tool! I am using it as I work on a painting, right now."
I immediately responded "Please, PLEASE share your painting with us – maybe showing it in different states of completion and demonstrating your use of this app."
And Carolyn very kindly responded as follows. First of all we see her setup, with her iPad sitting on an improvised stand showing the image on the iPad and the painting in progress (Click Here to see a larger, more detailed version of this photo):
Next we see a close-up of an early version of the work in progress as seen on the screen of Carolyn's iPad. The pencil (at the top) and blue instrument (at the bottom) aren’t part of the picture – these are real objects on the table as seen through the iPad's camera (Click Here to see a larger, more detailed version of this image):
And finally we see the finished painting as shown below – this is an 8" x 8” Acrylic-on-Panel that is intended for a group show in Santa Fe in mid-June (Click Here to see a larger, more detailed version of this image):
I've also been in touch with Peter Moeykens – the creator of the Camera Lucida app – who says: "Carolyn is an amazing artist and person! She's very humble and will never admit to being insanely talented; but I don't mind saying so on her behalf." (Click Here to visit Carolyn's website and see some more of her art.)
Peter also informed me that the cookie and cake decorating community recently found out about his app from this wonderful How to draw on a cookie with an iPad article – who knew that cookie decorating could be so cool?
Well, I've been wanting to play with this app myself, but "I R an Engineer," which – in my case – means I tend to over-engineer everything. As you can see in the video above and also in the photo of Carolyn's setup, it's common for people to create improvised stands out of whatever is close to hand.
But I didn’t want to play around with piles of books and suchlike; what would happen if I was half-way through a picture and I decided to take a few days' break, and upon my return I couldn’t remember which set of books I'd used? So I decided to build myself a stand for my iPad – something whereby I could easily adjust the height of the iPad to accommodate different paper sizes and users and suchlike.
I started off by wandering down to my local Home Depot and picking up a piece of 3/4" thick plyboard 2' wide and 4' long. I also picked up two shelving rod thingies (25" long") and two brackets to go with them. Next I chopped the board up as shown below (I can provide exact dimensions if anyone is interested):
I then spent a happy couple of hours drilling and countersinking and gluing and screwing everything together (I said I over-engineered everything), and the resulting "beast" is shown below. One great thing about this implementation is that – in addition to being extremely solid and stable – the shelf upon which the iPad rests can be easily adjusted to different heights; it takes only seconds to unhook it and relocate it to a different position. Another other great thing is that the shelf-iPad combo sticks out a long way over the drawing surface below:
And, last but not least, here's a picture of my iPad sitting on my stand and running the Camera Lucida app. You can see a pen sitting on the paper below, and the image of this pen on the iPad screen:
So, now I have my trusty stand at the ready, the next thing is for me to actually start creating some real pictures… watch this space…
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The interesting thing is that there's speculation that the great masters used a version of this technique based on a martially mirrored prism -- check out this blog:
I guess this fills a void for some people.
But how do users wean themselves away from a new form of reliance on computers? That is, will time show whether people learn how to composed and execute drawings or paintings, or do we have a new form of charcoal impressions/carbon paper?
I don't think this is more than a toy. If you're watching progress on the tablet, and can zoom in and out, I don't think any new actual skills are developed: you can only copy, not make, art. Maybe a latter-day Andy Warhol will emerge, but I never regarded him as an artist.
Hi Carolyn -- I will capture the plans and dimensions in a document this weekend and let you know. I like the idea of a light-weight stand that folds up -- you could use anything as a counterbalance such as a gallon plastic milk container full of water...
Terrific stand design! Please do provide the measurements.
I may need visit Home Depot, for a bendy LED light. Painting the underside of the shelf and the bracket-side of the upright white might make a small difference. I keep a sheet of white card stock handy to reflect more light. When painting, I have to balence light and glare.
Next idea– how to make a stand out of light weight materials, such as the aluminum used for metal clipboards, the ones with hinged storage compartments. The unit could be hinged to fold flat, with a space for stowing support triangles and the iDevice platform, inside. One would need to counterbalance the in-use stand with something heavy. Any ideas?
Hi Pete -- originally I was going to mound one of those "under cabinet fluorescent lights" under my shelf -- the sort you get under kitchen cabinets.
But while I was at the Home Depot I saw a cheap LED table lamp (lots of super-bright white-light LEDs) -- the sort with a bendy neck that you can arrange anyway you like -- so I decided to use that instead.
Nice job, Max! Also, thanks for the kind words!
I love your stand design; so much so that I think this weekend I'll borrow your concept and attempt to add a light under the shelf. That will solve any issues with shadows and poor room lighting!