"In love with drawing again!"

Whether you're drawing on paper with a pencil, or cookies with royal icing, Camera Lucida will help you to be a better artist.

Unlike hundreds of apps that enable you to create digital art, Camera Lucida instead enables you to create amazing physical art! Our app works by having your iPhone or iPad's camera pointed at your drawing surface. By watching your screen as you draw, you will be able to to see your reference image superimposed with your drawing - guiding your hand as little or as much as you want while you create your art. Better than a projector and more versatile than a light table, Camera Lucida has been fine-tuned for a decade to provide artists with the features they need to be accurate and creative.

For over a century, artists have made use of the camera lucida optical device to superimpose a live view of their subject onto their drawing or painting surface. Allowing the artist to trace what they see in front of them, the camera lucida is an invaluable aid in creating a lifelike and realistic drawing. Our app is truly a camera lucida for the 21st century!

With our Camera Lucida iPhone/iPad application, artists and non-artists alike can now draw anything they have a photo of. When looking at your screen, you'll be able to simultaneously see the image you want to draw as well as your drawing surface as you create your work of art.

Additionally, Camera Lucida has image processing filters that can be used to simplify the drawing process further. Functions such as posterizing, color reduction, comic book effects, edge detection, etc. help tremendously for guiding your hand while producing your next masterpiece.

Our app also supports professional features you won't find in other copycat apps such as:
- Time-lapsed recordings of you creating your drawing you can share on social media.
- Perspective and mirroring transformations for using the app with additional hardware such as mirrors.
- Support for external bluetooth keyboards to aid in creating large art through mirroring your display.
- Advanced tools such as vertical split screen sliders, timed image fading in and out, etc.
- Video tutorials you can watch from within the app or from YouTube.
- Customer support that you can count on and much, much more.

To use our application, you just place your iPhone or iPad between your drawing surface and your eyes and trace what you see on the screen!

A ton of fun for artists young or old, amateur or professional, the Camera Lucida app makes a great addition to any artist's toolbox.

IMPORTANT: To use Camera Lucida, you need to fix your iPhone or iPad in place above your drawing. We use a stack of books or a flower vase to do this. Tutorials are included in the app to help you get started.

Splash art by Carolyn Hall Young, 1953-2016.

What’s New

Version 10.1

The highest rated app for drawing on real world materials such as paper or even cookies and cakes! This update adds support for iOS versions 9.3 and higher for use with devices such as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. Camera Lucida version 10.1 also brings support for Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and of course, iCloud. Plus, version 10.1 brings a new interface for adjusting image contrast, brightness, saturation and gamma.

Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
254 Ratings

254 Ratings

Patty99pilot ,

Great Tool

I decided to learn watercolor painting but have no skills for drawing. Choosing my own photos to work from I was spending way to much time trying to make an accurate light sketch. The sketch is minimal but so important to perspective in the composition. I was reading about the camera Lucida when I found this app for my iPad. I figured out a way to use it and am so disappointed I had only grabbed scratch paper. My line drawing took very little time and the very quick painting atop that drawing was terrific! This takes so much pressure off and allows me the pleasure of experimenting with the paint and it’s effects without the very hard and tedious task of making an accurate sketch. Thanks for coming up with this app! It will take a little practice getting used to how to set up for accurate size overlay. I do need a stand but so far I have managed. Patty

Ps. I despise apps with “in app purchase” so I appreciate the way you marketed this. Reviews were positive and you were clear about it takes a little getting used to. But that is the case with all the camera Lucida options. You are drawing without looking at the paper. Kind of weird but great results.

Bus Collector ,

Great app for artists!

I bought this app as a Christmas present for my husband. The app is phenomenal! It allows him to line up the picture he wants to draw from, and lets him get the general placement of what he is drawing, such as the eyes and the shape of the head. We are older, and I must admit, it was a bit confusing at the very first. However, I reached out to the Camera Lucida community I follow on FaceBook, and received the help I needed. Also, the apps developer built in a help section right into the app. It even has the e-mail address of the developer himself. I e-mailed him and he got right back with me. His tips were exactly what we needed to use the app to obtain the desired results. Couldn’t be happier with the app and with their customer service! If you can’t figure out the app, reach out for guidance instead of leaving a negative review.

BethNadler ,


I was going to skip this because of the price and no try it offer. Glad I didn’t. It doesn’t project, you are looking at the image on your phone and can see the canvas underneath so enlarging isn’t an issue and neither is focus. It has a fade adjustment, tilt, you can change the effects of the picture you are using, it can be set to automatically fade in intervals so you can see the canvas taking shape or you can use the slide and just move the picture out of the way as you go. It’s super easy to doodle your own sketch, save to your photos and then open it in this for a more complex painting. I’ve had it for 5 minutes and I can see a ton of creative ways to use this. I’m glad I took a chance. I’m using iPhone 8.

Developer Response ,

Thanks for taking a chance, Beth! And thanks for all the kind words as well.

I've considered both a "try it first" model as well as an "in app purchases" model and yes, even an advertising based version of the app. I've always been worried that the "try it first" model wouldn't work well because this app (like many artist's tools) has something of a learning curve. The other models also don't fit well because the artists I've spoken to want to just pay once and never, ever be bothered again by things like in-app purchases and certainly not advertisements. Price is a tricky topic - with a relatively niche app like this, I have to charge a bit more than other casual apps to make it worth developing. But, I've put over 10 years of work into it and it still cost less than a new set of pencils, so I always hope people will understand the value they get.

I love that you wrote in your review that the app doesn't project - sometimes it's tricky for people to wrap their head around just how the app works. I never want to mislead people, either! But, I take support very seriously; reading every review and support email as quickly as possible and responding as soon as I can! Thanks again! -Pete


Peter Moeykens
23 MB

Requires iOS 9.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.



Age Rating


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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