"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

4.8 out of 5
175 Ratings

175 Ratings

Hutch376 ,

Fabulous Artist App!

Ever since I purchased the Camera Lucida app four years ago, I have been using it to make pencil drawings onto my painting surface before painting from a digital photograph - no more transfer paper, no more inkjet printer! I've probably saved hundreds of dollars not buying ink. While I am painting, I turn on the posterize feature and refer to it in order to guide my color/value choices - the app helps A LOT to identify the light and dark areas of the photograph. It's also great to zoom in on details, like eyes, and draw them accurately. For most paintings, after making the initial drawing, I do not attempt to paint while looking through the app/ipad - just have it next to me as a reference. Sometimes, however, I do the whole painting using the app, and skip the pencil drawing altogether, especially if I am using pastels. There is a Facebook group for Camera Lucida users, and I've learned a lot of tricks there, including ideas on how to build a stand to support the iPad. I love this app!

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.

TedK. ,

Really great app for anyone who wants to draw!!

I love being able to draw pictures from my photos. Really let's you overcome fears if you are, like me, drawing challenged...
Have made many lovely pen and ink drawings of some of my favorite photos of my daughter that I put in my journal. It is fun, plus they won't fade over time like photos might (given an archival ink)...

I have always wanted to make pen and ink drawings that look good and this has been an absolutely fabulous tool. I just got an Osmo stand and front camera mirror and am looking forward to using it as it seems like it will be more convenient than the standard setup of putting the iPad on a stack of books. I set it up with the Osmo but have yet to actually draw with the Osmo in use. That said, it certainly seems like it will be more convenient to have the iPad and drawing both easily visible while you are drawing, instead of basically 100% looking "through" the iPad.

I very, VERY rarely purchase apps (I think this is my second in history) but have absolutely no regrets. It really is a wonderful tool to help ANYONE draw well and I am thrilled!


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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