Years before the first photographic print and two centuries before Google Glass, was the Camera Lucida, a clever optical device designed by Sir William Hyde Wollaston that utilized a prism to project an image onto a piece of paper so you can trace it, a method that would transform life-drawing for nearly a century. Have you ever used one or seen for sale? Likely not. Your best chance would be scouring Ebay where antique Camera Lucidas sell for upwards of $300. Enter university professors Pablo Garcia (previously) from the Art Institute of Chicago and Golan Levin from Carnegie Mellon who have teamed up to design the NeoLucida, the first portable camera lucida in nearly a century.
So what’s the point? In the age of Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and Instagram who needs to sit down and draw what’s in front of them? The duo explains via Kickstarter:
We both have a lot of students who’ve come to believe that being able to draw photo-realistically is the most important thing. We both love realistic drawing, but not necessarily the way it’s usually taught—which often ignores the tightly-intertwined relationship between drawing and imaging technologies. In particular, art students are encouraged to draw photo-realistically, in the manner of the Old Masters, but without the proper tools for doing so. So we’re producing the NeoLucida as a provocation, not as a business, to help get this discussion started. We hope the NeoLucida will prompt new questions about the relationship of art and technology—and potentially even disrupt business-as-usual in the classroom. Most importantly, we genuinely believe that using a camera lucida will profoundly change how people see, how they draw, and how they think about art.
Lastly, is there really a demand for a simple $30 drawing device based on a little prism? The Kickstarter received pledges for almost 100 of them while I wrote this post. So there’s that.
Update: It appears they’ve sold out of their initial run of 2,500 NeoLucidas with no plans to increase that number at this time.
Graphic designer and competitor for Best Dad Ever David LaFerriere has been drawing illustrations on his children’s sandwich bags since 2008. Lucky for us he photographs almost every single one, over 1,100 of which you can explore over on Flickr. (via quipsologies)
Milan-based artist Marco Mazzoni works almost exclusively with colored pencils to create intricate drawings that depict the cycles of nature and worlds based heavily in Italian folklore. One of his most frequent subjects are drawings of flora and fauna who seem to be consuming or living on top of the face of a woman whose eyes we never see. The artist says he consciously does not depict the eyes so the viewer doesn’t consider the artwork a portait, but instead a still life where all elements have equal importance. Via Galleria Patricia Armocida:
Mazzoni weaves a world based on Italian folklore, made up of Janas and Cogas, female figures who, according to Sardinian beliefs, seduce, enchant, curse, and heal. His work is an homage to the secret art of healers; each drawing is saturated with metaphors that tell their story. The circular compositions, which allude to the cycles of Nature, depict medicinal and lysergic plants, pollinator butterflies and birds which drink their nectar, and hidden amidst leaves and wings emerge the faces of these women forced to hide their sensuality and their knowledge due to bigotry imposed by religion, accused of witchcraft because they are herbarie, herbalists. Female healers and midwives held an important role within the community. [...] Marco Mazzoni underlines the importance of the interaction between the women and the plants by developing the subject that’s best known: the female face framed by flora and fauna, rendering it an icon. He reveals her innermost perceptions, memories scribbled on a diary page, highly imaginative visions of “impossible” animals, the fruit of ecstatic exploration of hallucinatory journeys. [...] The result is a work which recounts the moment in which woman takes control of everything, in complete harmony with Nature.
The Human Printer is an ongoing art project by Stinsensqueeze (STSQ) who take photographs and manually create a CMYK halftone printing effect by hand. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black)—the application of which is usually determined by computers, not people. The process of applying each dot by hand as you can imagine is a painfully tedious process that requires not only a knowledge of printing but also plenty of forethought before beginning each piece. You can see a rough idea of the process in the video above.
The Human Printer was setup in 2009 by Louise Naunton Morgan and having setup a design studio with Stina Gromark, the project is now run by Stinsensqueeze (STSQ). According to their website they are currently taking orders, all you have to do is upload an image that meets their requirements, select a color process, and they’ll get back to you with a quote. (via jeannie jeannie)
How do you advertise a life drawing course? You could photocopy posters from the last session for the umpteenth time and hang them on a wall, or maybe take out a tiny ad in the local paper and hope some people show up. Except that’s what we’ve been doing for decades. Creative duo Wriggles & Robbins decided to take a new approach in this brief clip advertising drawing courses at The Book Club in London. Using photographed stills of the students’ work-in-progress the team created this lovely stop motion video the that does an extraordinary job of capturing the energy, perspective and fun of a life-drawing class. Really cool, I wish it went on for another minute or so. (via it’s nice that)
Artist CW Roelle lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island where he creates dense and detailed illustrations using carefully bent wire. While taking a life drawing course in 1997 Roelle was suddenly overcome with the urge to bend the lines he had already committed to paper. That night, and for many nights after, he began to recreate his line drawings with metal wire. You can see much more of his work over on Facebook, and he has some pieces available at 13FOREST. (via faith is torment)
A peek inside the sketchbooks of Michigan based artist and illustrator Pat Perry reveals a fascinating world where the natural world seems on a direct collision course with the urban. Silhouettes of people and wildlife are filled with rich, textured stories that seem to be representative of dreamlike memories. The detail in Perry’s work is undeniably amazing, even the images above don’t quite do it justice, spend some time scrolling (horizontally) through his sketchbook blog to see what I’m talking about. I recommend following Perry on Flickr, Facebook or via his blog, and he has numerous reasonably priced prints available in his store including may of the works above. He also did a great interview a while back with Amir from Beautiful Decay which you can read over on the Huffington Post. (via booooooom)
Forget those pesky 3D printers that require software and the knowledge of 3D modeling and behold the 3Doodler, the world’s first pen that draws in three dimensions in real time. Imagine holding a pen and waving it through the air, only the line your pen creates stays frozen, suspended and permanent in 3D space. Sound like magic? Well it certainly looks like it, watch the video above to see the thing in action. The 3Doodler was designed by Boston-based company WobbleWorks who recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell the miraculous little devices that utilizes a special plastic which is heated and instantly cooled to form solid structures as you draw. I don’t know about you but for me this might have just won the most impulsive Kickstarter purchase in history. Check it out.