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About Us

LUCID-Art / Ancient Magic Art Tools is a California based company manufacturing and selling original products created by the company's owner and founder Les Cookson. Les started his work reinventing historical optical devices in 2005 through his interest in the painting techniques of the Old Masters. His work and interest has spread to include several of the fascinating and magical devices of the past.

Les has sold tens of thousands of his reinvented drawing tools, optical toys, and hand-built replicas to artists, universities, and museums all over the world, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He has also supplied his creations as TV and movie props for production companies like Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Paramount. Les has also pitched his inventions on Shark Tank and ABC's The Toy Box, and has made multiple appearances on his local GoodDay Sacramento morning show.

After selling his first camera lucida in 2005, Les spent years reinventing the camera lucida to solve all the traditional problems with the historical device. He focused on design changes that would produce a larger, brighter, adjustable, more stable image—while also keeping the price as low as possible. This work resulted in our two current camera lucida models: the LUCY pro and LUCY flex. In 2009 Les teamed up with Practical Industries Inc. to help with manufacturing and fulfillment. Today Les and Practical Industries work closely together to build each camera lucida in Stockton California, USA (less then two hours outside San Francisco).

Here is a video of Les giving a detailed account of inventing the LUCY:

Some articles about Les and his creations:

Interview with Les Cookson: Maker of Historic Optic Devices—Robert Hirsch
LUCY is a magical drawing tool based on the classic camera lucida
Just looking at this camera obscura makes me happy
Witness the Rebirth of the Camera Obscura in This New Kickstarter
Inventor is Laughed off Shark Tank and Gets Funded on Kickstarter
This Zoetrope will have you mesmerized
Les' Kickstarter Projects