Mobile phone drawing – part III

This is the third and final part of my posts on mobile phone drawing for now.  Back to normal old fashioned analogue artwork for the next one.  

To recap;

Benefits (Some of these may also feature as pitfalls, it’s a double-edged sword.) 

  • You can undo – I advise against this but if you’ve really messed up then it’s a benefit for sure. It’s sometimes easy to add random marks with a stray finger or the edge of your hand, definitely use it for that. 
  • You’re more likely to be carrying your smartphone than some pencils and a pad – handy for emergency sketching. How many blank pages does your sketchpad have? Your phone has got hundreds, thousands, millions probably. 
  • Are you carrying about twenty pencils, charcoal and brushes? Smudging tools, erasers, a whole palette of every colour? Your rulers, compass, etc. Hope you’ve also got all those different shades of paper along for the ride as well. Yep, that’s some serious bunch of tools in your pocket. Not quite the same but you get what I’m saying…
  • Is the art tutor with you ?  Whilst I’ve not used the function yet I’ve seen that you can take some lessons with some apps, you can even download the set of brushes the expert used. 
  • Finished the drawing but want to show your friend, maybe even share it with them so they can add a bit of their own creativity to it. In a few seconds it can be with them on the other side of the world.

Okay okay, clutching at straws a bit, how about those pitfalls…

  • You can cheat – there are plenty of ways to make it easy to draw (see first post with my rules) 
  • The screen (on mobile phone) is generally too small to draw nicely with a finger. I’ve bought a stylus which helps but due to the capacitive requirements of the screen it’s a necessarily wide scribing tool. Often you can’t actually see the line you’re drawing – the zoom tool is the best way but it is a workaround. Probably less of an issue on a large phone and no issue on a tablet, especially if it features a dedicated stylus (thinking Apple Pencil) but that’s outside the scope of these posts.
  • The feedback of sliding a finger around a small shiny bit of glass will never ever come close to even 10% of what you’d get from even a basic pencil and notepad.
  • The canvas size appears to be restricted. It’ll vary dependent on platform and software but if you wanted to ever print out your phone drawings then anything over a regular photo size wouldn’t look too great. A4 would be fuzzy, A3 hideous.
  • The batteries never die on a sketchpad.
  • It’s too easy to copy a photo with an overlay, that’s tracing not drawing from sight or imagination.
  • It’s too easy to pick colours, or even sample (eyedrop) the exact shade from a photo. See comments on cheating.
  • It’s too easy to undo – if you have a time machine in real life then sure go ahead. If not then use the eraser tool, unless you’re using the pen or brush tool in which case suck it up and learn from the experience. 
  • Too many other distractions are instantly available, halfway through a drawing and a Facebook notification or a text comes in. Have you got the concentration and strength of will to ignore it and stick with the drawing challenge? Life is already overly full of distractions, so your brain a favour and stick to real drawing if you can. 
  • Phone screens are proven to use light and flicker that’s not conducive to relaxation. Certainly affects sleep, so much so that manufacturers now can dim the light and turn it more yellow to lessen the detrimental effects.

OK, enough waffle, here’s some pictures to give more of an idea of what I use the phone for when drawing.  Check the previous two posts for more if you haven’t already seen them.


And finally, this wasn’t done on a phone – and I have to say the experience was far more rewarding.  I’m recommending this every single time over eyeballing your phone – be different and leave that to the other 99% of the population.  


But if a phone is all you’ve got to hand and you’re not doing anything then get off the internet, stop scrolling up up up or swiping left and right.  Load up the drawing app and create something original.

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