Cell Phones Can Improve Our Art

Thanks to technology we can use our cell phones to improve our art by treating it as a third eye when looking at our artwork.

How many times have you looked at one of your finished paintings or drawings only to notice glaring errors in them that you totally missed before?

It’s a common issue with all artists. We get so caught up in the creative process that it’s hard for us to separate ourselves from it enough to see it as a whole.

Sometimes I find myself wanting to see my work through someone else’s eyes. Now with some ubiquitous technology we can all do just that! We can easily and quickly remove all connection with our art and see it through a digital eye.

Before there were cell phones or even cameras artists were using all kinds of methods to separate their brain from their work.

Claude Glass

Before doing this post I thought it was called a Titian glass, but after some research Wikipedia has educated me a bit more.

This is basically a piece of glass that has been covered with soot on one side. The artist will turn away from their painting and reflect it in the glass to simplify the values and composition. Which aided in correcting the values or drawing.


A very easy way to disconnect yourself from your work is to just turn it upside down. I like this Fine Art Tips post about it.

Although this has never really worked well for me I still feel it is a good way to look at the larger shapes of your composition and possibly to point out the larger errors.

Cell Phone

We can use our phones not for just distraction and time wasting. We can use cell phones to improve our art by simply looking at our artwork through them.

Years ago I would take photos of all my work with a cell phone before posting on my website. I didn’t have the money then for a nice camera, and I didn’t know all the distortion and glare problems inherit with a cell phone.

Through this practice though I learned that this was by far the best way to separate myself from my work and see all the issues in an instant.

Not only does the digital eye remove your brain from the work, but it also makes the image smaller and forces you to look at it from a distance. With this technique I’ve been able to correct tons of errors in my paintings and drawings before calling them “finished”.

Another bonus is that most cell phones now have a setting so that the screens are always black and white. I do this all the time to help keep my phone from distracting me. This makes it even easier to check values for your paintings, especially when dealing with colors that are high chroma.

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