Mobile phone drawing – no excuses!!

No excuses for you that is…

A majority of people these days have smartphones, indeed I’d imagine that many viewing this webpage will be doing so on a smartphone.

Well, one of the much unused features on a smartphone is that you can create a drawing wherever you are at any time.

This blog is all about encouraging everyone to draw, part of that is to remove the “blockers” – “I don’t have time”, “I can’t draw”, “I haven’t got a pen”, “I haven’t got any paper”, “I haven’t got any fingers”.  Well, aside from the last one those excuses can be pushed aside as all you need is your phone, your finger and maybe an app, which is also free by the way.

What’s that? Haven’t got the time? Well stop reading this then. My waffling is taking away your valuable time that could be spent on drawing :o)
There are plenty of apps available, I won’t be able to make any product comparisons as I’ve only used the one. It’s called Autodesk Sketchbook and seems pretty decent, possibly the market leader in the field of phone drawing. 

Is it real drawing? Well it’s never going to match the tactility of the experience of making marks on paper. 

But… I have some self imposed rules to ensure it’s as authentic as possible;

  • Don’t “undo”, if you make a wrong mark then use the erase tool. There’s no undo in real life. One exception is that sometimes you can mistakenly catch the screen or some other technical issue.
  • Don’t draw over the top of a photo or someone else’s drawing and try to pass it off as your own. Being able to have layers is very useful but tracing is tracing. Nothing wrong with tracing but you’re only cheating yourself and your own progress if you think you are creating an original artwork. Another exception though, see below…
  • Try and stick to the basic tools, there are loads of fancy effects – fine if you want to make a pretty patterns easily but ask yourself “could I do this the same with a pencil or a brush?”. Be true to yourself remember…

 That’s all – and I think you can see the general theme. Using the zoom controls for instance is fine as otherwise it’ll be like finger painting on a post-it note size piece of paper. 

Here’s one of those exceptions, I traced the original to do some playing around with the composition. 

Here’s a doodle which maybe I cheated on. I used a symmetry tool so only did one side and then the background after. Is that cheating?  Hmmmm… let me know… 

Some more… 

This one I started whilst on a boat looking towards Westminster Bridge. I ran out of time so I took a photo and did the details later, which I’ve done plenty of times with ‘real’ mark making. 

Note that this post is all about drawing on the phone. 

I haven’t drawn on a tablet, an ipad or on a PC with one of those styluses, that looks like a good thing to try at some point. I’d just rather get down and dirty with the charcoal for the time being. 

More of these digital drawings in the next post… 


  1. First let’s just say you’re very talented.
    Now some real business. I generally do not consider commenting on art process, but this I need to say. If you can use grid method to paint on canvas or division of space to get a composition right, similarly tracing doesn’t change the fact that you are creating something. And in case, you believe that I use a lot of tracing, I don’t but this is one I’ve never understood. Creativity is creativity, there aren’t any laws for scribbling a line. Though I do agree with this point, “Don’t draw over the top of a photo or someone else’s drawing and try to pass it off as your own.”
    This isn’t a criticism comment, I’m simply stating my point.


    • Yep, I agree with your point entirely. I did say there’s nothing wrong with tracing.
      It was really regarding tracing over another image and then thinking “looks amazing, I’m doing well at this”.
      I wanted to push the point that you’ll develop your own skills far more by creating your own original marks by observation alone and the end result will be more true to yourself. Perhaps I could’ve worded it better.
      Andy Warhol had created works of art using tracing as the method. The lines he chose to replicate were the “artists choice” and thus how they were differentiated from something anyone else would’ve easily produced. So yeah, nothing against tracing at all.
      Thanks for your comment 👍🏻

      Liked by 1 person

      • ON that front we completely agree. The point is about giving your essence to something. That is the part which gives you true satisfaction. Simply copying over a photo won’t do that.
        I must say your sketches, they are brilliant work by you. 🙂


      • Thank you 😊
        I’ve just had a quick look at yours and they’re great. Particularly the portraits in ink with hatching, I’m going to come back to take a proper look when I’ve got more time – excellent 😀👍🏻

        Liked by 1 person

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