Grace Mendez Mixed Media

ValueViewer App to Improve Art

My favorite way to improve my art is to use the ValueViewer app.

Have you ever made a piece of artwork and known that something is not quite right but you can’t figure out what it is?

I rely on books, online workshops, in person workshops, looking at artwork in person, and lots of practice to get better. And I also use an app for my iPhone called ValueViewer.

Many times I rely on the squint process where you look at your work and squint your eyes to get an overall view of the image. That helps somewhat, but it also advances the wrinkling of the face, which I do not recommend.

Instead, I like using the “Gray” feature in ValueViewer that turns your image into various tones of black, white and all the grays in-between. There are lots of features in the app, but that tool is the one that I rely on the most. It informs me where I could add more contrast. Contrast is most likely where I have not gone far enough in my art work. It’s usually the one thing that makes the difference in my work.

After all the money that I have spent on books and workshops, the $4.99 for the ValueViewer app is the best value for the money that I have ever spent.

It is like having a personal tutor right there with me to point out how I can improve. When I was going to the university for my art degree, my painting and mural teacher, who is super talented, would say, “Go paint!” Well, that can only take you so far. If there is no one to tell you how to improve, then it’s harder to get better. Her hands off approach worked really well for me back then because I felt so vulnerable working in 2-D.

The shift in the before and after images below may not be as apparent in the color versions, but they really show up in the “gray” versions.


Grace Mendez Before ValueViewer app
Before – The hair doesn’t have much contrast to the background.

Grace Mendez Color Before


Grace Mendez After ValueViewer App
I added a more paint and in a different color to add more contrast between the hair and the background.

Grace Mendez Mixed Media

The ValueViewer app works great for me and I hope you will give it a try if you feel like there is something off but you can’t quite figure out what it may be.

Do you have any art making apps that have made a big difference in your work? Please share them below.