Friday, April 23, 2010


Short Reviews -- Art Academy First Semester

(This is a review I did for the Eegra "Reader Radness" forum, so that explains the different formatting. I'm moving it here for preservation because Eegra seems to be packing up.)

DONE BY: Nintendo
YEAR: 2009

Art Academy: First Semester is an electronic paint set for the DSi. That doesn't mean it's Mario Paint/Microsoft Paint/Photoshop/whatever for the DSi -- it is a simulation of traditional canvas painting.

You start by blocking in your image with pencils. (In fact, you're welcome to do your entire subject as a pencil sketch if you prefer.) Then you mix the colors for your palette from a selection of basic colors. And when you paint, you leave decidedly realistic brush marks on the screen. When you're done, you can export it to the DSi's photo gallery, which in turn can be copied to an SD card, and then you can do just about anything with it. You can place any photo you've taken with the DSi on the top screen to use as a reference, and there's an optional grid tool to help you get the shapes of your subject blocked in correctly.

The program offers some guided instructions to help novices understand some of the basic ideas of painting -- laying down foundation colors, finding shapes, understanding how to capture the light and texture of each surface, and so forth. I have some experience with line art, but I've never practiced much in color. I feel a bit more confident about it now that it's taken me through how to paint a lime.

It's a neat little art toy. If the idea of a pocket-sized tablet tickles you, then it's worth the download.



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