Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nintendo Art Academy

Recently, I was asked to try the new software called Art Academy for the Nintendo DS family of systems. As an artist I always carry around a small sketchbook with me at all times. I was excited to see the similar and portable size the Nintendo DSi XL was to my own sketchbook and mini-watercolor set. The fact that Art Academy combined drawing and painting into the portable Nintendo DSi XL solved my problems of lugging around all my supplies. I travel everyday by subway and train so the Nintendo DSi XL is perfect and portable for anyone to take with them on the go. For example, this past weekend a kid sitting next to me on the subway asked me about what I was using on my Nintendo DSi XL to draw so I showed him Art Academy before I got off at my next stop.

There are two sections to Art Academy which are the lessons and the free paint mode. I was eager to start drawing and painting and jumped right into the free paint mode immediately. The stylus acts as both your pencil and brush. There are different types of pencils, two erasers, and an upright position and sideways pencil position. I was pleased to see my favorite pencil HB was there to use! The effects were similar a real pencil. After drawing I could switch to the free paint mode and pick from a variety of paintbrush sizes and mix the paints on a palette. This was great because I could achieve many different effects such as a more flat look, impressionistic, watercolor, pastel look, and more.

Another feature included is the camera tool. The Nintendo DSi XL has two screens so you can take a photo and use it as a reference while you create your art. I find this helpful because If I start a drawing or painting and don’t always have time to finish it so I can have the photo there for later reference. For example I took some photographs the other day of antique Mexican masks that were in a restaurant that inspired me. I took my photos and worked on my drawing later using Art Academy.

I was impressed with how easy it was to understand the software and be able to figure out the free paint mode on my own. Art Academy makes drawing and painting more accessible to someone who has none or little experience. Or someone who has an art background can easily draw and paint the same as before. The art lessons provide valuable insight and tips for creating art if you have never taken formal art classes.

Nintendo hosted an event at the Whitney Museum of American Art last week so people could try out Art Academy early. I chatted with many non-artists as well as experienced artists who were trying out Art Academy for the first time. There was intense concentration in the Gallery that evening while people focused on creating their very own artwork on the Nintendo DSi XL. I left feeling excited that Art Academy had gotten more people interested in drawing and painting and find their creative side.

Stay tuned for more about Art Academy.

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