Drawing Cartoons

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Drawing Cartoons App Poster Image
Some violent imagery in stop-motion animation app.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to create cartoons with the tools provided -- a sequence of images viewed one after the other to create the illusion of movement (distinct action comic panels are also possible). Kids can practice language skills if they decide to use captions in their creations including presenting to others and storytelling. Drawing Cartoons offers kids a unique opportunity to create cartoon animations, but the violent content muddies its potential.

Ease of Play

The name of the app is somewhat confusing, and navigation isn't very intuitive. You'll need an additional plug-in app to edit and export videos.

Violence

Two demos out of four are about fighting: One is a short stick-figure brawl; in another a Chuck Norris bobble-head throws a ninja star in the face of a stick figure brandishing an automatic weapon. Of five item sets, one has a weapons category with eight items, including a machine gun, yet geometry has one, lonely rectangle. The effects category has a heart, explosion, and blood. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

You can make in-app purchases to get an "item editor" alone, or "all" including item editor, all items and scenes, and the ability to create your own backgrounds. Without this purchase, you can create new items but not save them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Drawing Cartoons has some powerful basic functionality to create stop-action animations but some awkward rough edges as well. Kids can select from a small library of premade "items" with lots of control points changing positions in each frame to create the appearance of continuous action. Many of the items are violent in nature, including deadly and automatic weapons, and users are constantly asked to make a purchase to access full functionality.

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What's it about?

Kids select from five "item" categories from the main menu, which then puts them into the workspace with those items then available from the person icon. Clear icons here prompt users to create or delete frames, undo, select "items," run an animation, or edit or export "videos" using plug-in functionality. From the main menu, a cryptic "upload" button loads saved "scenes" (four demos available).

Is it any good?

Drawing Cartoons is a unique app that lets kids create and export their own stop action videos in mp4 format. Kids can alter existing figures ("items") by moving and rotating "skeleton" parts in sequential frames to create a sense of movement. After VideoPlugin4 Animating Touch app installation (also free) the export function works to generate an mp4 file and allows kids to edit "scene" backgrounds, size, speed, or to add audio.

On the downside, many items are violent, and kids might spend a lot of time creating a new item only to find they cannot save it without an in-app purchase. Device-based navigation and icons are on the cryptic and clunky side. Finally, the actual names of the app and its features seem to be constantly shifting: Is the app called Drawing Cartoons or Animating Touch? Are they comics or cartoons or films or scenes? With some thoughtful redesign, this app would be super easy as well as fun and powerful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Find some resources on the history of cartoons and claymation for your kid.

  • Agree to attend a viewing offering up constructive criticism only if asked.

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
  • Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
    Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
    Creativity: imagination, producing new content
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: March 7, 2013
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 0.00 MB
  • Publisher: Zalivka Mobile
  • Version: varies with device
  • Minimum software requirements: varies with device

For kids who love creating

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