How to Draw - Easy Lessons

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
How to Draw - Easy Lessons App Poster Image
Step-by-step help simple to follow, but app lacks polish.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn three steps for creating images: sketching general shapes and lines, inking final lines, and filling in color from a color wheel. Depending on the mode, kids can re-create the steps and final image from memory (though fine art techniques generally discourage working from memory). Kids will not learn arts terminology or a greater understanding of the steps presented. How to Draw – Easy Lessons falls a bit short in teaching digital sketching of basic images.

Ease of Play

The app is relatively easy to navigate with quick transitions and clear design, except for "A+B" modes in the Android versions of the app.

Violence

Drawing subjects include a gun and tank.

Sex

The Lady in a Black Dress drawing features a woman in a short, short dress posing somewhat suggestively.

Language
Consumerism

The app is free and is ad-supported. You'll see banner ads, and in some versions, full-page ads for the developer's other apps. The Android versions come with about 60 drawings. The iOS version has around 70 free drawings; in-app purchases ($.99 to $5.99) unlock additional drawings. If you have the iOS app you also have the option to get 10 additional free images by exporting a drawing to Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How to Draw - Easy Lessons gives kids drawing demonstrations that can be traced over plus a blank canvas for creating from scratch. The Android versions of the app come with about 60 drawings; the iOS app comes with around 70, and more can be purchased. The images include a gun, a tank, and a short-skirted lady alongside a rabbit, Manga characters, Justin Bieber, and more, without much ethnic diversity and few female or kid images. 

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What's it about?

The main menu offers a vertical list of drawings displaying the number of steps (and difficulty for some in the Android versions). Each drawing has a menu for selecting colors, brush size, erase mode, a clear function (that doesn't always work well), and a save button that overwrites a single file for each drawing that's saved in device files. In the Android app, three work modes give flexibility: A+B=steps and drawing, A=blank canvas for drawing, B=steps only. The iOS app has similar modes that are executed more intuitively.

Is it any good?

In HOW TO DRAW - EASY LESSONS, kids can see sketching, inking, and coloring steps, and, in one mode, kids can trace right over the top of each step and color in at the end. This ability would be great if the lines were a bit smoother, or control was a bit finer (using a stylus may help). On the Android app, kids can't see the steps or images in A mode (really a blank canvas) so they have to recreate them from memory. The iOS app handles this better; you can pop out a window with the steps while you draw on the blank canvas.

The people in the Android version don't reflect any ethnic diversity; the iOS version includes Barack Obama in an upgrade pack, but no obvious diversity beyond that. Neither version is particularly kind to females: There aren't many, and the ones that are there tend to be fairies, princesses, or sexy images (the "lady's face" drawings excepted). And the "Famous People" pack for iOS includes no women at all. There also aren't many images of kids. Though How to Draw - Easy Lessons is a decent attempt, it's not very polished, and after a bit of struggling, your kids might just happily revert to pencil and paper.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Provide your kids an easily accessible variety of art materials plus a place to work.

  • Check out "how to draw" books from the library.

  • Together, view some of the excellent drawing tutorials on YouTube.

App details

For kids who love to create

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