A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Art Academy is more than just a video game, it is a fun art tutorial. Following these lessons can genuinely help kids learn about creating art. These are not dumbed-down, oversimplified lessons, though. Everything is thoroughly explained and every technique is demonstrated clearly, but very young kids may find the textual lessons over their heads.
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What's it about?
In 10 somewhat lengthy lessons (plus a number of quicker mini-lessons), Art Academy can make you a better artist. Starting with the basics of line drawing and moving on to shading, mixing colors, and everything in between, your virtual tutor, Vince (a Leonardo Da Vinci look-alike), not only tells you how to hone your artistic skills, he also demonstrates, stroke for stroke, how to do everything. Once you've got all the various techniques under your belt, you can create art as you wish -- and then save pictures to your gallery, adorned by the frame of your choice.
Is it any good?
What makes Art Academy such a wonderfully helpful tool is the way it not only tells you what to do, but shows you. After Vince explains how to use intersecting lines to create cross-hatch shading, you get to watch -- in close-up -- exactly how his brush or pencil moves to create those intersecting lines. The game might not be able to make you a great artist, but if you truly pay attention and follow these lessons, you can't help but learn a few things along the way. The tools all work wonderfully, and in very realistic manners. You can choose from multiple different brushes and pencils and even choose to hold a pencil at different angles. The amount of paint coming off a brush will decrease until you "re-dip" and start a new stroke. The DS screen makes for a very tiny canvas, but Art Academy doesn't intend for you to work only in this virtual format -- the game actually tells you to take what you've learned and use it in real life.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Subjects: Arts: drawing, painting
- Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, making new creations
Self-Direction: effort, self-assessment, self-reflection
- Price: $19.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: October 25, 2010
- Genre: Art
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
- Last updated: August 30, 2016
For kids who love to be creative
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.