Art Academy

Common Sense Media says

Thorough, fun lessons will genuinely help your art.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game teaches kids to be artistic and to have faith in their abilities. Once you learn the basic tools and techniques, where you go from there is all up to your imagination.

Positive role models

Vince, your virtual art tutor, is not only a knowledgeable teacher, he is also very supportive mentor who speaks as though he believes in your talent and trusts that you'll be able to create beautiful things.

Ease of play

The abilities to switch tools, mix colors, and so forth are all quite easy to handle. The lessons themselves are quite thorough and every technique is clearly demonstrated. The virtual teacher doesn't dumb himself down, though, which may make true understanding of the lessons a bit tough for younger children.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • drawing
  • painting

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • self-assessment
  • self-reflection
  • effort

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology
  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • drawing
  • painting

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • self-assessment
  • self-reflection
  • effort

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology
  • digital creation

Kids can pick up a great deal of in-depth knowledge and expert tips about creating quality artwork. This is not so much a game as it is a virtual art course. Through 10 incredibly detailed lessons (and several mini-lessons in between), kids can learn about sketching and painting techniques such as shading, adding perspective, color mixing, and much more. During lessons, kids are introduced to famous artists and the techniques associated with them. Not really a game, Art Academy feels like what you'd expect from a beginners' course at a real-world art school. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Christopher Healy

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the value of art. Why do we need art in the world? In what ways does art make the world a better place? Can you imagine a world without art?

  • What kind of things do you like to draw and paint? Ask kids their reasoning behind the pictures they make.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:October 25, 2010
Genre:Art
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Art Academy was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck October 31, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

A fantastic art instructor WILL help you with art.

I was never a great artist, until I saw this game.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byLivCrayola4Ever May 1, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

If you are a die-hard gamer, this is NOT for you!!!

I bought this game recently for a long car trip, and I, as a 14-year-old that it is EPIC (in my own way)!!! I still play on the Metallic Rose-colored Nintendo DS Lite that my mom bought for me at the local Walmart the day after I got out of the sixth grade, so I don't have the ability of the camera that is included in the DSi/XL/3DS, but it's not the end of the world. (I honestly don't care). I like the fact that you can use the free paint and create whatever you feel like, but the only disadvantage is that once you switch from pencil to paints, you CANNOT switch back to pencil (which is a piece of advice for people who are complaining that they can't swich back to pencil once they go to paint without starting over or saving the current painting. But, I've done the same thing in art class). And, this would make an excelent Wii game. MY FAVORITE!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written bykmillsma April 17, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

fabulous for learning to draw and paint

My 10 year old loves playing this game and has picked up many great tips she now uses in her own art.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action