Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone Game Poster Image
Outstanding painting software can make anyone an artist.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about painting, drawing, and the history of art in this compelling set of interactive lessons. Kids will learn how to grid a subject for better accuracy, the order in which to apply colors to paintings, how to select brushes and mix colors, and how to blend colors to create authentic gradients. They'll also be provided facts about the history of the medium and those who influenced it, including famed artists like van Gogh and Monet. Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone is meant to teach art and does a terrific job of introducing kids to and getting them to practice established techniques.

Positive Messages

This game encourages an enthusiasm and love of art and creation. It helps kids to grow their drawing and painting skills, and prompts players to be proud in their work, sharing it with friends and family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game's instructor is a kindly old man who offers useful information and encouragement throughout each lesson. He's a fine example of a passionate teacher.

Ease of Play

Lessons take players through the creation process step by step. The instructor demonstrates what to do before passing the canvas over to the player. Necessary brushes, colors, and tools are highlighted, ensuring players are never confused as to what should be selected. Works of art aren't judged, so players need never fear failing or receiving negative feedback.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone isn't a game so much as a piece of interactive education software that teaches kids (and maybe adults, too) the basics of drawing and painting. It provides detailed, step-by-step instructions that lead users through the creation of still-life and portraiture works, introducing various techniques and tools along the way. There's no way to fail, so kids should never feel discouraged. Note, though, that younger kids may struggle with some of the concepts and instructions.

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What's it about?

ART ACADEMY: LESSONS FOR EVERYONE is the follow-up to Art Academy, a hit DS art instruction experience. Referring to these pieces of software as "games" doesn't really make sense; they're more like interactive painting and drawing tutorials. Kids' only objective is to follow the directions of a helpful instructor who provides guidance and demonstrations in the creation of realistic still-life renderings of everyday objects like fruits, flowers, fabric, pitchers, and people. He provides a wealth of information regarding techniques as well as little factoids about the history of art and famous artists from years past. Kids can save and mount their works for display in a virtual 3D gallery, then share them with friends.

Is it any good?

Interactive art instruction on a mobile device has rarely been so helpful, informative, or engaging. With nearly 20 lessons -- many of which will take ambitious artists an hour or more to complete -- it's almost like taking a real course in painting and drawing. The reward comes when, after working through most of the lessons and freely playing about on your own canvas, you put on your own art show and wander around the gallery from room to room admiring framed works that you created from scratch.

Just remember that while the techniques Art Academy espouses can be transferred to the real world, tasks like blending and color mixing can be a lot trickier when working with real materials. That said, you'll still learn a lot, create some great looking digital art, and have plenty of fun in the process.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about art appreciation. What kind of art appeals to you? Do you prefer photo-realistic renderings, or more abstract creations? Do you think one's artistic ability should affect their interest in art?

  • Families can also discuss the process of creation. How does the act of creating a work of art make you feel? Are you a perfectionist? How do you know when you're finished?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Subjects: Arts: drawing, painting
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: October 7, 2012
  • Genre: Art
  • Topics: Arts and Dance
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love creating things

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