Humans are known for having very active imaginations. Our mental ability to be able to build and create is unmatched by all other living things in the world; even other creatures that are known for having great building abilities, such as spiders and ants. From an early age, we show evidence of our natural passion to imagine and create. It’s a very common sight to see children grabbing crayons and pencils and scribbling what’s going on in their minds to the best of their ability. It’s encouraged, as it teaches them proper mental-mobility, an urge to be neat, and allows them to express what’s going on in their little but powerful minds. That’s something we all possess, even those of us who consider ourselves to be ‘dull’ and/or ‘thoughtless’.

Now you’ve grown up and chances are you no longer tend to grab a scrap of paper and start drawing (well, unless you’re bored). Even so, that doesn’t mean that your ability to draw and create is no longer there. Some people insist that they can’t draw at all, while others admit that they can make a mean set of stick figures and some basic 2D environments, but their skillset ends there. Then we have the gifted ones who make us cry with their level of drawing ability.

Regardless of what category you put yourself under, Art Academy encourages you to tap into your inner artist, and let your colors fly. Nintendo first introduced us to the series on Wii U with a smaller version called Sketchpad. This micro-version gave you the bare essentials, yet even so, hundreds of players showed off their skills on Miiverse. That’s so impressive, it makes you wonder what level of dark magic is required to create something so perfect with nothing but a set of virtual tools and a plastic stick, rubbing and tapping against a 6-inch touchscreen.

With the full version, not only do you get access to a variety of different tools, but you also get full lessons which are easy-to-follow guides to creating (your own version of) very well-done drawings. In addition, the full version also gives you access to your own personal interactive-3D gallery. The gallery allows you to walk around in a first-person view, and observe your different pieces as if you had your own real-life studio. There’s also an art-wall that allows all of the users on that specific console to draw on, and it will be displayed on each profile.

Just like in Sketchpad you can also go ahead and share your drawings on Miiverse. Unless you’re an undisputable pro, prepare to feel incredibly sorry for yourself when you see the hundreds of other drawings that are good enough to make you give up on doing it entirely or just cut off your fingers; whichever comes first. As an added bonus, you can also save your creations to an SD card, making file-sharing all the more easier.

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Seeing that I spent 3 years doing graphic-design in high school, I can honestly say that Art Academy has really allowed me to further push my newly-discovered passion for the activity. Drawing isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but neither is it truly as difficult as some make it out to be. Prior to be my 3-year course, the most I thought I could do was draw stick figures, but after a few weeks I found out just how easy it was to do certain things that before I thought would be next to impossible for me to do.

Art Academy doesn’t feel exactly like a having a physical paper/canvas in front of you, but it gets the job done. Whether you decide to use it to produce an actual project or as something to kill time, it’s bound to keep you occupied. The inclusion of the Lessons is amazing, giving even novice drawers a feel for the different tools, and allowing them to slowly unlock their potential. For you professionals, the program features a huge variety of tools that are bound to give you more than enough that’s necessary to create your virtual masterpiece. Pastels, pencils, paint; whatever you’re feeling like, you can use.

Seeing that this is a program after all, there are some added benefits that you can’t have in real world, like an un-do and re-do feature, an gridline display toggle, and of course, materials that never run out or fade out. You can also display subject pieces on the TV screen, so you can constantly keep drawing from observation. You can also ‘fix’ (lock) your drawings at any given time, which is perfect when you want to shade in the picture, but don’t want to accidentally erase the outline should you make a mistake.

In the end, Art Academy is certainly an amazing program for any artist regardless of their skill level. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’re bound to enjoy the robust set of features that it has to offer. This is a huge upgrade from Sketchpad, so if you loved the micro-version, then you’re more than likely going to fall in love with this. Keep in mind that you also get a $4 discount on your purchase if you previously bought the basic version, which should give you a good incentive to sink your teeth in.

See you on the Miiverse page, and remember, prepare to cry!

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.

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