As a student, I always picked foreign language over art when choosing electives, and when it was time to select an extracurricular activity, I opted for the football team over the painting club. I don’t regret those choices. The language skills have come in handy living and working overseas, and while it’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to use any football techniques, it’s nice to have the knowledge, since you never know when you might suddenly need to tackle a tailback.
However, this means I can’t draw to save my life. Sure, I suppose I could start at the beginning by putting a basket of fruit on my kitchen table and trying to sketch it, but honestly, I could use a little more direction, not to mention a more exciting subject matter that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat before finishing my drawing.
Thankfully, Nintendo is here to help with a new 3DS game that teaches players how to draw pokémon.
Since the ostensible result is that you’ll eventually be able to produce cool artwork of your own, there’s also a free painting mode, but the main attraction to the game, called Pokémon Art Academy, is its more than 40 lessons in how to draw the adorable fighting monsters. The large number allows for lessons ranging from beginning to advanced difficulties, starting with tasks as simple as tracing over outlines.
Once you’ve got the basic frame done, other lessons give instructions for adding color.
If the straight-ahead angle of the above drawing is too simple, Pokémon Art Academy also includes more dynamic perspectives.
Since so many pokémon are chubby or even spherical in build, the proper application of shadows and light sources are also covered.
Making full use of the array of pens, paints, and sprays available eventually allows for some incredibly detailed creations.
The video game-based approach also has a few advantages over working with ordinary pen and paper. For one thing, there’s an “undo” function that saves you the trouble of busting out an eraser to get rid of errant pencil strokes (or from starting over entirely if you’re working with ink or paint).
The game even acts as a handy reference book, with illustrations of over 100 different pokémon that can be loaded into the top screen as you work on the bottom.
If you’re the kind of person who’s in the market for a Pokémon art game, odds are you already own one or two pieces of Pokémon merchandise. By utilizing the 3DS’s built in camera, you can take a shot of whatever you’re looking to reproduce and use that as a model instead.
One of the coolest touches is the appearance drawings take on when they’re saved and put into an album, as your artwork becomes a pokémon card. Copies can be sent wirelessly to friends or uploaded to the Miiverse.
One could even make the argument that with so much commercial artwork now being produced with a stylus on an electronic graphic tablet, Pokémon Art Academy is an even better way to learn to draw than by using physical media. As a concession to creative types who are soothed by the sound of a pen scratching on paper, Nintendo has even added sound effects when in-game lines are drawn or paint is sprayed, judging from the video.
Pokémon Art Academy is set for both physical and download release on June 19, with a price of 3,619 yen (US$35.50).