On Tuesday, October 19, Nintendo brought on over Art Academy for the Nintendo DS family of systems to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. With Art Academy, they also brought with them children’s illustrator and artist Diana Schoenbrun. For someone who is not artistically gifted (me), this event was the perfect opportunity to learn simple tricks and techniques. Once arriving on the 5th floor, the fun got underway.
Upon arrival, attendees were told to draw an apple as best we can. Here is my apple before taking lessons in Art Academy. I like it. I think I did a pretty good job. Maybe I was better than I thought.
After drawing apples, DSi XL’s loaded up with the Art Academy were passed out. The folks at Nintendo gave a quick run-through of the game, and then all were encouraged to take the first 3 tutorial lessons in the game. Pictured above is the third lesson. The one on the bottom is mine. You can make fun of me all you want, but I think it’s pretty alright. The game actually works pretty well. It’s not anything close to what it looks like; a glorified Pictochat. The in-game pencils and brushes work closer to the real thing than you would think.
Diana Schoenbrun, known for works such as Beasties: How to Make 22 Mischievous Monsters That Go Bump in the Night, was also at hand to guide us through the world of Art Academy. Schoebrun, who has used the real-life counterparts of tools featured in Art Academy, says that the transition to the game was an easy one. She shares that the tools used had the same effects as they would when working on some of her projects. When asked about what this game means for gamers who may not necessarily be into art, she responded:
“It is a new way for them to try [art], and it may start by drawing some of their favorite Nintendo characters.”
After an evening of drawing and sketching, I still think my original apple looks better! I’m just stubborn that way. When the event came to an end, everyone was sent home with a copy of the game (thank you, Nintendo!), and the skills to draw, not only an apple, but a sunset over the ocean and a tree. Awesome.