Pokemon Art Academy Review: Here's one we made earlier

Learning to draw like Pika-so, Marill-angelo and Andy Wartortle

Pokemon Art Academy Review Heres one we made earlier
1st August, 2014 By Sarah Morris
Game Info // Pokemon Art Academy
Pokemon Art Academy Boxart
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Headstrong Games
Players: 1
Subtitles: Full
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Other

We've all been there. You try to draw a picture of Pikachu, and it comes out like a weird cross between a bright yellow whale and a blushing rabbit, complete with rather sinister expression. And Bulbasaur? Don't even go there. We could maybe get away with a picture of Jigglypuff from behind, but even that might be a bit of a stretch. Still, we've always wanted to be able to draw half decently. And we are very fond of Pokemon. Therefore, when Pokemon Art Academy was announced, we were unusually excited for what essentially sounded like a glorified paint program with some pictures Pokemon stuck on it. But, as it turns out, Pokemon Art Academy is so much more.

Soon, the game arrived. And we drew. And now we can draw pictures like this:

One of our first attempts at shading.

Somewhat surprisingly, Pokemon Art Academy actually tries to add in a bit of a story and a sprinkling of Pokemon magic to the proceedings. You and your fellow student Lee have just enrolled in the Pokemon Art Academy, where you're training to be an illustrator for Pokemon cards. That's about as far as the story goes, besides the little facts and titbits about the current Pokemon you've chosen to draw - but the plot's kept rolling thanks to the hilariously bad efforts of Lee, a boy (or girl, depending on your own gender) who should probably have never been allowed near a paint brush in the first place. Imagine the kind of picture you'd get if you asked a cat to draw a Pokemon with their feet whilst blindfolded, and you'd be half way there. And besides giving you something to snigger at, Lee is actually a great touch - because no matter how artistically inept you are, you'll never draw as badly as they do. And for that, we're grateful.

Dat Pikachu... (If you say that you're a boy, Lee is replaced by Lilly. Who's just as terrible.)

Under the watchful eye of the never-critical Professor Andy, you'll learn how to draw all your favourite Pokemon - from the obligatory Pikachu, to cutesy characters such as Togepi and Eevee, and new X and Y 'mons like Fennekin and Chespin. Of course, it's unlikely to turn you into the next Monet, but what Pokemon Art Academy does, it does well - with step by step instructions, helpful hints and tips, and a range of professional looking backgrounds, anyone should be able to pass for a pretty good Pokemon illustrator. And therein lies its charm.

Things start off simply, with what boils down to colouring inside the lines in the Starter exercises, where you focus on basic pastel portraits of Pikachu, Piplup and Froakie's mugs. From there, you graduate onto the Novice course, where you learn to draw your own outlines by tracing around some pre-set lines with the Outline Pen. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this tool lets you create varying thicknesses of outlines, but with one funky quirk - lines you draw with this pen lie on a separate layer to your other bits and pieces, meaning that they don't get accidentally erased, should you cock up your colouring in. Each 'lesson' is split into steps, explained by Professor Andy as you go along, and, as long as you follow his instructions fairly closely, you'll end up with a rather impressive result. Then, a number of mini lessons let you hone your skills further, practising what you learned in the main lesson while drawing a number of other Pokemon.

Practising 'hatching' with Fletchling. But not of the egg-sitting-on kind.

Once you get the hang of drawing lines and filling them in with block colours, Pokemon Art Academy starts to get a bit more interesting, and a bit more challenging. Towards the end of the Novice course and the beginning of the Apprentice level, you get introduced to 'construction shapes' - for the uninitiated, these are basic circles and dashed lines to help you place key features of your Pokemon - which you use to create your own outlines, rather than simply tracing them. By giving you a bit more freedom with your designs, it feels a bit less like you're cheating - but the extra freedom can be a bit daunting at first too.

By the end of the Apprentice course, you should be a pretty dab hand with a brush, having learnt to draw from construction shapes and covered the basics of shading. Moving on to the Graduate course, it's more about styles than technical know-how - whether you're doing a smudgy pastel Vulpix, a comic-book style Lapras or a seriously fancy looking Charizard. Each 'mon here needs to be drawn from scratch, right from making your own construction shapes, and the end result is enough to make even the least confident artist feel decidedly chuffed.

GIANT VULPIX.

Of course, Pokemon Art Academy isn't going to turn you into the next Van Gogh - all it does is provide you with a Pokemon-shaped vehicle for improving your drawing skills. But for any artistically inclined Pokefans, it's likely a dream come true.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS

StarStarStarStarEmpty star
Puts Smeargle to shame
  • +
    Good selection of Pokemon to draw
  • +
    Fairly fool-proof lessons
  • +
    Lee and his stellar art skills
  • -
    May move on too quickly for some
  • -
    Lessons limited to just drawing Pokemon
  • -
    Needs more Magikarp
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