I just downloaded Nintendo DSiWare Art Academy First Semester for $8. It is a sketching and paint program for Nintendo DSi. The second semester will be out September 28. I'll be looking forward to it.
Having been spoiled with Colors! I'm not too sure about this program. The color mixing is different. I don't like the fact that transparency is related to wetness, which causes the colors to actually bleed! Then again, this isn't Mario Paint. This is Art Academy. When you look at it that way, $8 is cheap compared to paying someone a dollar per hour to teach you how to paint. And it is on that regard, Art Academy is succesful. Good lessons, good paint program.
The program is actually divided into two parts: Lessons and Free Painting. This is great, because it underscores the importance of skill. Too many kids these days think that tool, alone, is sufficient. That's not true! You need to know how to do this. The lessons are well paced, and relevant.
As I've been spoiled by Colors, I kept looking for mistakes to criticize. I couldn't find any! Sure the color mixing is inconvenient, and pencil drawing mode disappears once you get into painting mode, but those are nitpicks. Of the relevant importance is the ability to import pictures from your camera into the program and export them to the album. You have different modes to help you visualize the result. With all these help, you should be knocking out great drawings in no time! What's more, the adherence to reality, instead of digital painting, means that you can carry the skills out to the real world.
The tutorials themselves is filled with historical artists, and explanations of their painting styles. This encourages you to research such topic, either in the library or on the Internet. That can only mean one thing: a well developing talent to spot artistic styles. This is a much better lesson quality than expected. This is better art lesson than what the average student would get with a real teacher.
I especially like the grid inclusion very much, as it allows beginner to have good result immediately. For comparison, check out my pepper drawing, which I did without the grid. It looks positively depressed!
Okay, that one was done in a hurry. In fact, about the only disappointment is that it ends too quickly! I did the whole first semester in one sitting! Ah, well.
Overall, I wholly recomend this program to everybody, but especially to those who wants to draw but can't. Kids will love it, as well. Finally, when you consider that Nintendo DSi now seamlessly integrates with facebook, I think that this is the best thing in art education in a long, long time.