Nintendo DS has a great thing that teaches you to draw/paint called Art Academy. It is really awe inspiring. Though I don’t own a Nintendo DS. It got me thinking… I do own a graphics tablet that I never use, perhaps there’s some PC software that is similar?
I found this program called Sketch Studio. It’s probably not quite as elaborate as Art Academy, but it is a free download so it’s a great starting point.
It is essentially a small drawing program that gives you the ability to draw and smudge colour to produce images. (The software’s use of a pencil as drawing implement and tortillion to blur and shade was comforting to me since it was how I learnt to draw from Lee Hammond’s DVD.) But more than that it gives you step-by-step drawing instruction, showing you how to produce images similar to their samples.
I’m sure you can probably guess but my attempt is the one on the left.
Despite the tutorial indicating at times to use very fine lines I couldn’t find a way of doing this in the software. Also, drawing with a graphics tablet is harder than I remembered (one supposes that’s the reason it’s been sitting in the drawer for so long).
Once you’ve finished your drawing – either based on one of the sample exercises or your own freestyle creation – you can have the computer play it back to you (repeating the steps you took to produce it right in front of your eyes) or save as an image file in many formats including JPEG and Bitmap. You can also download additional software to turn your drawings into a screensaver.
Sketch Studio is a fun and free download for Windows that is a great introduction to drawing by computer. While other programs I found gave instruction about line drawing, only Sketch Studio showed users how to use colour and how to build up drawings with a sense of dimension. While Sketch Studio is not really a replacement for a dedicated graphics program like The Gimp, the tutorials alone make it a worthy piece of software for any budding artists out there.