As a complement to my introductory article on the  Nintendo DSi XL , I wished to publish my first creations in support of the superb little application Art Academy: First Semester.  The early lessons cover the basics of drawing and painting in such a way that you don’t realise Vince (the art tutor) is introducing a little more complexity as you go along. After each lesson, the software includes some supplementary lessons so you can practice a bit more, and of course you can use the added functionality to draw and paint in your own studio space, i.e. blank canvas, clean palette and no Vince looking over your shoulder!

Stylus pencil drawings

So here goes, my first pencil drawing using the stylus and touchscreen instead of pencil and paper!  This little creation was developed during one of the early lessons on how to build up a pencil drawing from outline through to shading, cross-hatching and highlighting.

Pear (pencil drawing using Art Academy software for the Nintendo DSi XL Art)

The supplementary lesson provides you with an opportunity to practice what you learned with the pear exercise, but this time the output is a pepper.

Pepper (pencil drawing using Art Academy software for the Nintendo DSi XL)

I used the grid function that comes with the software for both drawings, and I also took hardcopy notes as I went along to reference later.

Whilst on my holiday, I decided it was time to enter the ‘studio’ without Vince directing me, so I used the in-built camera software to take a photo of an object to use for a still-life pencil study.

Photograph of teapot

Then, in Art Academy I opened the photograph from the Album.  Before starting the drawing I also added the grid and opened my hardcopy notes as a reminder of what to do next!

Teapot (pencil drawing using Art Academy software for Nintendo DSi XL)

If anyone from Nintendo is reading this article, I would love an extended range of pencils in the software, and perhaps even a charcoal and pastels range…!!  But for now I’ll enjoy what I’ve got and keep practicing!

Stylus paintings

Painting with a stylus is not quite the same experience as the real thing!  The use of the palette, mixers, brush types and strokes, canvas and papers, etc. in the physical world cannot be compared with the virtual one, so it’s easier to think of the paint function in Art Academy as a unique entity altogether.

One of the earlier lessons in painting introduces you to a lime, that is, a still-life of a halved lime.  My output from this lesson is shown here:

Halved Lime (painted using Art Academy software for Nintendo DSi XL)

I found this quite challenging. You start this painting by first creating an outline in pencil (as learned in the earlier pencil drawing lessons) and then using paint you ‘block in’ the shadows, base colours and background. Then you add texture, shading and highlighting. Again, I took hardcopy notes during the lesson so I could reference them later.

The supplementary lesson takes you through another still-life; this time its apples and peaches… again, I found this very challenging (and fun!) to do and completed it over a few days during breaktimes and standing in Town Hall queues. The skin texture of the peaches are trickier than the apple and I used the full breadth of the palette provided to complete them.  For the background I decided to have a blurred laced/linen sort of affect!

Apple and Peaches (painted using Art Academy for Nintendo DSi XL)

And after these attempts, I decide it was time to enter the studio without Vince!  I opted for a simple still-life arrangement of vegetables from my own parlour whilst self-catering on holiday.  I took a photo of the vegetables using the in-built camera function and saved it to the Album.

Photo of Mixed Vegetables

Then I opened the photo in Art Academy and applied the grid. Of course in the ‘studio’ you have to create your own palette from scratch, select your brushes and apply paint thinner as you require. To create each individual colour for my palette (I created 8 mixed colours), I used the function to pipette select a colour from the photo and colour matched it against the colour wheel; you can build up each individual colour from the paint tubes (hues and tones are achieved in the same way.)

As explained for the Halved Lime, I started off with a pencil outline, then used paint to ‘block in’ the shadows, base colours and background, and then worked on texture, shading and highlighting. Knowing when to stop working on your painting is probably the hardest decision to make!

Mixed Vegetables (painted using Art Academy software for Nintendo DSi XL)

What is refreshing is not worrying about the palette drying up and spilling the thinners all over your work!

Originally published: Saturday, July 10th, 2010 at 02:35 in Atelier, Inspiration


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8 Responses to “Nintendo Stylus in Hand!”

  1. Hypersext says:

    Amazing that you can achieve such effects from a little Nintendo DSi!

    Excellent artwork, by the way. You should post more! 🙂

    • BP says:

      Thanks Hypersext, I realised I hadn’t responded to your comment so will do now! The Nintendo DSi XL is a really good platform for artwork apps like Art Academy. It doesn’t take too long to adapt to the ‘canvas’ and ‘stylus’ and the results are always pretty interesting, whatever you set out to do! Let me know if you produce any artwork using it 🙂

  2. tom says:

    i’ve bought art acedemy myself and i have a question,
    i wondert how u managed to get your artwork on the computer, because i want to print my artwork.
    i really appericiate it if u can help me.

    Tom Verkerk from Holland

    • Hi Tom, this is pretty straightforward if you have a spare SD card – I use SanDisk SDHC Secure Digital Card cards, purchased from Amazon. I will also assume you know how to save your artwork to the Album, as directed by Vince in Art Academy! You simply pop the SD card into your DSi, and open the Camera application from the DSi menu. Select ‘Options’, and you will be presented with a few options to exchange, copy and delete data. Select ‘Copy’. Then you choose ‘Copy from system to SD Card’. Then you’re asked if you want to copy photos or frames – choose ‘Photos’. From here, you can select your artwork individually or just copy everything. Once you’ve made your selection, select ‘Copy’ and confirm it, and Voila! The artwork is on your SD Card.

      To get the artwork from the SD Card you can either use a digital camera and download it to your PC (assuming you own one), or you can use an SD Card Reader (I have one of these) – sometimes PCs and laptops also come with in-built Card Readers. Once you have the image files on your PC then you can use GIMP or other graphics software to crop / resize the image to for your website, or print it out as you desire.

      I hope this helps! And Good luck with your artwork!!

      • Josette says:


        I tried to follow your steps to download my art pictures to the sd card, but there is no images. There are in my galery in my art academy program not in the camera program.
        Also I went on google and ask and everybody say that if it is an original game you can’t download.. Is that true?
        Please be kind and help me I’m real desesperated!

        Kinds regards

        • Hi Josette,
          When you have finished your piece of artwork in Art Academy you must click the button ‘Exhibit in Album’ from inside the Art Academy menu (simply click the question mark icon to see this menu). The ‘Exhibit in Album’ will transfer a copy of your image from Art Academy to the DSi Camera program. Once you’ve done this, close Art Academy and open the DSi Camera program to view your Album. You should see your artwork in there now. You can continue to follow the instructions I gave Tom above to transfer the artwork from the Album to your SD card. Good luck!
          TIP: Once I’ve finished a piece of artwork in Art Academy, I always transfer a copy of it by using ‘Exhibit in Album’, so that I can access it later if I want. It’s also a good way of showing folks my portfolio of work 🙂

  3. Julia says:

    wow this work is truly amazing – you are an uber talented painter ;-))) My apples and pears look nothing like yours – well done!! xxx

    • Thanks Jude1313! I don’t think your drawings are supposed to look like anyone elses…. we’re all rather unique unless your name is Dolly!! It’s interesting to look at drawings of the same ‘image’ and be amazed at how it’s replicated through our individual minds and hands – check out for an example of this. If you’ve published your images, send me the link!


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