Apps can do anything now. The slogan “there’s an app for that” comes to mind (but it seems so dated now, a sentiment not even worth expressing).
When I got back to the US and bought a fancy new phone, I could download apps without worrying about how much storage space I had left. Naturally I sought art apps.
Some came pre-installed in my flashy-but-ill-fated Note 7, photoshop-esque apps with digital brushes and photo filters. But I wondered if there was an app that would help me practice art skills or help me out of a slump. The answer is, of course!
Ta-Da! An Art App
I’ve actually found surprisingly few of these apps that I like, but one I’ve been using is called Canvas Tutor. It’s touted as an “art trainer” app, was created to help artists practice, and has a fun approach to keeping you motivated.
The main component of the app is a virtual girl who grows as you do more art. Completing art “quests” regularly will cause the girl to grow up, while not doing any practice for days will make her revert back to a younger self. Oh no!
How It Works
Canvas Tutor incorporates both the carrot and the stick. Continuing to keep up with assignments is like a gradual reveal (you get to see the virtual character grow), while you’re punished for skipping or forgetting assignments (Canvas Tutor takes away the progress you’ve made).
The creator’s intent was to be true to life. If you don’t exercise a skill you’ll gradually begin to forget it. Not everything is like riding a bike.
The quests are intended to give you practice in 5 areas: anatomy, inking, coloring, backgrounds, and character design.
Quests range from simple practice like doing gesture drawings of five figures or drawing hands and feet, to painting a background or designing your own character.
Canvas Tutor’s creator is an illustrator and character designer who draws in an anime/manga style, so the art assignments can reflect that. So some assignments may not be as relevant, depending on the type of art you do. Drawing a chibi or gjinka, for example.
One nice feature of the Canvas Tutor app is that you can go back and complete quests that you’ve missed. The point isn’t to be that strict. Well except in one case. One of the repeating quests is the “chara-slot.” It’s the only Canvas Tutor quest that you can’t go back to complete on another day.
Chara-slot is essentially a character slot machine that gives you three random words – typically two nouns and an adjective.
The strangest one I’ve seen is one that my sister got: Holy-Teen-Witch.
Canvas Tutor Pros:
- It’s fun to see how the girl grows up, but once she grows to “final form,” there’s no surprise. I wish there was a little more or that she grew all the way to an old woman.
- It’s fun to see what assignment you’ll get each day.
- There are “achievements” you can hit for extra motivation.
Canvas Tutor Cons:
- Recently there have been annoying ads that easy to click on accident (which is no accident I’m sure).
- The tutorial/instruction images save to your phone automatically, so I regularly have to delete them from my phone.
Overall I like Canvas Tutor, but it’s lost some of the excitement it had for me in the beginning. I’d recommend trying the app with a friend if you can. Completing the Canvas Tutor quests with someone else can keep you motivated longer and add competition. Since each user receives a random quest every day (except Chara-slot Saturdays), it’s also fun to compare quests with an art buddy.