Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on March 21st, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose is a creative and fun art app that allows young artists to record personal narration to their finished pieces, including a multitude of art supplies to work with. Both iPad as well as iPhone versions are available.

Children have a choice of expressing themselves by choosing a blank page to begin their art work or choosing a coloring page to work on. Another wonderful function of this app is the ability to choose a photo from the device’s camera roll to use as a background as well.

I enjoy the various backgrounds offered, including brightly colored pages to work on, as well as some fun pattern choices such as colorful stripes and dots as well as classic standard rule of notebook paper and graph paper. I really appreciate the textures found within the single colored background, reminiscent of hand-made decorative paper as well as backgrounds with a marbled watercolor look that I am drawn to.

A vast selection of tools is included, such as a wonderful assortment of stickers including animals and vehicles, letters, numbers and speech bubbles plus more. Personal favorites include the foods and silverware fit for a tea party as well as the hats, mustaches and other details one can add to style members of personal photos being used. It is terrific how easily one can resize these stickers, but my son would also like to be able to flip these stickers, making it possible for these illustrated characters to face each other while talking or even embracing.

A paint brush, pencil and crayon points are included each with 27 shades to choose from, including a rainbow and an interestingly textured glow-in-the-dark choice. I like the inclusion of both pencil-sized eraser as well as a bigger classic pink eraser to remove parts of one’s artwork, and I also enjoy the fun and bright pattern choices one can choose to paint, draw or crayon with, creating these patterns and colors with the swipe of a finger. It would be nice if a few more paint brush sizes could be added in the future as well.

iPad users will have a series of stencils to choose from that can be moved around the page and re-sized. My son really has a lot of fun painting over these stencils, allowing him to create these shapes without having to rely on his free-hand drawing skills - something he still lacks at the age of four. Being able to re-size these stencils is nice and simple even for little hands, but being able to flip these stencils to work with a mirror image would be nice as well.

The selection of coloring book pages is also very nice, including 18 images to choose from. I appreciate the use of “Paint Bucket” mode, allowing one to fill in the spaces found within these pages with the tap of a finger - my go-to mode for working with coloring books, but the lack of “Paint Brush” mode, using a finger to paint with, may disappoint others.

All the same tools can be used to decorate these coloring pages, making an especially nice use of the pattern tool that can be used to fill in the shapes found within these coloring pages for a very nice effect. I was not a huge fan, however, of certain editorial choices having been made for players in terms of color grouping, as more than one area may be colored in at once, such as both tires on a tractor being filled in with a single tap, making it impossible to create different color wheels as well as minimizing the number of areas one can fill in.

Another issue that I found was that certain details such as the eyes, teeth and other details on the included animals remain white and are unable to take color, as does other areas of other objects included in the scenes.

The choices is made for the player to follow a certain logic and maybe some children may find his helpful, but I would love an option to be able to color in all sections of this app individually, allowing animals to not only have colored eyes, but different colored eyes as well if my son wants to be creative this way.

Even with these minor limitations, I really enjoy all the virtual art supplies offered, especially the stickers and stencils, allowing children to have a lot of fun with this app without having a lot of drawing or painting ability.

My son has really enjoyed decorating photos from our iPad both with animal stickers and stencils, creating scenes reminiscent of Mary Poppins or Snow White, allowing him to create images of him interacting with cartoon characters. It is a treat that characters from other Duck Duck Moose apps are available, as are an abundance of other sticker choices.

Saving one’s work is easy, and it is nice that children can return to their pictures to continue on adding more creative details as well. A go-back button is also included - a nice touch users may find helpful as did I.

A very special component of this app is the ability to record narration to finished art projects, emailing them to loved ones or simply saving to preserve a moment in time of one’s children at a specific age. The ability to create personalized parts or letters for friends and family with the inclusion of personalized voice-over is wonderful for children and their adults alike, and it is super-cute how the stickers can be moved around the page as narration is being recorded, possibly as one is telling a story to a distant loved one.

It is also a nice inclusion that if one drags a finger around the image or photo in use, a blue highlight can be seen during the recording and playback of the narration, allowing one to motion to a specific area of the image while telling a story about the picture in question.

It would also have been great, however, if the process of painting or coloring, stenciling and the like could have been recorded, as seeing details appear on the screen could be quite captivating to look at, making wondrous Harold and the Purple Crayons moments possible, allowing children to watch illustrations appear on the page as a story is told.

This is a lovely application that will be of interest to a wide range of ages through grade school and beyond. The possibilities are endless for the creative and artistic projects one can create with this app. Parents and other adults will surely cherish these pieces of art, especially with included narration of little voices captured as precious keepsakes.

I only wish that the process of these creative activities could be captured, as the process may be more important to children than the finished piece, especially if one could record the banter of a parent and child simply enjoying this app together, recording their give-and-take while experiencing all the artistic elements found within this application.

iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose screenshot 1 Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose screenshot 2 Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose screenshot 3 Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose screenshot 4 Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose screenshot 5
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