Developer: Brandon Gray

Price: $0.99
Version: 1.4
App Reviewed on: iPad

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

I’m a big fan of most visual art. I’ve always wished I could draw or paint, but for some reason my artistic talent only ever amounts to stick figures and smiley faces. Every once in a while I get the urge to sketch out something, but it usually results in broken pencils and something akin to teenage angst. It’s okay though because I have come to terms with my abilities, and now I’m usually content just admiring the works of others. For those who don’t want to sit by with idle hands while all the other artists bask in the glory, there’s a nifty little app by Brandon Gray called Manga Art Academy.

Manga Art Academy features several written tutorials on how to draw characters that would feel right at home in any popular anime. There are a variety of lessons to choose from (facial features, hair, clothing, the human form), and all of them have helpful pictorial examples. The writing in the tutorials is easy to follow, but there were an over abundance of emoticons featured in each paragraph. I also noticed that the tutorials seemed to be more focused on drawing female characters, as some of the reference material is directly from a website called idrawgirls.com. There’s a video portion to augment all of the written tutorials, but all of the content featured is readily available on Youtube. The video section of the app is simply a portal to various Youtube channels. Mark Crilley’s Youtube channel is very helpful and professionally done, but I was expecting something more exclusive. Fortunately, the content featured in Manga Academy can be expanded via in app purchases that cover specific manga characters and advanced techniques.

The app is easy to navigate, and it has a fair amount of content for the price. It’s a shame that the video portion of the app isn’t more refined, but it does collect some nice resources that are easily accessed. Manga Art Academy does a decent job explaining the style of art and it gives some great examples, but it probably won’t turn any random schmuck into Akira Toriyama. It seems to be a quick and easy reference point for artists who want to learn the basics of drawing manga characters, but I think knowing how to draw is a prerequisite to fully enjoying this app.

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