Bottom Line: Drawing monsters proves to be a great way to entertain kids and keep the creative juices flowing during the long days of summer. It's essentially the same app as its iLuv Drawing predecessors, so if you like those, you'll like this one.
Some moms tell their babies, “I loved you before I met you.” That’s how I felt about iLuv Drawing Monsters HD before I even downloaded it. After 40 years, I still have my copy of Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals ($2.95 for hardback) and a masterpiece I made using it. With the sort of guidance originated by Mr. Emberley and transferred to digital format in splendid fashion by My Vijan aka Learn with Fun Apps, beginners and those hopeless at drawing can produce a credible monster. And if the monster is a bit lopsided or snaggletoothed, so what since IT’S A MONSTER.
Monsters join animals, Santa, dinosaurs and people in the lineup of step-by-step drawing instruction apps from Learn with Fun Apps. After a quick run through the tiger-narrated how-to-use lesson in the instructions, users are ready to learn. They have a choice of 20 different monsters that run the gamut from insect to amphibian, and simian to downright strange. The monsters are the friendly sort that would look at home on Sesame Street or on the Monsters, Inc. scare floor with Sully and Mike. There are no razor tipped claws, bulging eyes or gaping, ooze filled orifices.
Once a monster is selected, aspiring artists are presented with oval, triangular and crescent shaped pieces of its body to trace. Most monsters take about 10 steps to complete. Stray lines can be erased. The eraser and pencil each have pop up tool bars that allow for adjustment of line thickness and eraser size. There are just enough editing options to allow a decent picture without so many that a young child would be overwhelmed.
True creativity starts when one puts down the pencil and picks up crayons, paintbrushes and stickers to give the monster some personality. There are as many paint swatches from which to choose as flavors of ice cream at Baskin and Robbins. Color can be added gradually with a fine-tipped marker or poured onto a solid area with a bucket. Stickers include hats, bows, a Harry Potter-like lightning bolt and most excellent slime. Undo and redo buttons let the child try color and decorative combinations until the monster is just right.
Once completed, monsters can be added to a selection of backgrounds. From there the real fun begins with options to share creations through email, save to photos or just keep in the in-app sketchbook. You can even use the photos with an ebook app like Story Kit to write and record your own illustrated monster tale. Allowing users to create their own narrated tales or even animate their monsters within the app would be a welcome update.
As excited as I was to try this app, I do find it needs tweaking. The instruction goes from tracing, straight to freehand drawing. There is no intermediate step that involves copying or drawing from a grid or centerline. Also, no guidance is given to get proportions right. Monsters run the risk of being pinheads sitting on giant bodies or caricatures with giant heads on itty-bitty bodies.
I don’t usually favor in-app purchases, but with five separate learn to draw apps now, I do wish Learn with Fun Apps provided an option for monster meets Santa crossover action all within a single app. Also, the ability to add texture to the monster drawings would be another fun way for kids to enhance their works of art. The sample monsters are surprisingly lacking in scaly flesh, fur and hair. The app has background music which thankfully can be muted since it is decidedly unmonsterlike.
Some Addams Family or something a bit more creepy than peppy would better inspire budding Picassos. And please give Godzilla an Empire State Building background from which to terrorize toddlers and moms counting the days until school starts again.
If you would like to purchase iLuv Drawing Monsters ($1.99, iPad/iPhone) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using this link button:
Jill Goodman gave birth 10 1/2 years ago to twin monsters one of whom created the cyclops above. Learn with Fun Apps is an advertiser at smartappsforkids.com.