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Disney's Magic Artist

Posted By: HeavenDenied
Disney's Magic Artist is a combination software coloring book, and learn-to-draw program, with an emphasis on the former. The program includes three different art studio areas:

* The Desktop is equipped with a multitude of colors, textures, and tools. Users can produce freehand creations in this part of the program -- but most will chose to build on a wide selection of pre-created backgrounds with a stamp tool. Over 300 stamps give users control of familiar Disney cartoon characters and images. Users have the choice of coloring in the scenes, or selecting an auto-color option. While the auto-color option was the most entertaining for our child reviewers, it did not require much artistic expression. Unfortunately, our 7 year-old testers found it difficult to color within the lines using a mouse - and became discouraged when they bypassed the auto-color choice.

* Finished masterpieces can be saved and placed in the Gallery, one of the studio areas. Artists can produce slide shows by adding music to a collection of their favorite pieces.

* In the Lesson Area, drawing skills are taught to the willing and determined user. Users can trace Disney characters on the screen with the mouse, or draw them on their own, following detailed instructions.

Our young testers spent most of their time on the stamping and coloring activities. "I like the whole program, except for the tracing part," was a typical comment. That's unfortunate, because the learn-to-draw section is nicely done, and even illustrates how line drawings are changed to show animation.

Ease of Install / Use
The program installed without any difficulty on our Macintosh test machine. Magic Artist is relatively straight-forward to use, once the user understands how the various tools work -- but a parent's help is probably necessary to get young users started and avoid discouragement.

Educational Value
Disney's Magic Artist provides endless opportunity to explore creative talents. The Desktop provides tools for young users to exercise their aesthetic capabilities. The Lesson Area, however, is the only part of the program which actually offers drawing instruction. But this area is only beneficial for a patient user. Our reviewers found it somewhat difficult to use proficiently. As a result, the most structurally educational part of the program fell short of maintaining the attention of our young reviewers.

Kid Appeal
Outstanding graphics, comical sound effects, and the variety of options within the program will keep users entertained for hours. Users who simply want to experiment with color and medium, while utilizing their creativity, will enjoy the Magic Artist Desktop.

This program is best for the curious artist and the typical coloring book fanatic. To reap the potential drawing education benefits the program offers, users must be able to deftly use their computer on their own, or have someone available to read through the instructions with them. This program is not one we would recommend for the impatient, nor for the easily discouraged. It takes perseverance and patience to use educational aspects of the program. Without much instruction, the program ultimately strives to open a window into the world of cartooning for the artistically interested and eager child.

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