Ever since I heard about uDraw from THQ, I really wanted it! The kids love the Wii, they love colouring, so it sounded like it would be perfect for us. So I just had to go rush out to the shops and get one to test it out for myself….oh and to let you guys know what it’s like too!
The uDraw game tablet is a peripheral that will work with several different games already like Pictionary and Dood’s Big Adventure as well as new titles coming out in the future, it comes bundled with an art programme called uDraw Studio.
The uDraw game tablet has a space down the side with which to connect it up to your Wii, you do this by plugging in your Wiimote and docking it in the tablet. Underneath you’ll find the home of the pressure sensitive stylus pen, which stays connected to the game tablet via a lead. At first I thought the stylus lead was a tad short, but after seeing the children using it I think if it was any longer it would get in the way, so on reflection THQ have got it just right.
Thomas was first up to have a go on the uDraw and he got the hang of it straight away, you move the stylus around the drawing board to move the cursor around the screen, and either press down with the stylus to select and option or there is also a button on the stylus you can press. Thomas instinctively pressed down with the pen and was straight into the painting.
Thomas loved drawing with the uDraw, he especially loved the vast palette of colours to choose from. I liked the fact that if your obviously more of an artist you can carefully choose the exact shade of whatever colour your looking for with the colour tuner, but for younger users there is a beginners colour box option which just brings up big blocks of all the available colours you can choose from.
Another big thumbs up from us is the replay feature. Every stroke you take is being recorded as you draw, which means that every stroke can also be undone and redone as you go along. We had a few accidents when Jacob got a bit fed up waiting for his turn and grabbed the stylus leaving a huge line across Thomas’ hard worked masterpiece, luckily the undo feature worked wonders and restored his work of art to it’s former glory ending the resulting tears instantly.
Another cool use for the replay feature is that it means you can watch your picture come to life in the gallery, watching each brush stroke that you took along the way. The only downside to the Replay function is that because all of your brush strokes are being recorded there is a maximum limit to the number you can draw, the makers say that you roughly get a maximum of 35 minutes drawing time. Me and the boys have never come anyway near that amount of time on a picture so it doesn’t bother me at all, but I suppose for professional artists really taking their time over a project it may be a problem.
As well as the wealth of different brush types, painting styles and techniques available at your disposal, Jacob’s favourite tool to use are the shaped stencils or stickers as he calls them, which come in lots of different shapes and styles like animals, cars, houses, flowers, people and much more. For a little one like him, this is a great way of being creative and drawing a lovely picture without actually doing any drawing!
As well as freestyle drawing we’ve also been making good use of the seemingly endless colouring book pages (OK so I’m sure it’s not endless but I would say there is at least over 100). There are space themed colouring pages, knights, dragons, sports, scenery, practically everything you can think of. Again the colouring pages have been great for my two boys as they are younger and absolutely adore colouring books anyway, so to do colouring books and watch them come alive on the big screen has gone down amazingly well with both of them.
In conclusion I would say that the uDraw was a great purchase for us, and I can see me and the boys using it for a long, long time (colouring in is never going to go out of fashion). In my opinion for children from around 3 up until teenage I think the uDraw will be a big hit, it’s so much fun and all the options, brush effects, make it a great art tool for youngsters. Whether this can be considered a tool for serious artists I’m not so sure, especially considering the 35 minute limitation. However overall for me and my family it’s a keeper!
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