Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Brand: Disney Consumer Products
Model: Marvel Creativity Studio Stylus
Review Platform: iOS
Review Unit Provided By: Disney Consumer Products
Release Date: October 28, 2013
Amazon Product Page: Marvel Creativity Studio App and Stylus
Let me get one thing clear, I am not an artist. Heck, I have less artistic talents than most grade school children. My best works of art have either been colored or traced, aka me working with someone else’s art. So when an opportunity came up from Marvel to draw and color some of my favorite characters from the Marvel world, I jumped at the chance. The Marvel Creativity Studio attempts to be your one stop destination for all your mobile Marvel artwork needs. The free application, with in-app purchases, features three different modes in which you can color, draw, or assemble Marvel artwork as well as three different themes to choose from including Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, or Hulk and the Agents of Smash. There’s also a swanky optional Bluetooth enabled stylus that we’ll discus later, but for now lets take a look at the application itself!
Coloring is just as it sounds, you’re presented with various pages similar to a coloring book, and you’re then able to color them with various tools that are at your beck and call. Each Marvel theme has 12 different art pages to color, as well as over 60 different colors to choose from. Tools include Pencil, Marker, Crayon, Spray, Brush, Chisel, Chalk, Reveal, Fill, and Eraser, each having their own style when coloring to your page. Our favorite tools being Reveal and Fill; Reveal reveals colors in the target area with the correct colors from Marvel, and Fill allows you to fill a section perfectly with a color of your choice. We had fun revealing a section to find the true color, then using Fill to fill it in, allowing us to color the artwork almost perfectly; who doesn’t like to pretend they’re a Marvel artist? The other tools are nice, but with some of the drawings being so detailed, it was extremely hard to stay within the lines even when using the smallest tool size.
The Draw feature is, in my opinion, the best aspect of the application. Each theme has 12-13 pieces of art that you can try your hand at. The pieces range in difficulty, and are labeled with 1-3 stars, 1 star being an easier drawing, like Iron Man’s face or the Hulk’s head, while 3 star pieces will be an entire battle scene featuring different characters and backdrops. Once you choose which design you’d like to replicate, you have numerous ways to do so. If you’re an art pro you can just freehand the design, or for the art-limited like me, you can either trace it, or try out the neat freehand/trace hybrid system.
When using the hybrid mode, you utilize the right-hand of the screen to draw, and use the left-hand to see where you’re going. This makes it a bit easier than tracing small lines because you get much more precision than with the bulky stylus tip. You can even switch between the hybrid trace and standard trace at any time, utilizing it only when needed.
Assemble was my least favorite mode of the app. You first choose a background, each theme has 15 backgrounds ranging from simple colors and designs, to locations taken from the Marvel Universe. Once your background is chosen, you have your choice of character or action stickers, each theme contains 11-15 character stickers and 4-5 action stickers. You can arrange the stickers how ever you want for a still image, or you can use the Record function and make a storyboard. The recording feature is nice, but since none of the stickers have real movement, you can’t really depict any actions. When using the record feature, the stickers also have sound clips to make it feel more realistic. Dropping Spider-man will result in a Spider-man catchphrase, while dropping the action stickers result in a like SWOOSH or SMACK sound.
As we said before, another addition to the Marvel Creativity Studio is the optional $35 stylus. The biggest perk of the stylus is that it unlocks all artwork and tools, both present and future, so you’ll always be up to date with Marvel artwork to work with. The stylus just isn’t any ‘ol stylus though, since it utilizes Bluetooth technology, it packs a few extra features that most styluses don’t First off, at the top of the stylus is a button, similar to the clicker on a pen. The top button allows you to easily switch between tools without having to go to the Tools section on the screen. Just give it a tap and it’ll swap to the next tool. Sadly, if you miss the tool you wanted you have to click through the rest of the tools until you land back on the one you wanted.
The stylus also features an up/down toggle where you thumb is located, and allows you to quickly change the size of your stylus tip between 10 different sizes. The toggle was much more useful for us because it was a simple bigger or smaller, while the top button only allowed you to go to the next tool. Make a mistake? No worries, the third feature of your super sweet stylus is that you can “Shake & Undo”, allowing you to quickly undo your last line or fill without having to tap the undo button.