Excellent art software teaches kids how to draw Disney characters


Recommended for ages 8 and older

Quality: 4 out of 5

Learning: 4 out of 5

Positive messages: 3 out of 5

Positive role models: 3 out of 5

Ease of play: 5 out of 5

Violence and scariness: 0 out of 5

Language: 0 out of 5

Consumerism: 4 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)


Language and reading



Thinking and reasoning



Tech skills


Platforms: Nintendo 3DS

Price: $29.99

Developer: Nintendo of America

Release date: May 13, 2016

Genre: Simulation

ESRB rating: E

Parents need to know that “Disney Art Academy” — a joint effort between Disney and Nintendo — encourages kids to draw their favorite Disney and Pixar characters, or draw whatever they like in Free Paint mode. There aren’t protagonists in the game, but players are tasked with drawing characters in a loose story mode. There isn’t any inappropriate content parents needs to worry about, but players will be exposed to multiple characters that have vast merchandising.


“Disney Art Academy” is a Nintendo 3DS drawing program that challenges kids to draw more than 80 Disney and Pixar characters, such as Elsa and Olaf from “Frozen,” Mickey Mouse, Woody from “Toy Story,” Nemo, Cinderella, and others. Using the stylus pen on the touch screen, kids will go through a (loose) story, get advice and lessons by animated helpers, and play around with various drawing tools (brushes, markers, pencils, pens, spray paint cans), colors, effects, and add-ons (such as glitter, clouds). The game also has a Free Paint mode that lets you create characters without any tutorials — yep, the training wheels are off for this mode. Artwork can be shared to Miiverse or on social media, local wireless, or saved to the SD card, so you can pop it into a personal computer to see on a larger display or print out your creations.


This is less of a game and more of a drawing tool to help young artists develop their skills. Ideal for kids who love animated Disney and Pixar films and TV shows, this clever Nintendo 3DS is easy to pick up but hard to put down, and it’s a great learning tool. It offers more depth than you might think. Sure, you can start out as a beginner artist (shapes, coloring), but will progress through more advanced art lessons, including tips on shading, using different brushes and other tools, drawing character expressions to evoke joy, surprise, and more. Little ones will likely spend time with Magic Brush, which gives your art some flare with stars, clouds, glitter, and more.


Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.