Disney Creativity Stylus

What we love…

Thick stylus- nicely sized for small hands, special features. Learning to draw Disney characters.

What we’d love to see…

More apps to learn to draw other Disney characters.

Summary

This Smart Stylus is nicely designed for children to use. Its extra features can only be used with two apps, but it can be used as a regular stylus with other apps. The accompanying app is fun for older kids and adults teaching them to draw iconic Disney characters, and the activities keep younger children engaged.

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The Disney Creativity Studio is a Smart Stylus and app designed to teach children how to draw some of their favorite Disney Characters. The Studio includes the Smart Stylus, a nice sturdy carrying case, instruction manual and a code to allow you to download the Disney Creativity Studio app for free , (the app is also available on it’s own for $3.99).

Disney Creativity Studio Stylus:

On opening the box the first thing I noticed about the stylus was it is very thick, about 18mm diameter on the lower part of the pen – about the same thickness as a chunky marker. This makes it much easier for a child to hold correctly than a regular stylus, and the grip area has a rubberized surface which both tells the child where to hold it and makes it more comfortable to hold.

This is not a regular capacitive stylus but a smart stylus. It works by sending signals from the little holes on top of the stylus to the microphone on the iPad, thus it is important not to cover either of these. It is also recommended not to use it in a noisy room or near a TV as these may interfere. It is battery operated – and I was glad to see it takes an easy to get battery (AA).

You switch the stylus on by pressing and holding the button on the side until the light stays lit. You also use this button to make the line thicker or thinner. Turning the stylus upside down you can use the stylus on the other end as an eraser (which feels very natural to children used to having an eraser on the end of their pencil). The stylus also has a “Magic Mode” which is switched on by shaking it up and down 3 times, to switch it off you shake again 3 or more times.

Disney Creativity Stylus

Disney Creativity Studio App:

The app has 3 areas: draw your own, learn to draw and activities.

Draw your Own

This is a free play drawing area. The child can draw whatever they want using a choice of 5 different pen widths and a large palate of colors, in magic mode they can also draw with a rainbow effect.

Activities:

There are 3 different activities to choose from: coloring pages, pictures to trace and dot-to-dot’s. All feature classic Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. There are 15 of each activity and the child can use all the same drawing tools as in Draw Your Own mode. These activities will especially appeal to younger children.

Learn to Draw

This is my favorite part of the app and one that I think a lot of adults will enjoy playing with, as well as children. There is an introductory video by a Disney artist John Quinn, showing how he draws Mickey and encouraging children to have fun and not worry about making a mess when learning to draw. There are twelve images the child can learn to draw- from the basic Mickey Mouse head outline to a variety of headshots of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. Each drawing is presented step by step and the child traces over each line as it appears. The reference lines in the early part of the drawing are done in a light color and the child is instructed to switch to a darker color for the final lines. At the end of the drawing the app removes all the light colored lines -so even young children can make quite good drawings. My kids also enjoyed coloring their drawings when they are finished.

Every time you exit a picture or activity in the app it is automatically saved to your drawing book and you can also email the drawing from within the app. This Mickey Mouse was drawn by my son using the app and stylus:

Artwork

How Well Does it Work ?

The stylus takes a little getting used to – when you first start drawing you need to hold it in place for a few seconds so the app can pinpoint it’s location. If you don’t it misses the first part of the line. My children are used to regular styluses so at first when this happened they tended to press really hard with the stylus (which isn’t necessary), after gently re-directing and explaining it they quickly got the hang of it. I thought that the concept of using the button to switch pen thickness might be a bit tricky for my five-year-olds, but they took to it really quickly (there is a visual on the app screen where a dot changes size as you change the pen thickness and this helps a lot). Most of the time the stylus works very well, but we do occasionally have problems where it fails to register that we are in eraser mode or turns into magic mode which switching back or forth from the eraser, you can easily correct it by tapping the eraser or color you want to use. Both my five-year-old twins and my nine-year old enjoyed using the Creativity Studio. My older boy really enjoyed the  “learn to draw” section and the five-year-olds both enjoyed the activities, but were also trying out their hand at the simpler drawings. I was especially encouraged to see my five-year-old son doing this, as he has fine motor issues and drawing is usually not a preferred activity for him but he was really interested in learning to draw Mickey Mouse.

Overall, my family have had a lot of fun with the Disney Creativity Studio. With the stylus I really like how big and thick it is – it works really well for getting kids to use a proper pincer grip. My children like having an eraser on the tip like they do on their school pencils. Because it is not acting by touch you can press very lightly on the stylus and then it will glide easily across the screen, it also works at a wide range of angles. The special features of the stylus currently only work with 2 apps -Disney Creativity Studio App and Disney Pixel’d, however you can switch it off and use it as a regular stylus for any other app. I think the app is a lot of fun, younger kids will enjoy the activities and older kids (and adults) will enjoy learning to draw Mickey and friends.  I would love to see Disney come out with a whole suite of compatible apps so kids could learn to draw all their favorite Disney characters. The case is sturdy, well made and very protective, it is a great way to make sure we don’t lose the stylus (as frequently happens with other styluses!). The Disney Creativity Studio is a fun addition to any Disney loving household, and I’m also planning to have my five-year-olds use this stylus when working on their handwriting, as it is much easier for them to hold properly than our usual stylus.

Disney Creativity Studio has an RRP of $49.99 and is available from  the Apple Store and other retailers.

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