Bottom Line: Offers lots of good instruction in drawing techniques but lacks the fun of the many other available apps for da Vincis in training. The broad range of difficulty makes it appropriate for ages 4-10 and there's a Free lite version.
If you would like to nurture a youngster's talent, please download Grid Drawing for Kids ($1.99 iPad/iPhone) using the following link which supports Smart Apps for Kids:
I'm the one person who doesn't love the I Luv Drawing apps by MyVijan LLC. They are fun and the finished products can be quite good, but tips on how to draw are minimal as I pointed out in my review of iLuv Drawing Monsters. AR Entertainment goes to the other extreme in its new app called Grid Drawing for Kids. The skills introduced are important parts of becoming a competent artiste, but it's a bit heavy on the more tedious aspects of drawing.
Grid Drawing is all about straight lines that are placed on lined graph paper to form a series of blocky animals and objects. Kids have a menu of 120 things (60 on the iPhone) to practice drawing. Easy ones include a cat, owl, robot and rocket. Harder sketches have more lines and range from an eagle and octopus to a desktop computer. Hard drawings introduce diagonal lines which bisect the grid squares. All choices are unlocked from the outset so more experienced kids can go straight to the more difficult pictures.
There is a brief drop down help menu that explains the function of the symbols used in the settings. I found navigation fairly straightforward and was able to make an easy drawing a few minutes after opening the app. Errant lines can be erased and there is a hint button which will turn lines in the wrong place red. Once the model has been successfully copied, users are rewarded with a shower of baby elephants.
In addition to multiple things to draw, kids have a variety of techniques to progress through. Copying involved simply reproducing an object on the other side of the grid paper. Moving the object is a bit more challenging and requires counting grid lines if the child doesn't have a good eye for distance. Another option is vertical and horizontal symmetry in which half a drawing is shown and young draftsmen must complete the opposite side. AR Entertainment has thoughtfully provided a setting for use by left handed individuals which pleases me since I'm a southpaw.
Once kids have tired of copying or gain some semblance of mastery, free drawing awaits. Here users are presented with not a blank canvas but a blank grid. I drew a poorly proportioned three-legged giraffe and discovered that the name Ron lends itself well to grid drawing. These original creations fill squares on the selection menu so they can be revised over time or finished at a later date.
Masterpieces can be printed if you have AirPrint or some other means of printing from the device. Facebook, Twitter and even the camera roll are not options. The app's only external link is pass code protected with a multiplication problem so it's safe for use by youngsters. I'm not sure of the best age range for using the app. The baby elephant theme is a bit babyish but the fine motor skill needed to complete the hard drawings is significant. Any child aged 5-11 with an interest in drawing would likely benefit.
I find the drawing methods introduced in this app to be invaluable. They will serve kids well in any future artistic endeavors and provide a nice foundation for geometry and other math. Gaining skill in graphing, recognizing symmetry and developing an eye for distance are important by-products of this app. My concern is that the app is too technical. Kids have no opportunity to color their creations. They don't even get to draw in anything other than black. Access to a simple paint palette would be more rewarding than the bonanza of baby elephants.
Users should also beware that the hard setting is in fact rather difficult on the iPad. I had trouble getting the lines where I wanted when the grid was very tightly spaced. Even erasing lines was hard because my fingers were too big and as a lefty my hand blocked a big part of the screen. A stylus provided better control, but again using it is not as fun. As long as you are after drawing instruction as opposed to drawing entertainment, you won't be disappointed in Grid Drawing for Kids.
Jill Goodman's favorite artist is David Hockney, master of iPad art and present in about every room of her house. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.