Using a well- designed mix of virtual tuition and real world practice, Color Smart teaches children not just about the history of art but how to apply the different principles of painting to allow them to more effectively unleash their creativity.
While the educational content producing industry, quite understandably, tends to focus on the subjects considered the most important for children, this doesn’t mean that other subjects do not warrant high quality apps. Color Smart provides just this for the understanding of the painter’s craft.
We can all appreciate a good painting but understanding the different aspects that make it good is not so easy. Using colour values to create contrast and establish emphasis, including the technique of underpainting, starts off the learning. The colour wheel is introduced from its early descriptions by Isaac Newton to its practical applications for artists. A third section looks into categorising colours into warm and cold for changing the feel of the artwork. Finally, while today we can just call into an art shop for our paints, the app looks at how the painters from history obtained their materials and how paint is made. A good example of how this app develops the facts that it teaches into a more rounded understanding is found in this section, where it explains how the freedom of having paint in tubes influenced the subjects that were painted. Facts are rarely mentioned without them being fully considered in the context of art.
If this makes it sound like a rather full app, that is because it is. Each of these sections contains fully narrated animations and interactive activities to explain and encourage further thinking about each of the concepts. Three characters, Furnace, Tickles and Ruby take the roles of teacher and fellow learner. By following their conversation and superbly designed and realised onscreen examples, a huge amount of artistic understanding can be learned. This content isn’t difficult to grasp but, unless you are heavily involved in art, it is a good bet that many adults can come away from this app with having learned something. Nicely rounding off this instructional content are sections where children can move things around to experiment with what they have learned.
As well as skilled animators, voice actors, and artists somebody behind this app also has a knack for dreaming up clever activities for children to develop their artistic understanding and be creative. The final part of each of the four general areas of learning is a set of activities for children to undertake. These are not virtual but real world paint, cut, stick and create activities. In some apps this type of section can feel a bit of a bolt on, an easy section to fill out an app, but here they are genuinely interesting and relevant activities that children will enjoy. True, they will need access to materials, and space to make a bit of a mess, but they will learn about art and develop their creative potential through them.
For parents looking to give children something constructive to entertain themselves on a rainy day this sort of thing is ideal. For teachers who carry out art lessons but aren’t specialists, they have in this app a full package of instructional materials and lesson ideas. It is great to see an app secure enough in its teaching capacity to be able to encourage children to leave its confines and engage with the real world. Color Smart needs an always on internet connection for its lengthy videos and it can be occasionally a little unresponsive as it pulls in the content, but these are small prices to pay for such an educationally packed app.
From the Developer
"Color Smart" contains the second set of four lessons from Creativity Express. Color Smart naturally follows the introductory app ‘Start With Art’ The lessons in Color Smart focus on color theory, the use of color in artwork to create an emotional response, and the chemistry and history of making paint.
• Animated art guides – Tickles, Furnace, and Ruby – lead children through four fun and engaging cross-curricular lessons designed to enhance your child’s critical thinking skills and unlock their creativity and problem solving capability.
• 8 'Creativity Builders' art projects give children hands-on experience using knowledge from each lesson. Two projects per lesson, the topics range from experimenting with blending, hatching and stippling techniques to designing a superhero costume.
• A ‘Parents’ page detailed guide to each Creativity Builders project including objectives, vocabulary, materials and procedures.
• Idea Gizmo to jump-start your child’s imagination and creative thinking skills.
• Doodle Gizmo -A fun, easy-to-use drawing and painting program for your mobile device.
• Comprehensive Glossary of art terms and definitions
Have your child be Color Smart with these lessons:
• Value: From old black and white movies to a talking zebra, discover the difference that black and white can make. Play hide-and-go-fish with value and value contrast to emphasize different elements within art.
• Color: Different colors can create stark contrast, soothing harmony, energy or excitement. Learn from Isaac Newton how the color wheel was invented, and understand hue, saturation and value in a whole new way.
• Warm & Cool Colors: Colors convey different emotions, but how? Explore Pablo Picasso's use of color throughout his career and discover why you’re sure the red car will win the race.
• Making Paint: How was Van Gogh’s artwork made possible by the invention of paint from tubes? Travel the timeline of ‘Color Evolution’, and use chemistry to create your own paint from elements in nature.
Recommended for ages 7-97
No in-app purchases
No user ID tracking
Meets the National Standards for the Visual Arts.