Crayola is a universally known and beloved brand; whether you are an adult or child you have come across one of their crayons or markers at some point in your life. Now imagine having all you crayons, paints, pencils, markers and more in one place packaged in one handy device. That describes today’s item for review – the iMarker which works with the free iOS app, the Crayola ColorStudio HD.
Used in combination these two items gives the user a diverse palate for creativity using one’s iPad. As an added bonus since its digital ink there is no mess to clean up after the kids use it. As a parent that makes this a worthwhile investment in of itself.
Author: Tom Ratas
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Crayola ColorStudio HD
Your iPad becomes a living coloring book.
There are dozens of coloring and painting Apps for iPad. But only one’s amazing enough to be called "Crayola." Crayola ColorStudio HD helps young artists unlock limitless discovery and play on an iPad, complete with pictures, color, animation, sound and music.
The iMarker digital stylus is the key.
Like a marker, crayon, colored pencil and paintbrush in one, iMarker lets you create with your favorite Crayola colors within the ColorStudio HD App. iMarker safely interacts with iPad’s MultiTouch display, allowing the ColorStudio HD app to differentiate between the child’s input (finger taps, swipes, etc.) and the input from iMarker automatically. This allows intuitive, creative play that brings the accuracy and ease of a stylus but, for the first time, allows the user to manipulate both creative space and color, without having to toggle the app between modes
Make and share your own custom coloring pages.
With pictures, animations, sound effects and music, ColorStudio HD always has something new to discover and color. And new pictures are available through ongoing updates automatically when you sync your iPad. Parents can even share the work their children have created by printing it (requires iOS 4.2 or later) or through email and Facebook.
Put it all together and you get the most amazing coloring book ever and all your favorite Crayola crayons, paints, pencils, markers and more all in a convenient no-ink, no-mess, kid-safe package. With Crayola ColorStudio HD, Griffin and Crayola are creating new ways for children to color, draw, and discover in the digital age.
What’s in the Box?
The Crayola ColorStudio HD comes in a white box with the iMarker interacing with the Crayola ColorStudio HD on the front. Flipping this front cover up reveals the digital stylus in a clear plastic window. On the back of the package we find a list of features.
Inside the packaging is the iMarker, a quick start card, cap and AA battery.
The iMarker is a stylus that is shaped like a Crayola marker and is colored black and silver. It has the Crayola logo in the front 1/3 of the stylus and a silver power switch on the back. A detachable silver cap protects the stylus tip.
Here is a size comparison of the iMarker versus a standard Crayola marker with the digital version being slightly larger.
The backside of the iMarker has a small Phillips screw that opens this section for battery placement.
The stylus tip is composed of a black rubbery material, which gives it a magic marker appearance.
One neat feature about the iMarker that my kids especially enjoyed was the Crayola logo’s background would change colors when the device was powered up.
Impressions / Review:
To get started the user needs to install Crayola ColorStudio HD from the App store which is a free download. By itself the app can be used in a limited fashion. Once used in conjunction with the iMarker then all of the app’s features and capabilities are unlocked.
Turning on the iMarker then tracing the onscreen pattern from the unlock section of the app allows the user to access the full potential of the app.
The main screen offers three coloring choices – Make a Coloring Page, Coloring Pages and Free Draw. From any of these three the user can start coloring and creating digital images.
On the right side of the iPad we find buttons for Gallery, Profile, Options, Help and More Crayola.
Thankfully for the new user Crayola provides on screen tutorials found in the Help section.
The Coloring Pages are broken down into six categories – Monsters, Jungle, Seasons, Sports, Underwater and My Pages. The five premade sections have six coloring pages for that specific topic. My Pages comes from the user created coloring pages.
What differentiates “coloring” on the iPad versus paper is that Crayola ColorStudio HD adds animation, sound effects and music making to the color experience; these color pages are interactive.
The Gallery page on the home screen allows viewing of saved creations. In addition these pictures can be printed, email or even posted to Facebook.
For today’s review of the Crayola ColorStudio HD I recruited my six and nine year old to field test the iMarker and app. Since both my kids enjoy coloring and being creative they immediately became absorb with the experience. They tested the app before the arrival of the iMarker and afterwards. Prior to the marker they played with Crayola ColorStudio HD but eventually got bored with the limited amount of coloring pages and features.
Once the iMarker fully unlocked Crayola ColorStudio HD they renewed their interest in the Crayola app. Overall they enjoyed using it and found it fun and entertaining. They enjoyed the large palette of markers, paintbrushes and crayons. The ability to switch between using just the iMarker stylus and fingers was a feature they also liked. Besides coloring the app allows the user to fill the space using a “bucket fill” option like those found on other painting programs.
One thing all three of us noticed was that the iMarker required a moderate amount of pressure to be detected by the iPad. Both of the iPads in my home have Invisible Shields in place, which may have an impact on the stylus’ functioning. The lack of touch sensitivity does take away from mimicking the feel of coloring on paper.
The iMarker is designed to shut down after ten minutes of inactivity to prevent battery drain.
The one negative I found with the iMarker was the cap does not attach to the stylus when not in use. This led to my co-reviewers to misplacing the cap some time during their field-testing.
As an app Crayola ColorStudio HD has plenty of room for expansion as they currently are limited in the amount of premade coloring pages, the amount of backgrounds and additions to the “make your own coloring” page but this can be easily addressed with future app upgrades.
If your kids love playing with you iPad or you are a kid at heart then the Crayola ColorStudio HD plus the iMarker are a terrific combination. With Crayola’s virtual coloring book and marker kids can express their creative sides while not making a huge mess.
Currently the iOS app is well designed with plenty of room for growth. Future app updates will hopefully add additional coloring pages and elements to keep the app from becoming less interesting. Hopefully the iMarker itself will work with future Crayola apps making it not just tied to the Crayola ColorStudio HD.
As an adult I give the Crayola ColorStudio HD a 4/5 while my kids go with 5/5 for an average of 4.5/5.
+Stylus has ten-minute inactivity auto shut off
+Crayola ColorStudio HD has plenty of upgrade potential
+Can use stylus or fingers for coloring
+Nothing to clean up after using Crayola ColorStudio HD
-Cap can get lost easily
-iMarker requires moderate amount of pressure to be detected
-Does not quite replace the coloring on paper experience