The 3DS has an impressive amount of software catered towards artists. A cursory browse through the eShop reveals all manner of apps which can help reach your artistic potential. Comic Workshop 2 is one of the stand-out titles, mainly because comic creation – and manga in particular – is truly a past time catered towards gamers in general. But how does Comic Workshop 2 fare against its contemporaries and prequel?
Win, lose or draw?
Having peeked at the original Comic Workshop, I was mildly disappointed to see not much has changed in this sequel. It’s a bit more streamlined, sure, and it has some more options and tools, but by and large it feels like an updated version of the previous app rather than the next step in its evolution. Still, there’s a lot to love here for fans of the original and even more for those who are trying out the Workshop series for the first time.
Things start off fair enough with a few introductory questions, such as hand preference, whether or not you wish to view a tutorial and what exactly you intend on drawing. Though it’s tempting to dive right in and start divining magic with your stylus, I implore you to take your time and go through all the tutorials, redundant as they may seem. Most of them are quite short and will guide you in the various tools and their applications.
Some things never go out of stylus
Speaking of tools, there’s a surprising amount which will seem familiar to anybody with even a passing familiarity to paint programs. We’re talking panel layouts, pencils, colour fillers, layers, gradients and the ever-popular stamp and sticker collections. With some clever editing, one can create some absolutely gorgeous panels with proper placement of stickers, backgrounds, layers and vibrant colours. And, best of all, you can create your own stamps if you find the standard collection lacking.
It may seem obvious that the stylus is the ideal drawing tool, but it felt a bit restricted drawing on a small 3DS touchscreen. It also seems that such art tools are best suited towards keyboard and mouse tools; the keys and d-pad are apt at moving the canvas around, switching tools and zooming in and out, but none of it seems as quick or as precise as working with a mouse. There are also options to take screenshots and store it on an SD card or upload it to the Miiverse, but again, it feels like too much of a hassle and appears to take entirely too long to accomplish even with a fast connection.
Drawing your own conclusions
I consider myself a person of artistic bent, but while I enjoyed the premise behind Comic Workshop 2, I struggled to see its relevance beyond trying to expand the 3DS’ scope from a game device to a more all-purpose creativity tool. Those who tried out its predecessor will notice changes are few and far between, giving this software the impression of an update patch rather than a new product in its own right. It’s also difficult to recommend it when there are far more feature-packed tools on PC and Mac, which are free too. And anybody who owns a 3DS more than likely can also afford either device in any case.
Should you get it? It’s not an easy sell. In all honesty, you’re probably better off trying an app such as Krita. Nice try, though.