This is mostly written for the few people interested to hear how adding a graphic/comic art style approach to the Art Academy series came out and what to expect (particularly for the Americans who will be waiting till October)
I'm a huge fan of Headstrong Games and Nintendo's Art Academy series, I think they do an amazing job generally of taking the complicated concepts of art and making them much easier to understand. I'm Dyspraxic and for some reason - art lessons have never really worked for me. I know I have the talent, but give me a paintbrush instead of a pencil or digital tablet, then suddenly I look terribly lost. Art Academy as a series teaches a lot of the more traditional concepts in an easy to follow visual and positive manner that really does absolute wonders. I will always sing it's praises as I think doing the "Lessons for Everyone" lessons has genuinely helped me understand how to use my skill better.
I was pretty excited when they announced Pokemon Art Academy all of a sudden, same thing, but with a more basic graphic art slant that's based towards getting kids, and those intimidated by "Lessons from Everyone", onto the art bandwagon. Sure it looked a little basic, but it would be interesting to see how Headstrong took their advanced tools from the series and made them more accessible and easy to understand.
It basically takes you though 3 levels of lessons (like how "Lessons" has an Introductory and Advanced course);
Beginner mostly deals with linework. I deliberately avoided uploading anything from this section for that reason as there's little reason for people to see how smoothly I can draw fennekin. The tutorials start out with simple copy exercises, to simplified guidelines where you start to sketch the character before inking and colouring.
Novice starts to look more at art styles, introducing things like hatching, pastels and shading. Examples below.
Graduate really steps it up a notch, introducing line weighting, advanced shading techniques and effects.
The lessons are delivered in much the same way as "Lessons for Everyone" with each step explained and shown. They even include a rival who draws in a...very unique way. Which actually adds a nice psychological reinforcer, you will always draw "better" than your rival (though you may envy their rather creative approaches to the subject at hand sometimes!) . You are even taught rules that artists have to follow when designing Pokemon TCG art. Which generally can be applied to all art, but is nice to know!
As a long-time artist, while the beginner lessons were mostly easy (still kind of tricky because drawing smooth lines is not all that easy on a 3DS) - I did find novice and graduate had some interesting concepts and ideas I'ld like to explore further. Plus later work like the Mewtwo and Charizard tutorials help show how it's not that hard to make dynamic and interesting art. If nothing else, it's a nice relaxing exercise that allows you to flex those creative muscles.
Outside lessons, there is a bunch of "quick paint" lessons that briefly cover some alternative style ideas, and Pokemon not used in the main lessons. Doing the lessons and quick paints unlocks additional Pokemon references, and has the ability for Nintendo to release additional templates via spotpass (Kyogre and Groudon are presently available as spotpass extras in the EU)
Unlike the previous art academy titles. Pokemon Art Academy has an automatic 2 layer mechanic. Anything drawn with the pen tool is top layer, and anything done with all other tools is done with another layer, they even have separate erasers. There is a simplified opacity tool as well. It's a much more simple toolset than the art academy series usually has, but unlike the Wii U sketchpad, both layers are always editable and active, which makes it easier to draw with if you are used to layers.
I'm not sure if I would recommend it for Free Art use - it's great for practice, but Colours 3D and Lessons for Everyone have much better engines generally. Would I recommend it to newbie artists (or those struggling to find better techniques) ? Absolutely, it teaches a lot of art basics and the hand holding is just enough that you can take some pride in your work after. It'll set you up for all the skills you need to dive headfirst into the art academy main series too. Experienced artists might get something out the later lessons, but otherwise there's more meat in "lessons for everyone" generally. It's clearly designed to lead into the previous title (and hopefully the Wii U Sketchpad lessons if they ever show up)
Hope that helps someone somewhere hah. I'll be moving my Pokemon Art Academy stuff to it's own folder and removing it from featured in the next few days. It's nice to have a record of it here, just hope my own (proper for reals) art reflects the lessons learned