Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2015

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.

It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.

The review package Griffin sent us contains a single piece, a marker and documentation. The idea is fairly simple, almost crazily so: the main hardware piece is an adjustable clip that fastens onto a tablet (or, as became apparent during testing, even larger phablets). This clip’s main purpose is to hold a single sheet of paper plush against the device screen.

The secondary part of this combo is the Crayola Trace & Draw companion application, available on the Play Store. This app powers the images that are the core to the tool. The app contains a bunch of relatively simple basic images, black on white for efficacy, and grouped generally for identification. Now, with the device screen at the brightest setting (as the application advises) and a plain non-opaque piece of paper in place as described earlier, one can use the included marker to trace the image which shows through the paper.


The app has some simple child/adult-friendly tricks up its sleeve to make the process as successful as possible. One pertinent method is the way is presents the image to be traced — in parts, such that one is overwhelmed with one difficult image all at once, but a smaller section that is more easily reproduced. When that section is completed, the budding artist can tap on an arrow that adds a new section to be added, and so on till the outline is completed.

When the outline is indeed finished, the young (or old) Rembrandt can then take the sheet off and further enhance the future masterpiece.

The system is rated for kids 3+, and I was able to try it out with my tablet-savvy 5-yr-old. Simply put, she loved it, and raided the printer for paper like a vagabond. She was able to get the hang of it almost immediately, and the app was easy enough for her to manipulate on her own. I find it quite interesting that she views the old Nook Color as primarily a tool to create art now. We (yes, we) were able to use pencils and such to do the initial trace too. Nifty.

When it’s all said and done, I really appreciate it. It’s simple, affordable ($19.99 on the Griffin website), and even useful. If only to see a continued smile on my daughter’s face, hats off to Griffin for encouraging childhood creativity.

Notepad+ Review

Notepad+ Review

Aug 14, 2014

For the mobile-centric person, it helps to have a quick method of entering notes. Notepad+ looks to be a intuitive solution.

The opening interface is fairly simple, and the developer does a good job of making the app feel intuitive off the bat. After installing, the huge plus (+) sign within a larger rectangle rests to the top left of the screen, and tapping it opens the main notebook/album page. Here, one can choose to enter a note by handwriting by finger or typing entries via device keyboard. The notebook title can also be selected, along with paper style from several offered types.

The handwriting feature is great for quick entries with a minimum of prior touches, and is quite easy to note1manipulate. It allows for several different colors and line thicknesses to be used, so one can “write” with different colored “ink” too. As most hand/finger-writing tools, block lettering is probably easier to decipher than cursive. Of course, one can draw objects with this entry method as well.

One unique feature is said method of entering typed text. When the text icon is selected, the user is prompted to tap on a free part of the screen, and, when performed, an adjustable text box appears in which the typed text can be placed. For customization feens, Notepad+ covers the bases: text font and colors can be adjusted via the adjustment tools that appear above the keyboard.

A notebook or album can have multiple pages within; to enter a second page, just swipe across the page to start a second note, and so on and so forth. This is useful for blocks of ideas, or categorized groups of entries. As an added bonus, notebooks can be assigned a four digit password for privacy.

The app provides share functionality, and incorporates the expected tools: email, bluetooth, messaging and more. It gave every share possible app on our test device as an option to send with.

The app is pretty good, but this leads to my biggest gripe: the lack of sync functionality. It begs to be used across devices, and I would have loved a common repository of notes. The share functionality somewhat alleviates this concern.

As a standalone app, I works well, and feels quite worth the $1.99 asking price.

Get A Personal Caricature With Photolamus

Get A Personal Caricature With Photolamus

Mar 11, 2014

Photolamus 3

Photolamus users can send their photos to artists and get hand-drawn caricatures of themselves back. No photo-manipulation, just good-old digital painting. The app itself is free, but the commissions are obviously not, although the app claims they’re quite affordable. It can be downloaded for free from here: Photolamus on Google Play.

Introducing Draw it!, A Minimalistic Drawing App

Introducing Draw it!, A Minimalistic Drawing App

Oct 30, 2013

Draw it! 1

It’s quite funny to note that most of graphic design apps for mobiles lack some good design themselves. Draw it! may not be the fullest toolbox in the shed, but it’s quite handy. It has quite enough features for a casual doodle, and has very simple interface. Draw it! can be downloaded for free from here: Draw it! on Google Play.

Scribbler Pro App Review

Scribbler Pro App Review

Dec 29, 2010

I am the proud father of a left handed 4 year old artist who loves to draw. She draws on paper, sidewalks, Fisher-Price Doodle Pro’s and anything else she can get her hands on. My Android phone is no exception, which means it is always stocked with drawing apps. Next on my list of drawing apps to review is Scribbler Pro by developer Rich Stern. Scribbler Pro is the paid version of Scribbler and costs $.99 in the Android Market. This feature rich touch drawing app for Android is great for artists of all ages and offers a variety of pick up and draw presets to get you started. I would now like to draw (pun intended) your attention to the Android Rundown of Scribbler Pro and then you can decide if this application is your box of crayons.