Sometimes the 3DS and Wii U are useful for more than just playing games. A quick glance in the eShop and you can find plenty of tools and other applications available for download. Most are worthless calendars or clocks, but there are some really high-quality art and music creation apps as well, if you’re in the mood for being creative. Comic Workshop from Collavier Corporation is an example of one of these great apps on 3DS for people interested in, well, comic creation. It caters to all forms of comics — from graphic novels to manga — and has all the tools any artist would crave. It does suffer from a somewhat cramped interface on the 3DS’ small screen, but it’s an awesome tool for people looking to create comics on the go.
I assume most people reading this review understand that Comic Workshop is not a game but a creation tool, but be assured: this is a full-fledged tool for creating comics and not just a bare bones drawing app. This doesn’t mean that it only caters to veteran artists or people who know a great deal about comics, though. Comic Workshop has some great, lengthy tutorials to get beginners brushed up on all the essential tools and tips to feel right at home. It’s also nice to know that you can choose to skip any of the tutorials if you want to start creating right away and always come back if you get stuck or can’t figure out how to use a certain tool.
In terms of the tools available to you, I don’t think anyone will be displeased. There are all the basics like pencils, paint buckets, and shape tools, but veteran artists will be happy to know Comic Workshop features advanced tools like story-boarding, clean copy, and layer management. The most important tool of all, however, might be Comic Workshop’s great, yet simple type tool. A type tool may not seem like that big of an achievement in itself and it doesn’t stray from the typical type tool found in programs like Photoshop or Word, but in a drawing app found on the 3DS, having a good way to incorporate type is essential. Look at Miiverse; it’s a great social networking app, but most of the time when there is (handwritten) text incorporated with a drawing, it looks abysmal. No worries anymore, because Comic Workshop has a simple, effective type tool that will fulfill all your font desires.
Comic Workshop has all the bells and whistles I hoped it would have, and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed in the technical aspects of the program. One problem I just can’t get over, however, isn’t directly related to the application itself: the size of the 3DS’ screens, specifically for a drawing application. I have done a lot of digital drawing over the last 10 years, and usually I find myself in front of a large computer screen, so being stuck with the tiny screen dimensions of the 3DS really just rubbed me the wrong way. I have no problem with the 3DS screen size for normal games, but when I start to use it for art it seems more like a Game Boy Micro.
The fact that the only problem I found with Comic Workshop comes from the hardware that it’s released on is an achievement in itself. If you don’t mind the smaller screen dimensions and understand that what you are getting here is not a game, you will have a great time with Comic Workshop. It’s a complete package and doesn’t leave anything out when it comes to creating comics and really does lend itself to all different styles of comics. If you want a portable workshop for comic creation, look no further than Comic Workshop.