Old-Fashioned Art Supplies Outshine These New Crayola Products
Two Crayola products recently came to me for review. These are the Digital Light Designer and the Marker Airbrush, recommended for ages 6 and up.
Being a huge fan of Crayola, I was so excited. My 6 year old, quite the budding artist, couldn’t wait to get her hands on these two new toys from Crayola, both released this past September. Even my 11 year old, who normally would only pick up anything Crayola for school projects now, was intrigued.
We tried the Marker Airbrush first, and since the Digital Light Designer looked so cool, my kids decided it must be saved as the “best for last” one to try. We pulled it all out of the packaging and found the airbrush unit, blank paper sheets, stencil sheets, eight Pip-Squeak Markers, four Bright Fabric Markers and the instruction form. This seemed a little intimidating to my kids alone, so parents were called in to help with setup.
This was a mark against this one for me. I feel like Crayola products should be “user-friendly” to the kid crowd and should set up/clean up quickly. Nonetheless, we continued on and sat down to thoroughly read instructions.
First, cover all work areas. Negative mark number two for me as this instruction means this is going to be super messy, need lots of supervision and require extensive clean up. Pressing on, we read about how to get great spray results on both paper and fabric.
Okay, so we’re ready and we try this thing. And we run into negative mark number three. “Pump the handle 15-20 times to build pressure.” So my kids try it…three pumps. It’s too hard for them; they can’t build enough pressure to get a spray.
Mom is called in. I pump 6-7 times and get bored and only achieve a wimpy spray. Reinforcements are called in and Dad is the only one who can actually pump it the required 15-20 times. We have pressure! And the kids are able to spray one measly little spaceship onto paper. And, they’re done. And I’m left to pick up all the mess and wash up all the splatter that made its way off of our “protected work area.” They’ve never picked this thing up again. At $24.99, no thank you.
We move on to try the Digital Light Designer. On the Crayola website, it averages 3.3 stars out of 5, won the “Best Toy Award, Gold” from The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and the “Toy of the Year Award” from Family Fun Magazine. We’re really stoked about this one. How can we not be? It has LED technology, a 360 degree drawing surface and retails for almost fifty dollars (not including the money you’ll fork over on D batteries to make it work). We’re thinking this thing is going to rock!
The instructions walk you through free draw, special effects, shape fill, saving and clearing designs as well as games, movie making, animation and several others. It is very complicated for children to understand these directions. Also, the tapping, clicking, and dragging required with the stylus to draw do not seem like “second nature”. They never really get the hang of it, and these are very “techie” kids.
As parents, we had trouble understanding this toy as well and had no luck feeling successful in drawing a nice finished product. The graphics are terrible, with so much pixilation that it’s impossible to bring to life the vision in mind. This toy seems to try and compete with technology and modern drawing apps, but I can’t see it winning that genre over anytime soon.
Even worse, the packaging will not close or hold the product together when you’re ready to put it away. This did not hold attention spans from anyone (kids or adults) for longer than three minutes and the worst part was the incredibly loud whirring noise it made the whole time we were trying to draw.
I intentionally left both of these toys out in plain site, easily accessible to my kids for over a month hoping I would see them giving them a second go. They haven’t touched either one. Meanwhile, hours have been spent with crayons, markers and colored pencils in hand. I had hoped these toys would make me the coolest aunt on the block with the latest and greatest toy ideas for nieces and nephews. Instead, I’ll be stuffing their stockings with Crayola’s tried and true classics. Markers and crayons still hold attentions and encourage creativity for much longer.
Digital Light Designer and Marker Airbrush
Both by Crayola
Price: Digital Light Designer: $44.99/
Marker Airbrush: $24.99
|Appealed to my children
|Appealed to adults
|Appealed to both boys and girls
|Would play with more than once
|Instructions were easy to follow
|Packaging: Light Designer/Marker Airbrush||1/4|
|Would travel well
|I would purchase this for my family
|I would purchase this as a gift
All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Meet The Reviewer!
Leah Eiden is a former Interior Designer turned stay-at-home mom. She enjoys volunteering in the classrooms of her two children, ages 11 and 6. In her free time, she enjoys contributing to her blog Lizardraerambles.blogspot.com and teaches art and science classes to children at local recreational centers.