Nintendo's Create Britain tour kicked off today by the banks of the River Thames with an Art Academy lesson hosted by artist Pam Glew. Passers-by were invited to get involved with the DS art package, with a local primary school also stopping by to try their hand at recreating Canaletto's famous painting of Westminster Bridge.

While not everybody's efforts were quite as artistically advanced — to put it politely — as others, those who got involved seemed impressed by the software's potential, with all ages trying it out.

The UK-wide tour runs until June 26th as part of Nintendo's effort to get Britons into art, as the company's research suggests 58% of UK citizens would like to get more involved in art and 30% of the British population have never created a piece of art.

If you want to try your hand at Art Academy, these are the tour dates:

Brent Cross, North London – May 19th to 22nd
St Davids, Cardiff – May 26th to 29th
MetroCentre, Gateshead, Newcastle – June 2nd to 5th
Bullring, Birmingham – June 9th to 12th
Arndale Centre, Manchester – June 16th to 19th
Braehead, Scotland – June 23rd to 26th


New research shows that Brits don’t believe they have any artistic ability, as Nintendo launches the Create Britain campaign -

19th May 2011: Research today reveals that 66% of Brits haven’t visited an art gallery or exhibition in the last 12 months, and 40% find creating pieces of art intimidating because of concerns about their ability.

Nintendo is launching Create Britain, a campaign to encourage people to be more creative and to try painting and drawing. The research, commissioned by Nintendo, shows that fewer and fewer people are engaging with art but 58% would like the opportunity to get more involved with art, but feel they need help from technology and skilled experts to get them on the right path.

This is where Create Britain comes in, by using Art Academy on the Nintendo DS. Art can be accessible to all and Nintendo Art Academy makes this journey possible with quick and simple tutorials to enable you to learn basic painting and drawing skills. Because the Nintendo DS is portable, it can act as an electronic sketch book that is easy to use while out. In addition, the camera allows you to capture images which can later be sketched or painted. 20% of people believe that being able to create art using technology would help them make art more accessible to their children and grandchildren.

Dawn Paine, Marketing Director, Nintendo UK, commented: “Art can feel very intimidating if you don’t have confidence in your ability. The Create Britain campaign is a great way for people with any level of drawing ability to try out drawing on Nintendo DS. Over 12 million people in the UK own a Nintendo DS, so it is a familiar tool for them to engage in art. They’ll see how easy it is to learn the basic skills, when previously they may have dismissed art as too hard or not relevant to them”.

To kick of the campaign, Create Britain is supporting an impromptu art master class at the Queens Walk, outside County Hall on the Southbank on Thursday 19th May at 08.30-09.30am, where members of the public will be encouraged to take part in a unique art master class by the river. Here you will have the chance to sketch on DSi XL using Art Academy to get you started on your drawing journey; there will also be the opportunity to sketch on your very own canvas!

Contemporary British artist Pam Glew will lead the master class and will be on hand to give advice and tutoring on how to recreate your very own interpretation of one of Canaletto’s iconic paintings of Westminster Bridge. The class is open to all abilities and levels of art interest.

‘Art Academy on Nintendo DS is a great way to open up art to all ages and abilities,” said Pam Glew. “It’s important that people don’t see art as intimidating and that we get more people drawing. Art Academy is a great way to start, I found it very addictive. Having created pictures with Art Academy on Nintendo DS I found the process easy, engaging and most of all fun, which is what art is all about. The paints and pencils feel very true to life and give great effects. “

From 09.30 onwards children from St Clemence Danes Primary School will be joining the group for their own mini master class on Canaletto and his work, using the Nintendo DS and Art Academy.

London is the first city in a national tour of free art classes, where members of the public will have the opportunity to recreate famous local paintings on Nintendo DS as part of the Create Britain campaign. Other cities include Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.