Official Mario Paint VHS Teaches Digital Artistry
June 24, 2020
Nintendo's 1992 release Mario Paint for the Super NES sought to turn the console's audience into artists and musicians with its suite of creative tools, and while the game came with an instructional manual, the learning curve could be steep if you didn't have a basic grasp on the concepts behind digital art and music. Nintendo published an official player's guide packed with stamp templates and basic tips to get you started on your creative adventure, but in Japan you could also get an official Mario Paint instructional videotape. Released by Ape Inc., this thirty-minute video explains how to use the tools in far more detail than any printed page could ever hope and shows off some of the creations developed by the video team. James Eldred at Mostly Retro bought the VHS and ripped it into a YouTube video for posterity. He also has some of the promotional inserts for other guides that came packed in with it, so be sure to go to his site for the full story.
I really wish I would’ve had something like this when I was a kid and playing with Mario Paint. There are some really fantastic tips in here. Using stamps to make ultra-fine lines, for instance, I don’t know if I ever thought of that. I only used stamps to make pixel art.
I enjoyed messing around with Mario Paint as a kid, but never accomplished much beyond recreating sprites from my favorite games with the stamp tool (more pixel art!) and tinkering with the music editor. Nintendo Power would occasionally run images from Mario Paint animation videos sent in by very talented artists that blew away anything I could ever hope to create. It was intimidating stuff and helped drive me back over to Super Mario Kart when the inspiration ran out.