Next Question… Defining “tools”

Pencil art

Pencil art (Photo credit: Nalini Prasanna)


To provide easy access to basic creative tools for local patients, residents of long-term care facilities, foster children, and other members of the community who may not have access to such tools.

It’s a start, but some things still need to be addressed.

A comment left on the last post got me thinking not only about adaptive devices (designed for those with difficulties holding and writing with pens/pencils/etc.), but also that there are probably many special considerations to be made when making these “kits.”

What tools should be included in the “standard” kit, and what other specially designed tools might be needed?

I’m thinking the sketchbook/journal is a given! Also- a pencil with eraser and sharpener, and a decent ink pen should automatically be included. Since the scope of recipients has widened, feasibility should be considered as we think more about materials (i.e. maybe not the ridiculously expensive specialty colored pastels one of my art teachers made me buy once… Ouch!)

Something that allows for the inclusion of color- crayons, colored pencils, markers, or even watercolors.

Unless something changes my mind, I’m adverse to markers (they dry out too fast, and even I have a hard time being perfect about getting the cap on completely every time) and crayons (they melt and get messy). Even though they wash out and are wonderfully expressive, I’m concerned with mess with watercolors as well.

I don’t know what the costs would be, but I do know that they make relatively inexpensive watercolor pencils. These are a favorite of mine, since you can use them as both regular colored pencils (if you don’t add water) or, as the name implies, get a pretty cool effect by adding water with a “pen” designed to only add water. This “water pen” however, might cost a bit more and be a bit to complicated for people with certain disabilities- I’m not sure.

Perhaps this leaves me with a regular pack of colored pencils. Just your standard rainbow colors. Easy, cheap, and the sharpener for the regular pencil would work on these too (preferably a sharpener with one of those plastic tops to catch the mess?)

Pen, regular pencil and eraser, pencil sharpener, and colored pencils. 

So far all I can think of are adaptive devices to go along with these for certain groups- since the supplies are all about the same diameter, probably only one, interchangeable device would be needed per kit.

Anything else? Anyone in the healthcare field (HCP or even a previous or current patient or former or current foster child?????) have any specific concerns that might arise with the above materials? And does anyone have a suggestion about the size of the books? 

Comments are so greatly appreciated you don’t even know!!! PLEASE comment!

Best wishes,

❤ Amy

UPDATE:

Found this awesome blog post- definitely helpful and food for thought.

http://creativityintherapy.blogspot.com/2013/01/media-choices-in-therapy.html

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More Research! So many studies…

OK. I think I’m in neck deep with medical based studies investigating the efficacy of art therapy.

If you just want a list of TONS of examples (from ADD to grief to traumatic brain injuries)- here is a good PDF list from the American Art Therapy Association. For each study listed there is a section summarizing findings, and additional information on the validity of the study (and the limitations of that study, in some cases). Basically: an overwhelming amount of support for the role art therapy can have in health care.

One thought before I move on and forget it: I found one study particularly interesting in its investigation into the methods used. (#14, summary on page 34). The study is limited, and focuses on young sexual abuse victims specifically and does not address the healthcare community in a greater sense, but the findings could be potentially useful in how the sketchbooks/kits are put together.

“It was found that children produced more formed expressions and creative/design elements and less chaotic discharge and stereotypic art through the art project that involved few instructions and few materials… versus involved, ‘multiple instructions and materials'”

This is something I hadn’t thought about from the standpoint of providing a creative outlet. I assumed that the main need for access to art supplies was driven partly by lack of money and partly by lack of artistic exposure. Basically, according to this preliminary study, less is more. I had originally planned only to provide basic materials anyway- as organizing instruction on such a wide scale is probably much too much of a task for me- but did not realize that this could actually be more beneficial to the receivers. A less structured environment has always helped foster my creativity, and the less instruction I received, the more creative I was (and almost had to be). It does make sense that minimal to no instruction would leave the possibilities as endless as the creator’s imagination.

Then too is the inevitable discussion of costs and donations. Though not necessarily monetary donations, at some point some sort of drawing/writing supplies will be needed to go along with the sketchbooks themselves. This begs the following inevitable questions of “How much can be given?” and “How much is needed?

According to this study, perhaps only the basics. A pencil, a pen, and something with some color (pencils, crayons, or markers). In terms of what you need to express emotions, a writing utensil and access to colors (emotions and colors are strongly tied- just ask anyone who designs ads…) are really all you need. Whether the person receiving the supplies writes, draws, sketches, scribbles, whether what they create is deep and meaningful or simply an exploration of aesthetics, whether the end product is useful or useless- it doesn’t matter. Each person will need something different from their sketchbook.  Just as no two illnesses are identical, and no two sets of treatments are prescribed in the same manner, no two people will use a sketchbook in the same way.

So here’s my question for you- the part where the reader has the chance to help ME out a little ;-D

What would YOU do with a sketchbook, a pencil, a pen, and some crayons? How would you fill the book? 

(In case you haven’t caught the hint yet- I am asking for some comments!!!! THIS IS NOT A RHETORICAL QUESTION PEOPLE!)

Pinterest Idea Board Up! Please Use and Comment!

So I need ideas for the basic “make-up” of the sketchbook packages or kits. I put a few of my own pins on the board, but I would LOVE to have as much input as possible. If you follow the board, I will try my very best to add you ASAP so you can contribute. Also- comments on existing posts would be wonderful. Feel free to use my pins as a springboard for your own ideas- as your ideas will end up being a springboard for mine too 😉

Here is the link: http://pinterest.com/UnknownAmy/sketch4health-idea-board/

Or you can look me up at Pinterest at Unknown Amy and look for the board *Sketch4Health Idea Board*

Thanks for all of your help!

Best wishes,

❤ Amy