I have seen the words “art” and “therapy” paired before, and that’s what makes me an expert on the topic. I wanted to assert that immediately. I did just look up its definition on google dictionary to make sure that it wasn’t somehow the opposite of what it sounds like it should be, and I was right all along. It is very certainly a way to feel better by making art!
As you know, we at the Sneer Campaign are old veterans in the field of needing to feel better and we try every method we possibly can, all day every day. Art therapy comes naturally to me, of course, since I am nonstop illustrating for this site, and also it’s the closest thing I have to some sort of a career. “Artist.” I mean that’s why I have such robustly good mental health!! So I thought that I would guide you on how to get better by drawin’ or paintin’ — and also how maybe you shouldn’t. Or maybe you should?? “Free Expression” comes with a price, though. Never forget that.
I feel it is important to take a moment to point out that if you are not artistic and are dissatisfied with scribbles of color with fingerpaints mixed with teardrops, you can just use your phone’s camera and filters to take artistic photos of empty coffee cups in black and white, or litter right next to public garbage cans or whatever moves you at the time. Don’t forget to upload it to instagram with a dozen emotional tags!
Scribble Away the Pain
When I am especially distraught, all I can muster is this, the easiest form of art therapy that there can be. I usually take a pen, but a pencil or crayon will also do the trick, and simply scribble on a sheet of paper. Personally, my scribbles are small and dark, indicating something that a licensed therapist could make sense of, but to me they are just motions of the hand while the rest of me is face down on my table or desk, weeping pitifully. How do I feel afterward? Well, it is my cry that helps the most, but I also am left with a sense of bewilderment and maybe amusement. “Haha,” I sort of laugh. “What a good use of paper.” BUT IT IS.
Skilled Illustrations without Intention to Sell
A lot of my energy seems to be spent on creating things for public consumption, or because someone commissioned me. Sometimes, I even make things that I’ll just offer up for sale somehow later. Or gifts! I make gifts. It seems like it is very rare that I make a drawing or painting just because I want to. As it turns out, doing so offers a therapeutic sort of distraction, and I feel better after I do it! It’s good practice. And honestly, if it’s good enough, I’ll probably try to sell it anyway.
Emotional Landscape Scenery
Bob Ross had a good idea with his happy little forest scenes. He wanted to soothe and make pleasant. You can do whatever you want though, and if you would feel better drawing an icy glacier because that’s your internal life, then do it. If you want to paint wildflower meadows, then yes. If you want to paint them using only a certain monochromatic scheme based on chromotherapy, then fine. If you want to paint the pain of a forest fire, a polluted swamp, or any number of natural disasters — then wow that’s some heavy material but do it! DO IT!
Enthusiasts of the Secret, the power of intention, vision boards, and our articles on things like that all agree that it’s a great idea to visualize yourself living the life you want. Of course, in this case, what we want is just an absence of mood swings and no more depression. So draw yourself in a grave hahaha I’M ONLY KIDDING. Draw yourself eating a bunch of responsibly prescribed medications. Ahyuck hyuck. No, how about drawing yourself petting a baby deer, or floating on a cloud doing yoga? I find that I wind up drawing a picture of myself crying, and clearly that is why I never get better. It’s all my fault. sob sob
Pictures of Your Friends… and Your Frenemies
One good phase of becoming a better person is wishing happiness and contentment on people other than yourself. Draw a nice portrait of your friend and give it to them. I guess friends like that. Or, you can draw pictures of your friends riding around on unicorns. They might think that’s sweet? Be sure you have established to your friend circle that you do that sort of thing. You could be a real saint and draw nice pictures of people you don’t particularly like.
Maybe you will feel better about being so big-hearted. Draw that awful racist you know winning a million dollars and smile at how nice his life would be. Or draw everyone you hate being hit by war tanks or trampled by bison or choking on burritos and become nourished by evil thoughts. I won’t tell you that it’s “wrong,” but maybe don’t let your therapist, legal guardians, or police officers find notebooks filled with these things or else you could be soon doing art therapy from prison or state institution! But if that’s your goal then reach for the stars!