CollArt- Reference topics and Art therapy assessments

“A series of digital application for art therapy that reflect physical tool”


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All the reference art therapy assessment is included in the previous post of Feature and function.

Among them, I made the criteria list for choosing:

  • Most used- popular art assessments
  • Attracting – Interesting topics
  • User Friendly-  seems be able to develop in digital format
  • feed back – being able to give some reflection to user.

Example of hand drawing mandala

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Hand Writing: The problem I have encountered.

The rule of making a mandala is easy from center to the outward. But it is not easy to draw on upside down direction, hard to align, and unable for trial and error. Although these situation can be resolved by constant practices, therapy is not happened that author focus on drawing skill perfection.


reference topics

According the Art Therapy Association blog, there are plenty of reference on creative method on doing art therapy.

If the function of reference topic is working, I will consider included these topics inside and see if it can be developed into a continuous developing tool.

Here are some example:

Emotions- Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.

1.     Draw or paint your emotions.

In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.

2.     Create an emotion wheel.

Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.

3.     Make a stress painting.

Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble and paint your problems away.

4.     Art journal. Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.

5 strory telling

6.     Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you’re feeling.

7.     Draw a postcard you will never send.

Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.

8.     Create a sculpture of your anger. For this activity, you’ll make a physical manifestation of the anger in your life.

9.     Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.

10.  Nagative balloon.

Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.

11.     Paint inside a heart.

Using a heart as a pattern, fill in different parts of the heart with the emotions you’re feeling right now.


Thanks to Sarah’s feed back. It’s a good news for learning thesis in journal format.

Graphic literature research –

Here is the outline for illustration and dialoge that will accompany the written format.

Sequence 1. Introduction and background explanation

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sequence 2 Defining problem

  • – What’s wrong with current art therapy?
  • – visual communication
  • – Precedents

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  • -Concept of digital tool

sequence 3 Methodology

  • – Hypothesis of solution

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  • – concept of group art
  • – Limitation

Sequence 4  Production

  • What can CollART do?
  • Who is the project for?

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  • Technical instruction
  • Ending

CollART Feature list

Processing code

Function that separate into detail:

W- function are working / B- working but has bug! / R- reference using / N-not working

  • drawing object -W
  • Mouse Drag and release W
  • Button mouse rollover W R
  • Color Paltte- W
  • OSC P2P sending data W B
  • Control Panel – W B
  • Sysmetric drawing – w
  • color analysis WR
  • color detect WR
  • color spectrum – N R
  • Trace Silhoutte N R
  • Sliding menu-N
  • Gravity accelerator  R N
  • Layers R N
  • Earsing -B
  • Save/Load
  • Text Input
  • account
  • xml- undo/redo
  • Pressure sensitivity  R
  • info
  • sound response

CollARTFunction/Features draft

In the beginning, the app was designed to have six different type of drawing.

I separate them into

1. Free Drawing (DDS)- free drawing is an intuitive tool to express visually. Communication of the painting can throughcolor, stroke or the content that author stressing.


The nature of creating a mandala is symbolic and abstract. Using mathematics, technology provide an easier way to draw mandala from a blank canvas. The process for making mandala is through the progress t provide painter a focus mind on the small goal. The content in mandala can be separate into layers. For example, the center will normally be a center of inner life and outer circle showed the whole perception in outer life. It is not always obvious but through color, shape, how pattern are arrange, we do can find more or less clues in mandala as a reference to understand an inner mind. The pattern of a circle with a center is a structure that related to our nature world. Flower, for example, is obvious with the center structure that reflects harmony from the inward to the outward.

3. Geometry collaging(n/a) Inspired by mathmetics and Tangram Master puzzle game, I decide instead of using Image collaging, geometry is more systematics and easy to play with. It is also time consuming to place a mosaic pattern. User needs to focus and put efforts of her/his creativity.

4 Topic sculpture creating(HFD,BND,PPAT,BD)-(Human figure drawing, Bird Nest Drawing, a Person Pick an Apple from the Tree, Bridge drawing. )

These four methods can be separated. Because they are all contents-based method, I put all of them into the same box. Instead of drawing and pulling the idea on a piece of paper, user who are painful in drawing can have a visual stimulus, a choice list and limited freedom to build a painting to express themselves.

How it interact is that user choose from a component box and put them on the canvas. For instance, in human figure drawing , user choose short and high figure; body movement; face expression; Bird Nest Drawing includes component of: Bird type; size; numbers; eggs; nest structure; tree shape; scene.

5 Family portrait(FCC) -(Family Centered Circle)This one is for creating group picture directly indicating a family situation. A family portrait can tell the family relationship straight forward. Bird Nest Drawing and Bridge drawing can also test personal attachment.

6.Mood color (n/a) This idea comes from movable therapy when mobile app being applied into psychology usage. Lacking of clinical data found.

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2013-03-13 14-57_Page_2Reference research:

The tools examined in the analysis are presented by A Systematic Analysis of Art Therapy Assessment and Rating Instrument Literature are:


Art Therapy Assessment Instruments Included in the Systematic Analysis

Corresponding Standardized Rating System

Bird’s Nest Drawing (BND) (Kaiser, 1993)

Attachment Rating Scale (Kaiser, 1993)

Bridge Drawing (Hays & Lyons, 1981)

12 variables assembled by authors (informal)

Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS) (Cohen, Hammer & Singer, 1988)

Drawing Analysis Form; Content Checklist (Cohen, 1985/1994)

A Favorite Kind of Day (Manning Rauch, 1987)

Aggression Depicted in the AFKD Rating Instrument (A three-item checklist) (Manning Rauch, 1987)

Person Picking an Apple From a Tree (PPAT)

Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS) (Gantt & Tabone, 1998)

The research also did the statistic research on the most used method among art therapists. Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS) is highly being used. Bird’s Nest Drawing (BND) and the Person Picking an Apple from a Tree (PPAT) are both the second. Because DDS takes time and professional training longer than any other method, I decided to start investigate Bird Nest Drawing first. The research result has some interesting findings in new media format. The detail will be explained in technical module.

However, many of the digital format has not being highly used and no data showing they are qualify for art therapy.

Cathy Malchiodi, an art therapist, who has researched the field of healing arts for many years, believes that digital media is a accessible method and means for self-expression.(The link has introduction of her published books.) In her blog, she expressed the idea of what possibility of embracing digital technology into this profession.

CollART Exhibition research

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Designing Interactive Exhibits

Stephen Bitgood

Jacksonville State University

Winter, 1991 Volume VI Number 4 Page 4


1. Anticipate how visitors might make errors and try to minimize these errors with physical or psychological constraints (Norman, 1988).

 – misuse of the app 

– confused by instruction

2. Controls must provide feedback to user.  Interactive devices work better if redundant feedback is given to users (e.g., Diamond, 1991). Judy Diamond (1991) found that in the exhibit, Radioactive Rock, visitors needed redundancy in order to see the effect of radiation. Redundancy included hearing clicks, seeing a red light, and reading a dial to indicate the strength of radiation.

– sound effect added?

3. Timing of events. How long does it take for the device to be activated once a response is made? Text and graphics should appear as quickly as possible. It is also desirable for visitors to be able to control the speed at which the display responds.

4. Sensitivity of controls. How sensitive are the controls? Are they oversensitive? Menninger (1991) reported that a common complaint in an evaluation of an interactive videodisc at the Getty Museum was an oversensitive touch screen.

5. Selection of controls. Controls may be either mechanical (e.g., wheels, handles, levers, cranks) or electrical (e.g., pushbuttons, trackballs, joysticks). The user’s energy is directly transmitted to the exhibit when mechanical controls are used, while electrical controls let the device do the work. Touch screens are easy to master and overcome many of the problems associated with keyboards. 

6. Placement of controls. Kennedy (1990) argues that controls should be placed within 10 inches of the front of an
exhibit. Trial testing should ensure proper placement.

7. Computer software navigation. It should be easy to navigate through the exhibit program. Ideally, the program should be at the beginning when the visitor approaches. Alternatively, it should be obvious how to get to the beginning.

 * Important – what if users use demonstration tablet doing something else? 

8. Perceptual and physical limitations of users. Designers must be aware of the perceptual and physical limitations of the human body (Miles, et al, 1982). Controls and instructions should not be placed too high or too low since it requires extra work and may interfere with the visitor’s performance.

See Kennedy (1990) for more detailed anthropometric guidelines relevant to designing interactive exhibits so that they accommodate a wide range of physical sizes of users.

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9. Plan for multi-person use. Visitors often use interactive devices as a group. For example, Driscoll (1990) found that visitors tended to share the Color & Light exhibit computer as a group even though it was originally designed for one user at a time. If possible, exhibits should be designed to accommodate this inherent sociability factor. Duensing (1987) reports: “We have noticed at the Exploratorium that not only is it fun for people to do things together at an exhibit, it is also fun to watch others” (p. 141). Providing more than one seat at a station and enough space for others to observe the user should help accommodate group usage of the interactive.

– CollArt is group work together. How to make the signs more clear? 

10. Design for the physically disabled. Moveable seats are desirable so that wheelchair bound visitors can use the exhibit unobstructed. Kennedy (1990) suggests specific dimensions for designing the exhibit table/counter for wheelchair access.

11. Required time of use. It is sometimes difficult to keep visitors at one exhibit for a prolonged period of time. Other exhibits may draw visitors away after a minute or two. On the other hand, a successful device might have the opposite effect, i.e., resulting in one visitor dominating time on the exhibit. In this case, limiting time on the device may be necessary. For example, the Denver Museum of Natural History has a driving test device in which visitors use a coded plastic card. The device is therefore able to restrict visitors to a single use of the device, enabling others to have their turn.

– not sure if required. 

12. Select meaningful response requirements. Interactive devices can be effective in guiding meaningful outcomes, such as understanding a natural phenomenon or a concept. However, interactives are too often used in a meaningless way. For example, Borun (1977) found that “…pushbuttons are frequently only start buttons and don’t allow real interaction with the display. They do not help visitors to perceive significant cause and effect relationships… We conclude from the above that pushbuttons seem to hinder rather than help the communication of scientific facts and principles (p.67).”

13.The use of controls should be clear. A button is obviously for pushing, around handle for turning, levers are for pulling, etc. (Kennedy, 1990). If necessary control labels should tell what to do (e.g., “press,” “push,” “pull”). If there is more than one control, is their sequence obvious? (Wagner, 1991).

* Signs in the interface should be added

CollART Schedule PartII



production of at least three function

– mandala  80%

– free draw 60%

– geometry collage 20%

* discussion function of tag

It work separate in individual and group

OSC function has finished!


*if given time – art therapy idea should be added


function/production schedule                               technical issue  in Processing

week1  geometry function finished                                      array list/ mouse Drag

week2  discussion reflect (in group/personal)                tag and text box/ communication

week3   color mood sender* (draft has not yet )                   ??

week4 Combining all function and testing                         menu and refine interface

Before April, there should be something already functional!