By Amanda Chen

Art Therapy is more about the art making process, rather than the result or the grade, however there is an element of art education that still needs to be present. In the similar concept where words are not enough, where in some cases children have not developed the vocabulary and words to fully express how they feel, if the child does not have the basic art making skills, they would not be able to fully express themselves either.

For the case of Ann* (names have been changed to protect the identity of the child), while she was happy making marks using paints, she was not able to paint or create exactly what she wanted because she did not have any prior art making knowledge or skills.

During her first session, where an assessment was conducted, she did take well to making art, but what she could do was limited. She painted Thomas & Friends trains, something she liked and wanted to share. But looking at the image, no one could figure out what she was creating. (see image below)

During the second session, she was taught some basic drawing and colouring skills with pencils and markers, with the correct ways to use them. Immediately after the session was finished, on her own, she took out her sketchbook and began to apply what she had learnt into what she wanted to do. What she achieved on her own, after that session was amazing. She managed to create faces to her character and add more form and structure to her work. This was extremely encouraging for not only Ann, but for her parents and therapist. She was proud of what she had created and continues to develop a keen interest towards art and her art making process. (see image below)

From that one example, teaching a child a skill set that develops into mastery, an important attribute to the creative development process of creative self-expression.