By: Pamela Ullmann, ATR-BC, LCAT
copyright 2011. Pamela Ullmann. This blog post has been reprinted with express permission of the author as it appeared on her Colors of Play blog
Many years ago, while attending an Art Therapy conference I went to an Open Studio where I participated in a technique called “Touch Drawing”. The artist, Deborah Koff-Chapin who created this unique approach to artmaking still offers workshops and literature out in California. Her work is beautiful and ethereal.
You can see a video demo on her website http://touchdrawing.com/2TouchDrawing/TDdemo.html
I recently decided to re-explore this technique and began dabbling with touch drawing again. I thought that the tactile qualities of tough drawing might be an interesting material to try with the children and families that I work with that have mild ASD. In Open Studio, we had some children who had mild tactile defensiveness which proved to be an non-issue after offering the Touch Drawing!
I think this creative modality serves the child very well, as it has the ability to be very “hands-on” (literally) and yet is not as messy as traditional finger painting. In addition, there are ways to create texture and layers that allow the artist to experiment and discover new ways of expression. All ages can do this!
Here is the technique, as Deborah Koff Chapin describes:
• Oil paint or printing ink in any colors you like. We recommend water mixable student grade oil paints.
• Printmaking roller(brayer) is used to roll the paint smooth.
• A smooth, nonabsorbent surfacelike glass, plastic or dry erase board is used for a drawing surface.
•Plenty of paper; very lightweight like wrapping tissue is good but anything will work.
Doing Touch Drawing Yourself
• Put a small amount of paint on the drawing board. It is best to start with one color.
• Roll the paint smooth and place a sheet of paper on top of the paint.
• Touch the paper with your fingernails, fingertips and palms. Try using both hands some of the time.
• Become aware of body sensations and trace them on the paper. They might be abstract patterns or images.
• Lay the drawings on top of one another as they are done.
• Roll the board smooth between drawings. Only add paint after a few drawings.
• Draw whatever you feel in the moment. They do not have to be ‘pretty pictures’.
• The longer you stay with it, the deeper you will go.
• When you are finished drawing, roll the paint smooth and leave it to dry.
I recommend doing some touch drawing
Featured Author: Pamela Ullmann, ATR-BC,LCAT
Many thanks to Pamela Ullmann for providing us with this article for our newsletter and website.
Pamela has worked in a variety of clinical, educational and business settings. Her passion for the arts led her to become an art therapist in 1996.
Pamela works therapeutically with children and families dealing with medical, emotional , behavioral and special needs issues (now specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders). Currently, she is working as an art therapy supervisor for Heartsong, Inc, developing new programming for a new nonprofit organization called Healing Arts Family Connection, Inc and works in her own private practice, Colors of Play, LLC. Please support our contributing authors. Visit Pamela’s Blog, Full Spectrum at http://colorsofplay.blogspot.com/ and her website at: http://www.colorsofplay.com/
In addition to her clinical abilities, Pamela has developed administrative and managerial skills which has enabled her to contribute to all aspects of business planning and development.