Friday, October 13, 2023

Assistive Technology in Art-Making

Long ago, I worked in the field of assistive technology.  That work focused almost entirely on computer usage.

Recently, my friend Judi Kauffman gave me a germ for the idea of applying the concept to art-making, with a focus mostly on a hands-on approach.

My original idea had been to wonder whether Pan Pastels might work for anyone with finger disability, since it would take just one finger to collect this soft, chalky color and apply it.  Many of you readers probably already know that textures surfaces work nicely with this medium ... especially  black watercolor paper.

Of course, to get crisp imagery with stencils or masks and Pan Pastels, a smooth surface would work much better than a textured one.  Think mineral paper, Yupo, etc.

That original idea became my launching pad.  I did internet searches for assistive technology, as applied to art-making.  Some of my findings would work well with stencils and masks.  Experimenting would be half the fun!

In no particular order, here are tidbits from my research-- Sky Castle DoodleJamz JellyBoards — Squishy Drawing Pads Filled with Non-Toxic Sensory Gel – No-Mess Fidget Art – ASMR – Re-usable for Endless Artistic Creations (Blue and Red Gel) : Toys & Games--

(About this first one, above:  There exists a larger version, considered a toy, that I bought for my grandson -- but the minute I opened its box, I fell in love with it myself.)


(Above:  Many versions of this exist.  Some are foam plastic tubes of various shapes and thicknesses.  Next up, below:  something similar. Both this one and the one following below would work with stencil- and mask-art-making.)



(Above:  Many of us who make art using stencils and masks have already added these to our supply of tools.)  


(Above:  I wonder whether this might work with pastel sticks, Stabilo Woody Pencils, Marabu Mixed Media Art Crayons and the like.   For results that you may like best, I strongly recommend that pastel sticks and similar media be used with masks and stencils that have a maximum of wide-open areas and a minimum of finely-detailed areas.  Examples:  Hot Air Balloon And Mask s547;  Penguin Family s393; Pair o' Parrots s395Cats s183; Osprey Wings s176. The best choice might be Stabilo Woody Pencils because these often come with specially-sized sharpeners that create a fine-point tip.


(Above:  It looks as if the plastic "caps" can be removed from these scissor blades, which might make more sense for adults.  I'm including scissors for those of us who like to cut apart our papers printed with stencils and masks, for collage, etc.)


(Above:  There are lots of versions of watercolor brushes. Some appear to have better handles than others, depending on the needs of the individual.  I used to use these when traveling because all you need is a watercolor brush and pan watercolors or watercolor crayons or pencils.  When using watercolor with stencils and masks, I recommend minimal amounts of water for best results.)

Thanks for checking out my blog today! To scroll thru the pages of my stencils and masks at, please start here.

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