Artistic Refinement Therapy Book (ARTb) Series


This term was selected due to the following two definitions,
AR-TIS-TIC having or revealing natural creative skill
RE-FINE-MENT the improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes

Therefore, this is a therapeutic activity book series for fine motor skill development through exercises exploring creative confidence, focus, problem solving, working memory.

The pillars of experience design for this series:

  • Clarity
    Clean imagery with minimal ourishes or destractions so as to allow the learner maximum creative freedom and reduce confusion in successfully accomplishing the work
  • Accessibility
    Instruction sets in verbal as well as linear forms to allow literate and non-literate learners an opportunity at success and independence throughout the activities
  • Control of Error
    Design features that signal a learner to deviations or errors in their following of an instruction set; allowing for self-correction of errors, in turn raising the crafter’s confidence and belief in his or her capabilities.
  • Discovery
    A tendency toward surprise reveals at the completion of every activity that encourages learning for the sake of creative discovery; promoting a love of learning and doing

Brief History:
As of December 2016, I began development of a Montessori method inspired workbook series targeted at development of fine-motor skills and spatial relationships through creative exercises. Principles of importance for me included that the user of the books needed to be able to understand and execute the activities independently if desired, have a way of recognizing errors and self-correcting them without judgement from an external authority, and exercises should create fun surprises so as to reward the learner with their creations and promote continued creative exploration. Finally, it all needed to be portable and require minimal mess if any, so as to plausibly enjoy these activities on airplanes, in car travel, at restuarants, and during camping trips. To these ends, you will find my books have a minimalistic styling, are a standard 8.5×11 size (17×11 full spread), have error control designed into the exercises to signal users where they may have missed a step and allow the user to correct or keep the difference, and range in subject and imagery to entertain people of a variety of ages and interests. All while keeping the graphics clean to minimize confusion for the user and allow for the linear instruction set (5 different kinds of lines: solid, dotted, dashed, wavy, and zig zag) to lead the user, reader or non-reader, to success with the work.

A secondary set of literal instructions are present but concise and intended to allow unique creations rather than a tightly controlled standard result. For instance, where a tree is being created for tearing and crumpling the instruction set reads: ‘ TRACE the dotted line; COLOR with hues of a tree; TEAR on the wavy line; CRUMPLE the zig-zag lines’. At the completion of these steps the user will see they have made a tree, or perhaps they will envision it as something entirely different. I do not label the final result for them. This style of reference but open instruction allows for the user additionally to decide what hues of a tree are for them. Perhaps it’s the brilliant red of a maple in the fall, or the glowing yellow of Aspens just before winter; the deep green of a conifer, or perhaps a saturated and bright spring green. There are endless possibilities to what it might mean to be tree colored.

The line became named the Artistic Refinement Therapy Workbook Series in April of 2017 and includes books for toddlers through the elderly with many additional activity books in the works, expanding the expectations of an activity book and what can be learned and accomplished through creative arts.

Books available to date:


For Ages 1+

  • Tear & Crumple Activity Book 1
    Tearing, Crumpling, Tracing, Coloring skills
    Dual Language Versions: Eng/Fren, Eng/Spa, Eng/Ger, Eng/Rus, Eng/Farsi, Eng/Ita, Eng/Portugese
        Ages 2 – adult
  • Here to Tear Activity Book 1
    Tearing, Tracing, Coloring skills
        Ages 2 – adult
  • Trace & Tear Activity Book 1
    Tracing, Coloring, and Tearing skills
    .   Ages 2 – adult

For Ages 3+

For Ages 5+

  • Paper Weaving Activity Book (Fun Animals)
    Scissor Cutting, Folding, Weaving skills
        Ages 5 – adult
  • Paper Weaving Activity Book (50 States)
    Scissor Cutting, Folding, Weaving skills
        Ages 5 – adult

Educators’ Editions:

  • Teachers Edition for Tracing, Cutting, and Folding 1
    All exercises from ArborCreek Spring Activity Book and Tracing, Cutting, Folding Workbook for ages 3+; Designed as a teacher’s resource with double activities — 1 example, 1 for classroom copying