Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation (Art Therapy) – A Beyond the Films Review

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With recent events leading to a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler will be posting short, non-spoiler reviews for new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


arttherapy

Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation (hardback, 2015)

In November 2015, Disney Editions released Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation, a hardback Art Therapy coloring book for all ages, though geared in its complexity a bit more toward adults.

I do not profess to be an expert on Art Therapy. (Johnathan is the psychologist of our little Rebels Roundtable troupe, and he has not spent much time with the concept either.) The concept has existed for about 70 years and is based around the idea that creative expression, including something as “basic” as coloring, can have a psychologically therapeutic affect for a variety of conditions, from diagnosed psychological conditions to something as simple as stress. (My own wife used coloring as a means of stress relief when battling cancer a few years ago. I have seen the value of such practice first-hand.)

This book strives to provide that kind of creative outlet via Art Therapy through a series of one hundred Star Wars images that are presented in black and white line art so that the reader (or patient) can color those images through the Art Therapy process.

Many readers, though, will simply view this as an adult coloring book, which is, in essence, what it is, though its purpose goes deeper due to its therapeutic value.

In keeping with its stress-reducing, therapeutic theme, the artwork tends toward character portraits (often surrounded by floral designs), full-page patterns, and mandalas that often feel fit for tattoo art. The art is calm, yet because of its style, one could argue that the art in the book, especially after being colored, could be suitable for framing. It is not action-packed but feels mature and respectful (even when the art in question might involve Jar Jar Binks).

The biggest drawback of the book is its format. It is presented in hardback form (unlike a similar book coming in February 2016 that will be paperback) with heavy cardboard covers and spine, fit for pages to be torn out and colored with the cover itself as a hard coloring surface. The downside is that while that makes it feel more substantial than a simple “coloring book,” it also makes the book surprisingly easy to damage. Edges and the spine are very easily “dinged,” leaving raw spots of cardboard, and the way the front and back covers attach to the spine make it very easy for the covers to start tearing off of the book. The product is an inspired idea with a flawed physical execution. (Then again, if you intend to remove the pages, then you won’t be worried about the condition of the cover anyway.)

The Verdict

Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation is not a product that everyone will find interesting, but one could argue that anyone could find the actual use of the book for its intended purpose (coloring as Art Therapy) helpful and soothing. Those looking for something “different” or seeking actual Art Therapy through a psychologist will get the most mileage out of this product.

Recommended for: Those looking for an adult coloring book or a book to use with actual Art Therapy, those with artistic desire but few artistic skills, or those seeking art suitable for framing or tattoo inspiration.

Not recommended for: Those looking for a product to keep pristine in a collection, or those looking for a book with, uhm, words.

Disney Lucasfilm Press provided a copy for review.

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