Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Creative Art Therapy Books For When You’re in Your Feelings

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Gabby Holliman-Lopez

Staff Writer

Gabby is a college student interested in the intersection of communication, technology and the arts. She is the co creator of Tableau Media, an online magazine focused on uplifting diverse voices, which will be launching in spring 2019. When not writing or sleeping, she spends her time chilling with her cat, jamming on the ukulele or guitar, and trying to be America Chavez.

Have you ever had a day when your Feelings with a capital F just invade your mind? And you’re left wanting to scream and curse the world or maybe curl up in a ball and cry? I know I have, and I know it sucks. While I definitely don’t have anything against crying while wrapped in a blanket burrito of sadness, or even cursing the world every now and then, sometimes the thing to do when you’re in your feelings is not to wallow but to process them.

Luckily, one of the main reasons art exists is to help us process are feelings. Art can help our feelings take up space outside our head instead of inside it. But creating can be daunting and processing is a tall order, so to get you started, here is a list of ultra soothing art therapy books I use to help channel my worried thoughts or hard feelings into something creative, and maybe even beautiful.

The Best Art Therapy Books

Find Your Voice Cover From Creative Art Therapy Books For When You're in Your Feelings | Book RiotFind Your Voice: A Guided Poetry Journal For your Heart and Art by Noor Unnahar

When anxiety or sadness hits, unleash your thoughts and worries through poetry. Find Your Voice by Noor Unnahar offers beautiful and unique prompts to get your creative juices flowing. It is a great book to get you started writing poetry, because it provides enough structure to help you learn while still leaving things open to explore. In the style of the author’s work, the book also gives you prompts to make collages to go with your poems so you can express yourself in multiple ways.


it's all absolutely fine coverIt’s All Absolutely Fine: Life Is Complicated So I’ve Drawn It Instead By Ruby Elliot

Ruby Elliot, known as Rubyetc online, is one of my favorite artists. Her drawings are honest, hilarious, and oh-so-relatable, especially if you have ever dealt with a mental illness. She attacks difficult topics such as mood disorders with a straight forward humor that I find inspirational. When you are feeling crappy, her simple and poignant drawings are the perfect reminder that sometimes life sucks, but to not take it too seriously.


you are here coverYou Are Here: An Owner’s Manual For Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson

This books lets you color your way through Lawson’s musings on life and mental illness. Funny and irreverent, Lawson is most well known for her memoirs Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. She brings the same irreverent humor to her book of art and her laid back attitude comes through the pages. She is perfect person to commiserate with as you soothe yourself through a little bit of art therapy.

i am here now coverI am Here Now by The Mindfulness Project

Practicing mindfulness is a great thing to do when you are feeling too much, it is the practice of being the moment. When you focus on only what is going on in the present, your brain doesn’t have space to worry. This book is a gentle and fun introduction to mindfulness and meditation. The exercises are simple and accessible and super helpful for working through your thoughts and calming down.


your illustrated guide to becoming one with the universe coverYour Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe by Yumi Sakugawa

The drawings in this book are absolutely gorgeous! They’re surreal and exciting to explore. The text can feel new age-y at times, but it’s also earnest. If you’re into mindfulness or spiritual connection it can be truly inspiring. Even if you’re not, I think this book is worth a try. The whole thing feels like a gentle, meditative dream.


Now go forth and be emotionally balanced, my friend! And if your feelings require even more art therapy books or just books to help you check in emotionally, check these out:

16 of the Best Books on Emotional Intelligence for the Mind and Body

11 Very Chill Anger Management Books

Unicorn Self-Help Books To Help You Find The Sparkle In Your Life