Success Stories : Michael Harman's Colour Buddy™
Creativity Success Story
Imagination: The Image-Forming Power of the Mind
The Story Behind Colour Buddy™
By Michael Harman
For as long as I can remember, creating and producing art has given me a way to relax and express myself and at the same time given me a true purpose in life. My family would be the first to inform you how many hours I spend creating and thinking up new ideas and I use them for that important feedback I need to take the ideas further.
I don't think any of us realised at the time how my first 'doodle' would turn out to be an exciting educational adventure that could change the way we use art as an educational tool for children and adults.
The concept is quite easy really; I just draw hundreds, sometimes thousands of small pictures that are placed together in a way that those pictures make up hundreds of other pictures by using your 'imagination'. These pictures are put into place from all directions in the main picture and are tied in with important 'pushing' pictures.
'Pushing' pictures help the viewer with their visual perception and help people 'see' other pictures. This could be a leaf with a circle place inside, the leaf and circle looks like an eye and by grouping 3-4-7-10-40 picture together will create a face from that eye. See, I told you it's easy to understand!
I try to produce artwork that can push the mind and I don't like to make things easy, so you will notice I produce two types of educational puzzles; the search and find puzzles and spot the difference, all helping in the educational process. With the pictures all produced in black and white everyone has the opportunity to become not only part of the picture but create their own piece of artwork.
There are many creative artists who have written about the benefits of using the colouring pencil to help relax and help with stress; this includes self-expression, coordination and building motor skills. One of the reasons for the spot the difference puzzles was to kick-start the cognitive processes which use the occipital, parietal and frontal lobes of the brain.
I remember a few years ago contacting Simon Baron Cohen from Cambridge University Autism research Centre and sending him a few imagination pictures to look over. He informed me that the pictures could help in certain levels of Autism.
I must point out here, there are many puzzles in the market place that can help children and adults with certain levels of Autism, but for me it was another tick in the box for the imagination pictures. It was through this contact with Simon that I produced a picture for the charity and gave them the copyright so they can use it for their own products in the future.
I have just finished work on the Doodle day USA picture that they have posted on their website (download doodle here to play with or color) for charity and I will be producing a unique prize of an imagination picture for the highest bidder ). Future projects are helping the R.S.P.C.C. with a picture they can use for their own products and working with educational projects for children. I love my work. •
© 2010 Michael Harman. All rights reserved.