Coloring as Therapy with Tracing Memories

Nori Rice | June 27, 2017

Tracing Memories is an art program and mobile app designed to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and celebrate memories. By coloring line art based on photographs, participants color meaningful pictures from their lives using professional quality tools. 


One of the great things about Tracing Memories, is that anyone can do it. It takes no previous art experience. Photographs are loaded into the app and trasformed into line art. In the workshops participants use quality Copic markers to layer and blend colors, but if you're using the app at home, you can use colored pencils, watercolor, or whatever you enjoy.

In particular, the program benefits people experiencing memory loss, people with disabilities, the aging population and their care partners. Although the idea is for participants of all ages to experience coloring line art based on cherished memories.  The experience is so satisyfing. Because art is a process, you may find that your journey with Tracing Memories is as important as your finished artwork, possibly even more so.

Coloring pictures of your life will improve mental acuity, enhance observations skills, and reduce stress. Involve family members of all ages for fun and relaxing social activity. With Tracing Memories, you can spend as much or as little time as you like. Numerous studies have shown that engaging older adults in artistic activities promotes improved memory, lowers stress, and fosters a better sense of well-being.


In addition to these benefits, 2006 Creativity and Aging Study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts states that there are many health benefits, which can be directly tied to participation in arts programs. Based on their findings, people age 65-100 that participate in weekly art programs reported better health, fewer doctor visits, less medication usage, fewer falls, and stronger mental health. (1) Other studies (2)(3) have shown that making art reduces stress in every age bracket. It promotes relaxation while stimulating brain activity.

Access our Tracing Memories webpage here to  learn about upcoming events, see images and line art, and check out our video. If you would like to connect with us or receive monthly newsletters, please email


  • The Creativity and Aging Study, The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults, National Endowment for the Arts & George Washington University, Final Report, April 2006
  • Brain Health, Copic Art DVD, .Too Corporation, Japan
  • David Alan Sandmire, Sarah Roberts Gorham, The Influence of Art Making on Anxiety: A Pilot Study, Art Therapy: Journal of American Art Therapy Association. 2012, 29:2, 68-73


Topics: Copic

Nori Rice
Nori Rice on June 27, 2017

Nori Rice works as a Tracing Memories instructor for Imagination International, Inc. and facilitates the JSMA Arts and Healthcare Program. She is a graduate student in the Arts Administration Program at the University of Oregon, who focuses on arts and healthcare in her research and career. She also contributes to the River Road Art Bus as an instructor for art classes with K-12 students from Eugene and surrounding areas. Her passion is helping others discover art as a means of expression and using art for healing.