Mental Health Awareness & the Power of Creation

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and we wanted to spend the month highlighting the importance of how artistic expression can help our mental health. Studies have shown that creative expression can help lower stress and anxiety, improve memory and reasoning, and even aid in the healing process from trauma. We at Sakura believe deeply in the power of art and writing to bring peace to our lives and  we partnered with several of our Friends to talk about how creating helps them with this.

Whether it’s picking up a Gelly Roll to get meditative with mandalas, writing out a to-do list with a favorite Micron, or going outside to paint nature with Koi Watercolors, the journey of putting tool to paper is unique and special to us all. And most of all, important to our overall wellbeing. 


Our Sakura Friend Lisa, lettering artist of Nola Lettering, highlighted several great mental health tips. From using blobs of color and lettering to create lists of favorite things when having a bad day, to reminding ourselves that forcing creativity over recharging our inner battery isn’t always productive, our priotory is always taking care of ourselves first.

“Sometimes I suffer from creative blocks, so I’ll bust out my watercolors, like the Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Kit I’m using here, and just put down some blobs of paint. Then, I’ll use my Pigma Micron fineliner to add in a word or a phrase. Having some constraints sometimes helps with creativity, especially on the days when I’m being wishy washy and indecisive. It’s also a great way to practice lettering and get the creative juices flowing!”


The United States has been observing Mental Health Awareness Month during the month of May since 1949. Each year, businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals dedicate this month to acknowledge those affected by mental illness by presenting innovative ideas, events, and programs to support the treatment and prevention of mental illness.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Zentangle embarked on a 21-day challenge where they delved into creating one tangle on one 3Z tile a day. The goal was to tangle for 15-20 minutes each day, allowing pen to soothe the soul.

Throughout the years, the Zentangle team has been moved by countless tales from tanglers worldwide who’ve found solace and empowerment through the Zentangle Method. Whether it’s backed by studies, shared anecdotes, or personal experiences, one thing remains clear: embracing a Zentangle practice can work wonders for our mental well-being. It’s a journey that unwinds stress, boosts confidence, and awakens the artist within each of us.

So, grab your favorite Pigma Microns and try a tangle! Head over to YouTube as we immerse ourselves in a tangle session guided by the one and only Maria Thomas.


Sakura of America and Creativity Explored teamed up in May to support the creative vision of neurodiverse and disabled artists in San Francisco. Sakura’s products have been enabling creativity in the CE studios for decades – we’re excited to continue to partner and share the stories and artwork of artists who are creating today.

Because May was Mental Health Awareness Month, the team at CE asked a few of their artists what about making art makes them feel good, how art and creativity help boost their moods, and how Sakura art supplies help them do this.

Artist Interview: Ade Lewis

  • Why do you love Creativity Explored? Because sometimes on Thursday nights we do art events, my first art event was a fashion show and I had a lot of art portraits of fashionistas on display and I sold five portraits of them. I also like to talk to new people.
  • Why do you love Sakura Products? I mostly use watercolor and I like the Koi pens for small details.
  • Why do you love making art? How does creating art make you feel? Creating art makes me feel so proud of myself and if i keep doing art I might also become a music artist and become a star.
  • What inspires you? I got my special power when I started middle school, that’s when I first started drawing portraits using crayon and color pencils.
  • If someone has never made art before, what advice would you give them? I would give them tips on how to use watercolor better, first you get a piece of watercolor paper and you get all the painting supplies you need including the brushes. You’ll need a big brush and a small brush for big and small spaces. For tiny details you can even use color pencils.

Artist Interview: Gerald Wiggins

  • Why do you love Creativity Explored? The art, making art and talking to teaching artists, just being around people that I like.
  • Why do you love Sakura Products? I like Sakura’s markers, I really like the gold and silver Pen-Touch markers. I like adding metallics and pops of color into my work, I also like the paint.
  • Why do you love making art? How does creating art make you feel? I like to make art for the people, I like to make the people happy, then I’m happy.
  • What inspires you? When I feel like making a picture, I just get focused, super focused. When there’s a lot of noise I just tune it out and keep going.
  • If someone has never made art before, what advice would you give them? Listen to a bunch of people but make up your own mind. Make sure you go slow so you can think over everything that you want to do and just take your time and make sure you have fun with it.

Creativity Explored centers the culture and experiences of over 130 artists and provides opportunities to share, sell and exhibit their art. Their life-changing programs continue to open doors of inclusion to center the personhood and creative vision of people with developmental disabilities. Most importantly, Creativity Explored is a source of community, empowerment and dignity.

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