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Coloring To Combat PTSD: A Coloring Book By Veterans, For Veterans

We have been chosen as a recipient of The Sprout Fund’s Grand Ideas Grant for our Coloring to Combat PTSD: A Coloring Book By Veterans For Veterans project. With a strong belief in the healing effects of coloring therapy, we are eager to provide a helpful way to benefit those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

We are inviting veterans local to the Pittsburgh area to attend our workshops where they will create drawings inspired by their own experiences for possible inclusion in the book. Workshop participation is not mandatory and those who wish to contribute can send work to the email address below.

Deadline for submissions is March 15th, 2017!


Submissions can be anonymous and all levels of artistry are welcome!



What is the purpose of the workshops?

The workshops will provide a more structured and supportive environment for those veterans who feel this would be helpful to them as they create original drawings.  In a group setting, they will have the opportunity to interact with fellow veterans who are similarly interested in channeling their experiences in a creative way.  Additionally, a licensed art therapist, along with more accomplished artists with military backgrounds, will be present to offer guidance, encouragement, and instruction, while ensuring that the experience is a positive one for its participants.

What will I be doing at these workshops?

The workshops will include two activities:
  • A creative expression activity facilitated by an accredited art therapist that will assist veterans with the process of creating original artwork by channeling their experiences in a safe, positive and inspiring manner.
  • Sorting crayons in preparation for their donation to organizations serving at risk and under-served children and youth, as well as to be distributed free of charge to veterans, for use with the coloring books upon their publication. This simple activity, a critical part of No Crayon Left Behind’s operations, is extremely popular with both staff and volunteers as its repetitive nature and requirement of focus is a great way to relieve stress, especially when done in a group setting. Additionally, participants find this work incredibly rewarding, knowing the joy these donated crayons will bring upon delivery to those who otherwise might not have any.

Do the workshops cost me anything?

The workshops and any materials needed for the workshops are FREE. Just show up!

Where will the workshops be held?

The workshops will be held in the Pittsburgh area, with their specific locations to be announced shortly.

When will the workshops take place?

There will be 3 workshops in the month of January during evenings and weekends, though specific dates and times are still TBD, and will be announced shortly.

Do I have to bring anything to the workshops?

Bring yourself and an open mind!  We encourage any veteran willing to use their creativity, even those who do not consider themselves artistic or creative, to give themselves this opportunity.  And all of the materials needed will be provided FREE of charge.

Can I only submit a drawing if I attend a workshop?

Not at all!  Workshops are not mandatory.  You can submit your drawings through this google form or by emailing them to: submissions@nocrayonleftbehind.org.

What are the parameters for the drawing submissions?

  • Drawings should be in black and white.  The lines of the design should be thick enough to accommodate being colored in using crayons.
  • Size dimensions should be a standard page size 8.5″x11″
  • and sent either as .pdf or .jpg and less than 2 MB

How many drawings should I submit?

Each artist may submit a maximum of 3 drawings, though submitting less than 3 is completely fine.

What is an anonymous submission?

If you opt to keep your submission anonymous, (whether you do an online submission or at a workshop) and your drawing is chosen to be published, your name will not appear in connection to it.  However, our organization’s staff will need to have your name and contact information.

Do I have to live in Pittsburgh to participate?

Not at all!  Anyone can participate via our online submission form!  The workshops, however, will be held in the Pittsburgh area.

Do I have to have been in a certain branch of the military to participate?

Veterans from any branch of the military are welcome to participate.

Are there stipulations on what I can draw?

There are no exact stipulations — we want to provide a platform for veterans to freely express themselves. However, we do ask that the drawings are done in the spirit of promoting healing and feelings of empowerment in the veterans who will be using the coloring book to combat the symptoms of PTSD.  We want the artists to use their drawings as a way to reach out, connect with, and support their peers in a positive way.

While we understand that violent or explicit drawings may provide relief or catharsis for some artists who draw them, (and we fully support the power of art as a vehicle for just such a purpose), we are committed to excluding imagery with the potential to provoke feelings of anger, sadness or isolation. Additionally, drawings we perceive as derogatory or demeaning will not be chosen for publication.

Still have questions?  Please contact us at: submissions@nocrayonleftbehind.org and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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“The Sprout Fund enriches the Pittsburgh region’s vitality by engaging citizens, amplifying voices, supporting creativity and innovation, and cultivating connected communities. Founded in 2001, Sprout facilitates community-led solutions to regional challenges and supports efforts to create a thriving, progressive, and culturally diverse region. With strong working relationships to many community organizations and regional stakeholders, The Sprout Fund is one of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s leading agencies on issues related to civic engagement, talent attraction and retention, public art, and catalytic small-scale funding. Learn more and get involved at sproutfund.org“