Jaiquan’s Sketch

A story about the healing power of art.

Follow Jaiquan from being in solitary confinement to creating a fulfilling relationship with his son by discovering his greatest tool. Learn how he used drawing as his own form of therapy and how each of us can find our own way to begin to TakeCare.

  • Creative expression can help us make sense of experiences and find meaning in life.
  • Art therapy has been shown to reduce stress and increase self-esteem.
  • We can all find creative forms of expression. We just have to discover them.

Film details

Roger Ross Williams

Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn

Marissa Ericson

Consulting Producer
Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

Directors of Photography
Wolfgang Held, Nelson Hume

Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, Marcus Shutrump, John Steven Fisher

Supervising Editor
Christopher Clements

Sound Recordists
Mark Roy, John Zecca

Production Assistant
J. Daniel Torres

Original Animation by
Jason Conradt, BlueJ Animation

Music by
Tyler Strickland

Digital Intermediate by
Final Frame

Digital Intermediate Colorist
Stewart Griffin

Digital Intermediate Online Editor
Drew Kilgore

Re-Recording Mixer
Annie Medlin

Sound Editor
Annie Medlin

Post Production Supervisor for Actual Films
Riccardo Kovacs

How it All Ties Back to Whole Health

Knowing we are valuable helps us find our place in the world. While we all have something to offer, it can be difficult to uncover what that is – making us feel like we don’t matter or have purpose in our lives.

As Jaiquan shows us in the film, turning toward creative forms of expression can help us find our way, as Jaiquan does with sketching. With only a pen and paper, Jaiquan is able to work through his thoughts, express his emotions, and connect with other people. By using our imagination, we can find creative ways to express what we’re thinking and feeling to help create well-being in our lives.

Creative expression helps us make sense of our experiences, find meaning in life, and affirm our humanity.

Melia Snyder, PhD, LPC, REAT

Education Director, Clinical Therapist, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

The Education Director and a Clinical Therapist at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Previously, Melia served as a counselor, educator, and supervisor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Appalachian State University and directed the Appalachian Expressive Arts Therapy program.

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Interview with Film Advisor: Melia Snyder, PhD, LPC, REAT

You can connect with you!
Art and creativity are not about making something beautiful, but about expressing something true and real for you. Melia Snyder, PH.D., LPC, REAT

Q: What to you is the most powerful message of the film?

A: Jaiquan’s story is a beautiful example of how even when everything is stripped away, we can still find meaning within ourselves. For Jaiquan, his gift is attention to detail. He uses that gift, and out of nothing he creates something.

Q: Was there something said in the film that you would like to expand on?

A: For Jaiquan, it isn’t his talent for drawing or other people telling him that his sketches are good that make him feel valuable. It’s the process of creating, not the product itself, that is healing. He is also connecting with other people as he observes and sketches them. Connection is another important basic need for us as humans.

Q: What are some other artistic outlets that people can explore to help cope with feelings of depression and anxiety?

A: Many forms of expression can be inspired by using nature, music, theater, poetry, writing, and dance. Think about how you can use what you have. Below is an activity that requires just your body, paper, and pen.

Go for a gentle walk in an area that brings you some peace. Bring only yourself and a journal and pen. Pay attention. Let your breath be long. With a sense of openness, begin to notice what you hear, see, smell, and touch. Write down a few words and details (for example, the cacaw of a crow or birds chirping). Keep walking, noticing, and writing  for at least 20 minutes. When your walk is done, find a comfortable place to sit. Tune in to your own body. What do you notice? Write down a few words or phrases to describe how you feel. Now, circle the words and phrases that stick out to you. Arrange these words in an interesting way, bringing in additional words as desired. This is poetry.

Here's how you can get started

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Start Your Journey to Whole Health

Your path to Whole Health is unique to you and why you want health and well-being. By answering three simple questions about yourself, we can then offer you three stories of everyday people with similar goals to yours that can inspire you to create your own path toward health and well-being.

1 of 3 Questions

Which best describes you?