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Making Art Can Relieve Stress at Any Skill Level

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Even if you weren't born with a natural knack for art, that doesn't mean you should retire your brush and paint set. According to Science Daily, a new study supports the theory that making art has stress-relieving benefits at any skill level.

The Drexel University study, published last month in the journal Art Therapy [PDF], looked at 39 adults with varying backgrounds in art. Participants were given access to markers, paper, modeling clay, and collage materials and were encouraged to use them as they pleased. After a 45-minute art-making session, levels of cortisol—the main hormone associated with stress—had dropped in 75 percent of the test subjects. Whether the participants were art experts or amateurs didn't appear to make a difference.

The results fit into a growing body of evidence about creativity's health benefits. They also support what many casual artists have likely known all along: You don't need to be making a masterpiece to find the process therapeutic.

"It wasn't surprising because that's the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting," Girija Kaimal, one of the study's authors, told Science Daily. "That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience."

Before conducting the study, the team suspected that the types of materials chosen might affect cortisol levels, with less-structured mediums like clay and markers lowering stress better than more structured activities like collaging. No significant correlation was found to support this, but they did see a different trend. Age was a factor that played a role in the final results, with younger subjects exhibiting lower levels of the hormone after art-making compared to their older counterparts.

If a lack of confidence is still keeping you from tapping into your inner artist, another recent study suggests that just pretending you're creative may be all it takes to follow through in real life.

[h/t Science Daily]

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Every Emoji Ever, Arranged by Color
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Pop Chart Lab

What lies at the end of the emoji rainbow? It's not a pot of gold, but rather an exclamation point—a fitting way to round out the Every Emoji Ever print created by the design experts over at Pop Chart Lab.

As the name suggests, every emoji that's currently used in version 10.0.0 of Unicode is represented, which, if you're keeping track, is nearly 2400.

Each emoji was painstakingly hand-illustrated and arranged chromatically, starting with yellow and ending in white. Unicode was most recently updated last summer, with 56 emojis added to the family. Some of the newest members of the emoji clan include a mermaid, a couple of dinosaurs, a UFO, and a Chinese takeout box. However, the most popular emoji last year was the "despairing crying face." Make of that what you will.

Past posters from Pop Chart Lab have depicted the instruments played in every Beatles song, every bird species in North America, and magical objects of the wizarding world. The price of the Every Emoji Ever poster starts at $29, and if you're interested, the piece can be purchased here.

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8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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