Personally I find immense pleasure in drawing, and the process of creating something new and (sometimes) unique. This in itself is all the reason I need to spend time drawing. But there are plenty of other good reasons why drawing is good for you. Read on, my friend, you might be surprised!
In the following I’m going to describe just a few of the many, many benefits to drawing that you may not necessarily be aware of. And I’ll bet, that in the end you will want to rush to your favourite drawing spot, pick up the almighty pencil, and get to work on your sketching skills…
Drawing Breeds Creativity
I think most people will probably agree, that if there is one ability that is the reason why humans have excelled and thrived in almost every single part of the planet, it is the ability to adapt and come up with creative solutions to different challenges.
The ability for abstract and creative thinking is litterally the superpower that has brought human kind to the forefront of evolution.
And creativity is no less useful in today’s world!
-Whether you’re thinking about work, home or business. The ability to think creatively and come up with original ideas and solutions to problems is one of the most important capacities you can posses!
And opposed to what you may think creativity (exactly like drawing) can be learned and practiced.It is not a magical skill that some people are born with and others are not. In fact I would make the claim, that you are creative per default. You may have forgotten it a little bit, throughout your years of being molded into an adult, but it is easily rekindled, and drawing is a fantastic tool for this.
Right Sided vs. Left Sided
Often times we talk about being “right sided” or “left sided”, meaning that we either tend to have a very analytical and logical approach to life, or a more emotional and creative approach.
The truth is that this is old research that has been more or less proven wrong (for more on this subject, read THIS ARTICLE, and THIS ARTICLE). So this left brain vs. right brain way of thinking, is an overly simplistic and far from adequate analysis of us as human beings.
BUT… There is absolute no doubt that there is a difference in how people think and process their world and surroundings. And the creative and emotional approach vs. the more analytical approach is very real, regardless of whether it is tied to specific brain hemispheres or not… And the ability to incorporate both of these aspects are immensely valuable in developing our brains, and also to keep us young and cognitively fresh as we aproach an older age. (as spoken from a 45 year old… )
Creativity is Often Understimulated
As the analytical and logical aspect is the one that is mostly used in the modern world. But in order to actually create something new and come up with revolutionary ideas, it is necessary to also cultivate the crative abilities.
…And for this, drawing is a fantastic tool.
When drawing you will incorporate both the logical and the emotional parts of your brain, because you will most likely think in terms of proportions, shapes, measurements etc.(even if you’re not aware of it, your brain will be analyzing these aspects) while you’ll probably also be thinking about aesthetics, composure, colors and perhaps even conveying emotions through your drawings. This combination of analytical and emotional thinking is not found in too many other activities, and the combination of so many different aspects going on simultaneously makes drawing a very unique way of using your brain.
And… Simply learning something new, will also help you stay cognitively sharp by stumulating your brain to form new neurological pathways… So if you’re wondering whether you should pick up drawing (or another new skill) there’s your answer, and another reason why drawing is good for you.
Drawing Cultivates Focus
This again boils down to the fact that when you draw, you’re really paying attention to all the details in whatever you’re working on. This takes focus and focus is also something that can -and should- be cultivated.
One of the greatest ways to cultivate focus is through meditation.
The ability to settle down your “monkey mind” is something that people have been dealin with for ages. A lot of people struggle with the traditional meditation where you basically sit still and try to calm your mind. Some of the solutions to this issue is for instance walking meditations, Tai-Chi, Chi-Gung etc. And you can add drawing to this list. Drawing mandalas, for instance, is a well known practice used in meditation.
I for one, can forget all about time and place, when I’m in the middle of a good drawing session, and I know that this allowance of my mind to wander while simultaneously being gently stimulated, and challenged, is absolutely wonderful for my mind health.
Drawing Heightens Attention and Visualization
It is a well known fact that as we humans move through the world, we really only notice a very small percentage of it. This is very much due to practicality, since we can only process a limited amount of information at a time. We solve this by only noticing what is important to us at the time, a process called Selective Attention. But if we’re mindful about our surroundings, the level of detail we take in is elevated. In the beginning this takes energy and practice, but as we get better at it, it becomes second nature
Through the process of drawing we naturally pay attention to the details of the objects we are drawing. Either we look upon something, and we copy it onto paper, or we imagine what it looks like in our mind’s eye. Either way we have to pay attention to shapes and details that we normally wouldn’t.
After a while, this becomes an ingrained part of us, and we naturally take in a fuller and richer image of the world, as we look upon it.
Greater Understanding of the World
The process of drawing helps us to map out mental images of the world around us. By processing in our minds how we construct something on paper, we develop an ability to first deconstruct it, thus developing a basic understanding how different parts of an object fit together.
– On a very practical level, this helps you get a better understanding and sense of proportion, measurements and distances, and simply a greater understanding of how things work.
This way of seeing the world also helps you develop an ability to take in more information at a time, since visual aids are immensely more easy for the human brain to process and remember than pure numbers and words.
Firstly you simply get to enjoy a fuller, richer and more vivid world as you move through it. More variations in color and a greater level of detail to everything you see. Pure joy! AND… I think we can all agree, that the ability to better pay attention to detail, in general, is beneficial on many levels.
Numerous Cognitive Benefits
So if you’re wondering whether there are benefits to drawing, besides developing the skill to make your own card for aunt Lippys birthday, I hope you now have your answer.
Drawing is an immensely beneficial activity that develops coordination between your brain, hands and eyes. It also develops your creativity and your visualization skills on many different levels.
For more documentation, take a look at THIS article from the Huffpost.
Drawing will help you with widely different aspects of your cognitive functions, ranging from de-stressing and harmonizing your mind, to a greater appreciation for colours and shapes, and thus a greater enjoyment of this. It will help you to a keener eye for details in your surroundings and in developing your structural and analytical abilities, which will to help you understand the mechanics and workings of the world much easier.
I, for one, would stake the claim, that that these features are all very desirable and useful! 🙂
-So here’s to your creativity, mental health and well being.
14 thoughts on “Why Drawing is Good for You – Three Great Reasons”
I loved this article. I love drawing I’m by no means great but I love it.
I draw with my daughters it’s great for quality time and conversation. It Also allows escape from the real world for a bit.
I do agree it helps with my focus quite a bit and also helps me to relax.
Thank you so much for this great read and many should read this very informative article.
Thank you for visiting. And thank you for taking the time to read the article.
Yes, drawing is great. Both as a way to relax, and to get creative. I also do it with my daughter as well,
As you can probably tell, I am not great at it, either. But that’s the point of the site, the journey towards improvement.;)
Thanks for the comment, and best wishes.
Wow, who knew drawing had so many benefits! When I was a kid, and even a young adult, I used to draw all the time and was actually really good at it. Fortunately, I’ve always had a creative type brain and do think that some people are predisposed to that and, others seem more mathematically minded and kind of process things differently.
I keep saying to myself that when I get time I’m going to start painting and drawing again. I spend a lot of time meditating and it makes sense that this is a similar practice. You can lose hours when engrossed in your creativity.
Thanks for such an inspiring post, and I think I shall get my paintbrushes out again very soon 🙂
Yes, it’s quite surprising when you think about it! AND… I’m actually getting ready for part two, cause I haven’t even begun to cover all of the benefits.
I was in the exact same spot, drew a lot as a kid, and kept telling myself “one of these days” i’m gonna pick it up again… Until I realized, that for me, “one of these days” didn’t come around, until I decided it was now… And thus “The Drawing Journey” was born. 😉
I actually spend a relatively decent amount of time meditating as well, but I struggle with consistency. Though drawing is of course not the exact same thing, I find that it gives me a lot of the same ease of mind.
Thank you so much for the visit, and the comment, and I sure hope the paintbrushes are coming out soon… 🙂
You really touched on a lot of great mental aspects of drawing and it’s really inspiring.
I won’t lie to you, I have no drawing ability. Maybe because I’m left-handed, I really have no idea but I do know that I can butcher simple things like a stick man.
Your article is motivation to at least try and maybe get into geometrical drawings. You can’t really screw up a line, can you? Ha!
I definitely do want to open up the parts of my brain that are stimulated while drawing though!
Thank you for the great information,
Thank you for the kind words. Glad to hear it comes across as inspirational. That’s definitely one of the points! 🙂
I really don’t think being left-handed has anything to do with drawing abilities or not. A lot of great artist are left handed. 🙂
I personally think it all comes down to practice, and an open mind. One of the big points that I make again and again on my site, is exactly that drawing is a learnable skill.
Having said that, you actually CAN screw up a line… Ha ha 😉
-But simple, teachable tools can get you a long way!
I’m actually working on some very basic beginner lessons, that I’ll be posting soon. So if you check back in the next couple of weeks, there’ll be some starting points available. All for free, of course! 🙂
Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment.
Hi Michael and thank you for your great post. You touched on some great ideas here.
Personally, I love to draw. I’m an artist who has taught adults to paint using various mediums, but not too much drawing. They were all nervous about that, lol.
I always wondered about the right brain, left brain scenario. I believe myself to be artistic and creative, yet I love the analytical and logical processes as well. I never fit into that old mold, lol
Thanks for you great feedback. That’s great that you teach people to paint. I’d love to see some of your art!
Yeah, I think a lot of people find drawing a bit more daunting for some reason. Maybe a brush and colours are more accessible? You probably know more about that, than I do.
I have pretty much only drawn in pencil, and am only just getting into using colour a bit. Painting is something for the future, but for now, I need a good grasp of the basics… 😉
The right/left brain scenario is so ingrained in our “common knowledge” that most people don’t even question it anymore, LOL.
But no matter how you look upon it, a combination of the analytical and creative aspects of the brain must be the way to go. right…?!? 😉
Incidentally, I think you would get a lot of the same benefits from painting!
Thanks for your visit, and thanks for your comment.
Great article! I’ve always known that drawing is good but this article helps clarify the benefits. I have always been a terrible painter and I’m always afraid to start because I think i’m just not good at it. After reading this, I’m now inspired.
Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you for the kind words. As the old saying goes, “starting is half the battle” 😉
As you may know, one of the main points on my site, is that drawing is a learnable skill. It only takes practice and an open mind. I haven’t done too much painting, but I imagine the same thing applies here.
If you’re really interested in learning and reaping the benefits (as well as the joy 🙂 ) check back soon, as I’ll be adding more and more tutorials.
Otherwise, you can to THIS ARTICLE where I have posted some great free online lessons. Several of these also have painting lessons.
Anyway, thank you for the visit, and the comment.
I have always sucked at drawing. My images never look like I intend them to. However I strongly believe creativity is vital to human life. My website is devoted to it as is my entire life. To that end I try to do whatever I can to keep creativity sparked. I never knew about all the cognitive benefits of drawing however. I wonder if the same benefits or similar are received by coloring rather than drawing an original picture?
Well, if the images don’t look like you intend them to, you could just go with the flow of what comes out, and maybe you’ll end up with something better… Who knows, right? 😉
Otherwise, my whole site is actually based on the idea, that drawing is a learnable skill. So check back, as I’ll be posting a lot more tutorials, and lessons in the coming weeks and months.
I absolutely agree with you, though! Creativity is absolutely essential! And I’ll be happy to check out your site. I am always open to new ways of exploring my own creativity!
I do think you would get some benefits from coloring, like the meditative mindset, and the focus, for instance. However, some of the other cognitive benefits, like visualisation and mental mapping of the world, is based on crating the shapes, and working with the proportions etc. in drawing and actually creating the images. And this is not really something that you do a lot of when coloring. Wouldn’t you agree?
But don’t let that stop you from coloring, though! Just perhaps think about expanding upon it a bit, down the line… 🙂
Thank you for visiting, and thank you for the comment.
So.. I’m one of those people who draw stick figures as people because I’m just not so good at drawing lol. Never have been. But looking at all of the benefits makes me really want to sit down and try harder to be creative in that way. I never really thought of drawing in this way before. I’m all about mental health and creativity so thanks for opening my mind!
Oh, the almighty stick figure! -Highly underestimated and undervalued… 😉
Make no mistake, the stick figure is the basis of all figure drawing. If you can make a stick figure and capture the gesture of a movement, you’re halfway towards a great drawing. After that it’s just filling out the fleshy parts and the details.
It may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually a pretty simple process, when you break it down into smaller components.
If you’re interested in learning, check back soon, cause I’m actually working on some very simple beginner lessons, that I’ll be adding over the coming weeks and months.
As you may or may not know, one of the main points of my site, is that drawing is a learnable skill. All you need is an open mind and a willingness to practice. 🙂
So yes, to reap these benefits is actually pretty simple.
Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment.
All the best,