Something I noticed when I started drawing was that I was able to learn new things more easily. And I couldn’t help thinking, is drawing making me smarter? My brain couldn’t leave this question go away, so after some research and experience, this is what I discovered.
Drawing can make people smarter. Scientific evidence suggests drawing creates new neural pathways, which improves visual memory, attention, cognition, and creativity. Drawing also strengthens synapses, making memories stronger and easier to access.
But the exciting part is how it does it and how you can use it to your advantage.
How Can Drawing Make You Smarter?
I first want to clarify that almost any activity that requires your brain to be active and focused can make you more intelligent, including drawing. But there are limits. You won’t understand math or gravity just because you started to draw, but you will find it easier to understand them if you already learned drawing. The primary reason drawing makes you smarter is because your brain develops neural pathways as you do it. But so does speech, music, math, exercise, etc.
You don’t have to take my word for it; there are plenty of studies that show how drawing makes people smarter, like this one from the Cerebrum Dana Foundation and this one from the Department of Neurology of University Hospital Erlangen. Also these other two from Dartmouth College: Taking an Art Course Rewires Your Brain – Visual art learning alters neural structure and function.
Every activity makes a person smarter in different ways, but the reasons how drawing makes you more intelligent are fascinating. We’ll cover them one by one:
- It improves attention.The mental demands of drawing in the brain are so high that it stops restless thoughts, worries, and most conscious thinking to focus on the task. Deep concentration isn’t a common thing to happen to modern humans, but drawing makes it happen as it was the simplest thing ever. This experience helps the brain be more easily focused on other regular tasks, such as reading, having a conversation, solving a problem, or working.
- It enhances how you see.The human brain does not focus on the details of what we see, simply because we don’t have to. We don’t see a building and start counting the number of bricks and windows it has; we only identify it to avoid running into it. But when you draw, you must force your brain to see all these details. With time, the more you draw and get better at identifying the world around you, you become a person that sees what most don’t.
- It improves visual memory.The usual drawing process is looking at your reference image and then stroking a line. Since you cannot perform these two actions simultaneously in the beginning, a very-short-term memory is required. You’re continually forcing your brain to retain information over and over again for short periods, which consequently develops an improvement in visual memory and short term memory. The mental images you can create when drawing anything compared to looking at a picture are immense. Drawing forces you to see every detail, creating a more robust mental image of the photo you see and draw, whereas just looking doesn’t add any important reason to your brain to remember the picture better.
- It makes you more creative.Since your mind has more information to pull from, it is easier to create new things. At the core, creativity is just a combination of ideas. If you know to draw what you think, visualizing your ideas can positively support the process of creating something new. One good drawing practice to improve creativity is to try to draw your thoughts.
- It improves cognition.Although this factor is tough to measure due to all the variables it has, more and more scientific studies provide data that suggests this is a fact. This phenomenon is significantly positive in art creation, including drawing. The graphic below shows how visual art production enhances functional brain connectivity, improving how you analyze information.
- It improves intuition.Repetitive drawing exercises, like drawing circles or lines, can stop your thoughts and make your brain focus on drawing. When this happens, the unconscious part of your brain takes over, and the actions you make are more intuitive. This reaction is also known as drawing with the right side of the brain. The brain then enters a state of relaxation that improves the health of your mental connections, helping you make better quick decisions in general.
- It improves hand to eye coordination.One of the drawing’s physical demands is to have good hand to eye coordination. Otherwise, your lines won’t be as you intended. The more you practice and stroke lines better, you will improve in this matter. I have found this aspect very useful in situations like playing table tennis, dart throwing, and basketball.
How Long Does It Take Drawing To Make You Smarter?
The speed you will get better at any activity you practice depends on your background and the number of hours you put into it. For the average person, seeing significant improvements in their drawing skills start to occur almost immediately. If you draw a line a hundred times, chances are your last line will look a lot better than the first one. You’re then “smarter” because your hand to eye coordination is better, and your brain now understands how to use your hand muscles better.
The improvement would be slightly minimum, but that’s the thing: you’re continuously improving your drawing the more you practice.
Some techniques and concepts will be harder to learn than others, and the more complex a concept is, the smarter you will have to be for your brain to master it. And this happens simultaneously. When learning to draw, you will notice how much we don’t know how things look like, even if you see them several times. Try to draw something from memory, like a horse, and you will see how difficult it is to include all the details to make it look real. And some people can do it easily!
Just imagine the effort and time you would have to invest to achieve such a thing. A brain that can draw a horse from memory, and possibly many other things, has already reached another level of complex thinking, at least in that exact matter. And there’s a somewhat popular guy called Michelangelo that did that for a whole chapel ceiling.
So we can see small and considerable jumps in intelligence when drawing consistently. They depend on how much you like doing it and how much time you practice it.
Does Drawing Make You Smarter Than Someone Who Doesn’t?
Now we know drawing can make you smarter, but does it make you more intelligent than other people? We would have to view this from two different points of view.
- Artistic person vs. a non-artistic person:In the hypothetical case of two people who have the same intelligence/abilities, and one starts to practice drawing while the other one doesn’t, then yes, the artistic person will be smarter than those doing nothing.
- An artistic person compared to a person who is talented in other fields.This case will be the most likely in general, and the answer is simple: artistic people will be smarter than non-artistic people at drawing or performing arts. However, other people may thrive at math, while artistic people may not.
Intelligence has multiple factors. Although you can see general improvements from any activity you practice, you will see the most results in the areas that directly affect what you’re doing. If you practice drawing, you will get better at drawing, and that will make you smarter, but if you want to get better at swimming, you will need to practice swimming. The vital thing to get smarter is to keep your brain learning new things, whether it is drawing or any other activity.
Although drawing has many different benefits, just like getting smarter, there is still so much more than just this. Training your brain is a great motivation to start drawing, but consider not doing it just because of that. When you draw, think about this quote.
“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.”Pablo Picasso.
The more you practice, the more your natural ability to see shapes in the world and in your drawings will improve.Is drawing related to IQ? ›
The researchers found that higher scores on the Draw-a-Child test were moderately associated with higher scores of intelligence at ages 4 and 14. The correlation between drawing and intelligence was moderate at ages 4 (0.33) and 14 (0.20).Does drawing improve your brain? ›
Not only is drawing a form of literacy, it also helps your memory! A study from Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology found that participants that doodled were 29% more likely to remember mundane information. IT MAKES YOU HAPPY: When you draw, you release Serotonin, Endorphins, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine.Is drawing a rare talent? ›
Drawing, as we've already established, is doable by most people in this world. Yet, drawing skilfully is a rare skill indeed. It takes hours of dedicated practice, patience and passion to be able to achieve remarkable results. So, drawing at the level of Peter Paul Rubens or Raphael is definitely a rare skill.What happens if I draw everyday? ›
Drawing boosts other skills and traits.
The dedicated practice of drawing every day also develops self-discipline, which can be used for all other areas of your life. Developing your drawing skills naturally enhances your communication skills.
Drawing is a skill and like with any other skill, you can't expect to get better without practicing it. So many people think that drawing is just something that some people can do and others can't. This simply is not true. Anyone can draw, but you have to want it enough to practice it.Are you born with drawing talent? ›
Some people believe that you need to be born with talent in order to be a good artist, but this is not true. Anyone can learn to draw or paint with enough practice. Some of the most famous artists in history were not born with talent, but they practiced regularly and became great artists.Is drawing good for ADHD? ›
The brain is stimulated by creating art, and produces higher levels of dopamine. This is especially important for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD as increased dopamine levels improve concentration. Expressing creativity through art also elevates serotonin and reduces stress levels.Does artists have high IQ? ›
Getzels & Jackson: High IQ and creativity
The conclusion was interesting. It showed that high IQ and high levels of creativity, tended to be mutually exclusive. The majority of the highest scoring students were either highly creative people or they were highly intelligent, but not both.
Painting and sketching are highly accessible and entertaining things to accomplish many individuals prefer to paint or draw in their spare time, and it can help them improve their IQ.
Drawing actively opens your brain to creative thinking. Developing a sense of imagination helps stimulate the brain, creating new pathways allowing you to process new ideas and engage in creative problem-solving.Is drawing a mental skill? ›
Drawing is a powerful tool of communication. It helps build self-understanding and can boost mental health. But our current focus on productivity, outcomes and “talent” has us thinking about it the wrong way. Too many believe the myth of “I can't draw”, when in fact it's a skill built through practice.What is the rarest talents? ›
- Singing with Your Mouth Closed. ...
- Stacking Dice With Cups. ...
- Extreme Pen Spinning. ...
- Talking Backwards. ...
- Fast Reading. ...
- Limbo Skating. ...
- Slow Motion Walking. ...
- Folding Your Legs Over Your Head.
It seems that realistic drawing ability hinges on three factors: how a person perceives reality, how well he or she remembers visual information from one moment to the next, and which elements of an object he or she selects to actually draw.Why can't some people draw? ›
Four possible sources of drawing inaccuracies were described: misperception of the object, inability to make good representational decisions, deficient motor skills, and misperception of the drawing. In four studies the degree to which the latter three sources contributed to drawing inaccuracies was assessed.How many hours should I draw a day? ›
It's possible to see improvements by drawing only 1-2 hours per day. But if you want to see significant improvements you should be aiming for 5-6 hours per day, or more if possible. Starting anywhere is better than never starting.What are the effects of drawing too much? ›
RSI for Artists generally afflicts some part of the arm - the fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulders - and can also affect the neck and/or upper back. RSI Symptoms include: intense pain. dull aching or tenderness.Is it rare to draw good? ›
It is common. If you have finished an art college you know how to draw well. And some people who have not finished art college know how to draw well too - it can be learned like any other skill.Are artists born to draw? ›
Anyone can learn to draw at any age. Drawing is a skill that takes time to master, but the principles are easily understood. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to draw well. Inevitably, talent rises to the top and some people will be more gifted than others.Is it hard to draw realistic? ›
The immediate answer from most non-artists is that realism is innately harder. Getting something to look realistic is tricky, absolutely.
countable noun. An artist is someone who draws or paints pictures or creates sculptures as a job or a hobby. ...How can I tell if my art is good? ›
- A Strong Focal Point. A focal point is not like the big, bold “X” that marks the spot on a treasure map. ...
- Layers of Color. When it comes to painting characteristics, color is key to keep in mind. ...
- Changes in Direction.
An artistic personality type uses their hands and mind to create new things. They appreciate beauty, unstructured activities and variety. They enjoy interesting and unusual people, sights, textures and sounds. These individuals prefer to work in unstructured situations and use their creativity and imagination.Is artistic ability a gift? ›
But it's not precisely your art, or my art: the capacity and ability to create art is not an innate skill. It's a gift, as Edward Yang puts it, for stimulating and inspiring “human flourishing.” It's a gift that keeps on giving, as long as we keep practicing and giving it.Do a lot of artists have ADHD? ›
There are lots of actors, musicians, and other types of artists with ADHD. Some artists, like Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am and Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, even credit ADHD as a factor in their success.Are ADHD kids more artistic? ›
Compared to those without ADHD, individuals with ADHD also reported being more creative in the specific areas of performance and mechanical/scientific creativity.Why are people with ADHD artistic? ›
Inattention, which occurs more frequently in those affected with the disorder, likely leads to mind wandering, or the drifting of thoughts from an activity or environment. Such drifting can lead to new, useful and creative ideas.Who has over 500 IQ? ›
Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born Marilyn Mach; August 11, 1946) is an American magazine columnist who has the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired.Why are artists so smart? ›
Artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists, a study has found. Participants' brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery.How rare is a genius IQ? ›
The first genius IQ score was around 140. That's about one in every 250 people. But one leading researcher in the 1940s suggested that a genius should have an IQ over 180. That's about one in every 2 million people.
There is a difference in brain structure between artists and non-artists, which accounts for the difference in ability. Artists view the world differently, focusing on the whole visual field rather than individual objects. This allows them to see shadows and contours that non-artists would miss.What raises IQ? ›
Training your memory, executive control, and visuospatial reasoning can help to boost your intelligence levels. The best way to train these areas of your brain is to engage in thoughtful activities and games, learn new skills, and keep your brain active.Does drawing affect memory? ›
In our recent research, we explored whether drawing to-be-learned information enhanced memory and found it to be a reliable, replicable means of boosting performance. Specifically, we have shown this technique can be applied to enhance learning of individual words and pictures as well as textbook definitions.What are the disadvantages of drawing? ›
- Drawing is generally slower than most other mediums. You can't easily do a wash of value or color like you can with oils or watercolors.
- You can't layer colors with pencils like you can with oils or acrylics.
- It's difficult to correct mistakes.
You might wonder if it's even worth trying to learn drawing if you only have a little spare time or you're not in your twenties anymore. Of course it is. It probably takes less time and effort to become good at it than you might think.Why does drawing feel so good? ›
Studies show that despite those fears, "engaging in any sort of visual expression results in the reward pathway in the brain being activated," says Kaimal. "Which means that you feel good and it's perceived as a pleasurable experience."What are the 5 benefits of drawing? ›
- Improve Communication Skills.
- Enhance Creativity. ...
- Increase Emotional Intelligence. ...
- Improve memory.
- Self-esteem Booster.
- Reduces Stress.
|Intelligence Area||Is Strong in:|
|Verbal||Reading, writing, telling stories, memorizing dates, thinking in words|
|Logical/Math||Math, reasoning, logic, problem-solving, patterns|
|Visual/Spatial||Reading, maps, charts, drawing, puzzles, imaging things, visualization|
The size of the drawing
If your drawing takes up approximately 50% of the paper, it indicates a certain balance between extroversion and introversion. On the other hand, if your drawing takes up the entire drawing surface, it speaks of an excess of self-esteem, and even certain aggressiveness.
As they strive to conform to company ideals for leadership, they often bury the qualities that made them special. They become reluctant to take risks, lest they prove themselves unworthy. This "talent curse" can hinder personal growth, performance, and engagement--and even push people out the door.
- Magic tricks.
- Playing an instrument.
- Endurance – you can run further than others without getting tired.
- The ability to play multiple instruments.
- Flexibility – you can move your body in positions others cant.
Wasted Talent is a global network of music and lifestyle media brands. Our family includes the biggest and most influential music, culture and entertainment platforms: MIXMAG, KERRANG! and THE FACE.Is drawing a hobby or talent? ›
So is drawing a talent or skill? Drawing is a Skill, so you can learn how to draw even if you are not talented. It will take more time and effort but generally the artists who are not that talented most of the time outperform the talented artists in the long run.Why do I focus better when I draw? ›
Drawing, like many other art forms, aids in relaxation and stress relief by forcing us to pay attention to details in the environment, which mimics the experience of mediation. Spontaneous drawing is also said to relieve stress and improve focus, as it relieves your brain from the strain of continuous concentration.Is artistic ability genetic? ›
The researchers found a positive correlation between creativity and genes associated with dopamine. The more dopamine—a neurotransmitter associated with focus and pleasure—the more creativity. Such findings also relate to studies that link creativity and mental illness (which also has a genetic component).Why can't artists draw hands? ›
Hands are so difficult because of their complex anatomy and subtle foreshortening -- a complex type of perspective. Luckily, because they're so difficult, artists have come up with many different techniques that you can use to draw hands.Why you shouldn't draw everyday? ›
They have too many responsibilities for a long-term art habit to be a practical goal. So space your sessions out. Reminding yourself daily of your dream to be an artist is more important than practicing every single day. If you can swing it without demotivating yourself, by all means, go ahead.Is it OK to draw random people? ›
You don't have to ask anyone's permission to draw them but it would be strange to get too close. Drawing people within an urban setting and as part of a general scene is fine.Do you naturally get better at drawing? ›
Drawing is a skill that many people think stems purely from natural talent. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! With a careful eye and plenty of practice, anyone can become a better drawer.What makes you better at drawing? ›
Challenge yourself daily, work hard
Developing warm-up routines is essential for artists because it helps the hands and the arms to work better than before. An artist who is used to daily drawing can identify mistakes and weaknesses in their drawings, work upon them when exercising, and eventually develop perfection.
- Try a daily drawing challenge. To kick things off, try a daily drawing challenge for a week, a month, or even longer. ...
- Go back to basics with shapes. ...
- Spend time looking for inspiration. ...
- Catalog your art and regularly revisit old pieces. ...
- Create repeating patterns.
- Develops Fine Motor Skills. ...
- Encourages Visual Analysis. ...
- Helps Establish Concentration. ...
- Improves Hand-Eye Coordination. ...
- Increases Individual Confidence. ...
- Teaches Creative Problem Solving.
SHORT Answer: 99.99% of the population can draw at a certain skill level. Drawing things such as smiley faces, emojis, arrows, and symbols (sun, moon, stars, etc.) proves to be an easy task for many, and is still considered a form of drawing.Should I draw everyday to improve? ›
When you draw every day, you will speed up your motor learning and master your drawing skills more quickly. Your strokes will become more fluid, you'll understand how to make the shapes you need to form without mistakes, and the time it'll take you to finish your piece of art will decrease.What do you call a person who is good at drawing? ›
1. countable noun. An artist is someone who draws or paints pictures or creates sculptures as a job or a hobby.Why do humans draw? ›
There are countless reasons that motivate the creation of art; some of them are making our surroundings more beautiful; creating records of a specific time, place, person or object; and expressing and communicating ideas. Art is inspiring and stimulating for the human mind.What are the 5 basic skills of drawing? ›
Understanding the ability to work with the following are among the 5 fundamental sketching skills: 1) Edges 2) Spaces 3) Light and Shadow 4) Relationships 5) The Whole, or Gestalt. When these five fundamental drawing abilities are combined, they form the components of a finished work of art.Why is my art not improving? ›
You're Not Allowing Yourself to Play
If you're approaching your art too rigidly or without an element of “fun”, then you're likely to get frustrated and eventually quit over time. You're also likely not to find much improvement in your work because you're looking at it too closely.
It's possible to see improvements by drawing only 1-2 hours per day. But if you want to see significant improvements you should be aiming for 5-6 hours per day, or more if possible.Is it better to read or draw? ›
A new study shows that drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing because it forces the person to process information in multiple ways: visually, kinesthetically, and semantically.