Hi, my name’s Carrie. Today, on Artist Strong, we are going to break down the benefits that I have discovered from building our skills in drawing.
Drawing helps you see. Our brain has to deal with a whole lot of stimuli every day. Lots and lots of information is coming in.
For that reason, it has filters in place to help prioritize that information and help us make important decisions in our day and understand, for example, when we are hungry or if there’s danger coming our way. That’s what our brain’s built to focus on. It also means then that we need to train our eyes to see. Drawing is one way to do that.
Our brain works on something called gestalt.
This is a word that means “whole”. The idea of gestalt in psychology is that if you have a word come to mind, for example, when I say the word “dog”, you’re going to have a very generic picture of what a dog looks like. If you had a specific breed of dog as a pet, that might be the one that comes to mind. There’s all kinds of breeds of dogs. There’s all kinds of shapes and sizes and colors of a dog. Unfortunately, when you’re drawing, that gestalt can get in the way of your ability to see what’s really in front of you.
The same goes when you use the word “house” or any other kind of noun that we could put out today. All of those gestalts can get in the way of your ability to draw representationally. You need to train your eye to not think about that gestalt, but really see what’s in front of you. Drawing makes you practice this skill.
For this reason, drawing actually helps us see past generalizations.
Gestalt is a kind of generalization that our brain makes to help us sift through all that information that comes into our minds every day. Drawing helps us stop generalizing and really look at the things around us with a little bit more awareness and perhaps a little bit more tolerance and acceptance.
Another reason drawing is important is it helps your attention.
There’s a lot of research-based evidence now that shows that if you’re in a really boring meeting, for example, that doodling helps you retain more information from that meeting than if you were not doodling.
A lot of people see doodling as this offensive act that says that your meeting is boring and therefore, you’re not paying attention. However, having a mild focus on something else actually gives your brain space to listen to that other content that might feel boring to you and thus is harder to retain as information. Doodling gives you that mental space and clarity to have some focus so that you actually get more out of those meetings.
The third benefit I want to share with you today is one that I think we often discount.
I actually think it’s the most important one. Drawing can be fun. We seem to feel like, as adults, this notion of play is no longer important in our lives. Yet, there’s so much research now that also shows that play is important, not just for children, but also for adults.
We have a happier, healthier life when we make space for things that we enjoy. When we are happier and healthier, when things get tough, we can cope better. We have a better way to deal with the obstacles in front of us. We have more emotional space to help and serve others when we take care of ourselves. I can’t imagine a more important reason to make time for your drawing if drawing is something you enjoy doing.
I feel a really special satisfaction when I capture a likeness in my drawing. I feel a sense of wonder when I look at someone else’s artwork and see their drawing. It sparks something inside me. There’s something really special that can come from that. It’s not only for the artist, it’s for the people who view the work.
That creates all kinds of connections, inspiration, and can really drive people to have better lives. It’s motivating. It’s warming. It’s encouraging. Drawing’s a unique tool for communication because of this. Sometimes words don’t say enough.
Be Creatively Courageous: Today, tell me in the comments below why else do you feel drawing is a valuable skill to have. I’d love to add to the list, so share your ideas in the comments below.
If you want to build your skill in drawing, you enjoy it, and you want to be better at it, then join my free challenge for drawing. It’s offered below this video. There’s a button you can click on to learn more about it and get started. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.