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Robin's Mind Space Blog

What Drawing Teaches Us

Drawing does so many things for us and to us, it's a bit difficult to explain. As an art teacher and artist, I'm consistently asked, "How'd you do that?" or "Why can you draw so well?"

And quite honestly, I can say... I don't really know. Of course, that's not to say I don't understand how I draw well, or what actions I take to make my work, my best. It means that there always is the moment that I get lost in 'the zone'. And I've done my research on this. Creativity in it's purest form is thanks to our ability to tap into a very specific brainwave or brainwaves. Alpha and beta. But I'm not going to get into that right now. I'm going to tell you 'what drawing teaches us' and by us, I mean your kids, famous artists, me and you and everyone in between.


When I sit down to draw, my mind must be at rest (a not so easy task sometimes) ... and ready to let go of any nagging thoughts...this is to relax the hemispheres of my brain. Left and right. Both are needed. Both are strong, but those who don't draw often or at all tend to have let the left brain do 'all the work'. You see, put simply, the left brain is in charge of the everyday routine: breathe, eat, sleep, wake, stand, walk, talk, listen, step up, step down, absorb information, record events, hold a pen, type a message, read the reply... and on and on it goes. Linear. Obvious. Factual. Purpose. Question. Answer. Done and done. But is that it?

Imagine giving your left brain an apple to draw. "Well that's easy!" it may reply in your mind. Since it is only concerned with the fact that it knows it's an apple, and apples are round, red, and sit upright with a stem and sometimes a leaf. So your brain draws exactly that: what it knows. Usually that's it...but it may notice the shine, the shadow, the angle of the stem too.

A red apple

Now imagine giving your right brain an apple to draw. Your right brain wants to touch the apple. Is it really red? or maybe it's yellow, green or a mixture of all three. Does it sit upright, or does it tilt to one side? Is there really a stem? How long is it? Is there a leaf too? Which way is it placed? How big is it compared to my hand? Is there any shine?....and on and on it goes. The right brain is interested in seeing what it's drawing, and not drawing what it already knows. These are very different things. But what does drawing teach us?

A collection of colourful apples

Well, to put it simply: To see. Our left brain puts the pencil, pen or brush in our hands and our right brain takes the time to really see what it's looking at. Of course, you have to WANT to draw the apple as you see it. If you have no interest in it, or wonder what's the may find yourself stuck in an inner battle of the brain(s)!!! Do you love drawing apples? Do you even like apples? Maybe you hate apples, or you're allergic. Are you drawing a real apple right in front of you? Or have you never eaten one, seen one or touched one? Are you drawing from a reference photo or from an online tutorial? ALL of these factor into the success or failure of your drawing. Seriously.

Here's a quote from on the same subject: "Drawing allows us to better understand our subject matter. That understanding could be the form of the object, the gentle curve of a line, or how we feel and respond to whatever the subject matter is. The more you draw something, the more you remember it and know it."

There you have it. AFTER your right brain has had some time with the subject matter and has really gotten to understand the apple, or anything you have studied not only with your eyes, but also your other four senses. Touch, taste, smell and yes, even hear.


And now the teacher in me must impress upon you just how important drawing is good for here's the full article for your convenience.

And here's more on alpha waves from

"Alpha State of Mind: ... An "alpha state of mind" is what scientists associate with "right brain" activity, or our subjective senses of imagination, creativity, memory, and intuition. When you are actively awake, you are typically in a state of mind known as Beta, with brain wave activity between 14 and 30 HZ."


And that's all for now! I hope you found this blog interesting and actually give yourself the time to read all about your alpha brainwaves and the fascinating facts on why drawing is good for you!

I'll have more coming your way soon!

~Robin Thibodeau

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