Brain Stuff: What Happens in Your Brain When You Draw

Several fascinating processes occur in your brain when you draw out an idea instead of just talking about it. Here's a glimpse into what happens between your ears when you grab those colored markers and paper:

Enhanced Visual Processing:

Drawing engages the visual processing centers of your brain. As you put pen (or marker!) to paper, you activate the visual cortex responsible for interpreting and analyzing visual information. This lets you perceive shapes, colors, and spatial relationships more effectively. When you can perceive these things more effectively, you essentially can process information more efficiently.

Integration of Senses:

Drawing integrates multiple senses, such as vision, touch, and motor skills. The coordination required to hold the drawing tool, control its movements, and create shapes stimulates different brain areas, enhancing sensorimotor integration.

Spatial Reasoning:

When you draw an idea, your brain engages in spatial reasoning. It helps determine different drawing elements’ proportions, positioning, and spatial relationships. This cognitive process supports your ability to organize and structure information visually. This is especially helpful when you are trying to dissect processes and sequences of a program, project, or initiative.

Pattern Recognition:

Drawing facilitates pattern recognition in the brain. As you sketch, your brain searches for patterns, connections, and meaningful relationships between different components of your idea. This can lead to creative insights and novel associations. We using drawing exercises in ideation sessions for this exact reason! 

Memory Encoding:

Drawing an idea improves memory encoding. Translating abstract thoughts into visual representations enhances encoding, making the information more memorable. Visual information is often stored in long-term memory more effectively than verbal or abstract concepts. You will notice that once you see a visual summary or illustration of a process, it is much easier to remember! 

Whole-Brain Engagement:

Drawing engages your brain’s analytical and creative aspects. It activates regions responsible for logical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and areas associated with imagination, creativity, and divergent thinking. This whole-brain engagement promotes holistic understanding and idea generation.

Emotional Expression:

Drawing can tap into your emotional and expressive capabilities. Visualizing an idea allows you to convey emotions and feelings through color, line quality, and artistic choices. This adds a layer of depth and richness to the communication of your ideas.

Externalizing Thoughts:

Drawing externalizes your thoughts and ideas, allowing you to see them in a tangible form outside your mind. This externalization supports cognitive offloading, freeing mental resources for further exploration, analysis, and idea refinement.

Overall, drawing offers a multi-sensory and holistic approach to idea exploration, promoting creativity, problem-solving, and deeper understanding - which is exactly why we use it in so many Mindflower workshops, projects, and reports. Let us know if you need support in this department. We LOVE creating visual summaries, facilitating with graphics, and bringing visual thinking into our workshops.

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