How Drawing Works


To make the case that drawing is a productive means of solution-finding, it is imperative to investigate the two systems which allow us to see objects in our surroundings and to interpret those signals and assign them meaning. This requires an explanation of our visual mechanisms as well as what we know from cognitive psychology about our brain’s inner workings.

While the process by which our brains receive visual inputs seems fairly straightforward, the process that allows us to internalize and create meaning from that information is much less so. This process is called cognition, and it is described as the mental process of knowing, which includes aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgement. Psychology, very generally, studies and posits theories about how our brain does what it does and the behaviors that result from those processes. Cognitive psychology, more specifically, focuses on the mental happenings that allow us to understand abstract concepts; to learn and gather experiences and apply them to subsequent situations of similar or dissimilar nature, and so on. The following sections, will examine several perspectives on how our visual abilities relate to our cognitive abilities and how drawing, in turn, is the catalyst for activating them both simultaneously.