Why do I [or we] draw and paint?

I tried to clear my head and answer that question quickly and in plain words.

  • I’m not bad at it.
  • I believe in developing a skill.
  • It’s something to look forward to.
  • I want my creations to amuse others the way they amuse me.
  • Sometimes I get into a state of flow doing it.
  • I think it’s improving my general state of mind.
  • I think using my imagination is a form of self improvement.

Then, I wondered what the academic world’s answer is for why we draw and paint. We’ve been doing it for at least 40,000 years you know. So, I took that curiosity to Google.

Pfft. That was a trudge-through-mud internet search. I didn’t come up with the answer quick enough and I suspect that it wouldn’t matter much what academia has to say about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I would eat up what neuroscience has to say about it if the article was presented to me, but I don’t think an analytic approach is what I was feeling for when I thought of this question.

Probably, it’s more important how practicing artists would answer that question. I easily found that in forum conversations at Deviant Art and Quora.

Some common threads from those conversations are:

  • it brings me (and the people I share it with) joy/happiness/amusement
  • it’s an escape from the pressure/problems/stresses of the world, it’s rejuvinating
  • I’m good at it, so I might as well do it and get better, it could lead to money
  • the need to express feelings and imagination into a visual form

Each of those feels true to me. I suspect, if you’re a drawer, painter, or maker of other sorts, that you also agree with those.

Case closed. That is why I and the rest of us draw and paint.



  1. Hey Kevin – I like your blog a lot, the drawings, your fascination with bolts’n stuff, which I’m fond of, and the conversational way you invite folks to comment. I’m new to your site, 8/20/14, so I’m laying out some thoughts here on this post even though I’ve looked around. I’ll be back. Glad you visited my site and commented cause now that I’m following your, I can visit and enjoy the amusement you’re generating. paul


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