Arts & Culture

Sounds Sketchy ; How Sketch Drawing Affects the Brain

By Jessica Spoto

Have you ever been sitting restlessly in class or on zoom just bursting at the seams stressed out of your mind? Have you found yourself sketching, doodling something quick down in your notebook, to release all that heavy weighted, chaotic tension you feel? You are not going crazy, there is actually plenty of science to back up why you feel such relief when sketching.

 Sketching is a more messy type of drawing, lacking in refined details. Sketches often use quick marks and are a bit more rough around the edges than a completed finished drawing. This gives the artist freedom to create without constraint.

When a person sketches their brain actually creates a new change within its neurological pathways. Sketching has a chemical change within the brain that releases the chemical called dopamine. According to this article by Truescribe “When the artist’s hand begins a drawing, the mind releases dopamine” Dopamine is considered a positive chemical in the brain that causes people to feel a relief within their body and mental state.  Dopamine affects a couple major neurological pathways. The main pathway dopamine effect is the mesolimbic pathway. The mesolimbic pathway is often considered a pathway which functions in pleasure and reward.

Aside from increased dopamine, there are plenty of reasons why sketching actually affects the brain in a healthy productive stress relieving way. Here are just a handful of reasons for how sketching can affect the brain. According to this article by Invaluable sketching enhances creativity, strengthens focus and strategic thinking, improves holistic health, develops communication skills and helps with coordination.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Spoto

In short, if you are feeling stressed by classes, dorm living, just anything that is going on in your life that is causing mental chaos consider sketching. Go ahead, turn on some of your favorite jams, grab that notebook, something to write with and sketch all your stresses away.

Photo courtesy of an SMCC student
Photo courtesy of an SMCC student

Categories: Arts & Culture, Health

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