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"Stop drawing pretty pictures and do something productive."
I've heard from parents, teachers, and strangers talking to kids as if art is equivalent to just sitting doing nothing. It's almost like the act of drawing is a gateway drug to unfulfilled pipe dreams, not wanting to work, and giving up on intellect, which is ridiculous.
Yes, there are times that people need to stop drawing and get other tasks done. But to devalue it? That frustrates me to no end.
It's true, not everyone who draws will end up being a professional artist, or use the developed skill for anything financial. Even so, it is valuable.
The Value of Art (Aside from Money)
1. Mental Health
I am a strong believer that art is a great tool for processing and stabilizing mental states. For me personally, through my childhood, I would draw out my emotions so I would spend less time getting in fights with my brother, and help me get my moping and angst out in a nondestructive way.
2. Coordination and Fine Motor Skills
Though it might not help your balance or ability to catch a ball, it still does aid with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Since as far back as I remember I've had a history of focus issues. I especially remember having issues with it when I was eight years old. From then, I made a goal for the next few years to incrementally attempt to spend more time on images. It became my training wheels for learning how to keep my attention longer and more central. There is no denying I will always struggle with focus, but it has helped immensely. I will still put time aside drawing to help me when I start having struggles again.
At school, and on the internet, art can bring people together. It can help bridge a communication gap. People draw things within their interest, and it can bring forward people with the same interests.
5. Developing Understanding
When drawing, you really have to study an object, see every part. People who draw cars are going to end up learning a lot about cars. Everything drawn has to have a degree of understanding of how the drawn subject is constructed and functions. With people, you need to understand how the body bends, and where there is more muscle or less. Colour takes a lot to understand fully, based on the real world.
6. Learning Interests
From trying to learn how to draw something, it can bring you into a deep dive into a subject. A friend of mine has learned a lot about mythology just researching for an image she wanted to draw. It has since kindled a love and continual learning of mythology. Another friend learned such a depth about bugs. It can help uncover other interest one might have never really taken the time to delve into otherwise.
Art, there is no doubt, takes a lot of patience. As one draws more, it can aid in developing patience. Watercolour specifically is a full test of patience.
Watching someone sit there and draw, it can just look like the equivalent to just scrolling on a phone, or laying around, but it really is more than that. Art has been paramount for me in finding my other passions as well as developing my focus and knowledge in a multitude of other fields.