Scratching the Surface: Learning Styles, Training and the Acquisition of High-level Representational Drawing Ability

Chamberlain, Rebecca and McManus, Christopher and Brunswick, Nicola and Rankin, Qona and Riley, Howard (2015) Scratching the Surface: Learning Styles, Training and the Acquisition of High-level Representational Drawing Ability. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 9 (2). ISSN 1931-3896

Riley, HOWARD (2015)ScratchingTheSurface-FourthDraft.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License CC-BY-NC Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Accurate representational drawing is a complex skill which underpins performance in many branches of the visual arts. Research suggests that expertise typically is acquired as a result of deliberate practice and a flexible approach to learning strategies. The current study investigated how, in art students, differences in the acquisition of observational drawing skill could be characterised using domain-general expertise accounts. A cohort of undergraduate and postgraduate art students (n=682) completed questionnaires about self-perceived artistic abilities, personality and approaches to learning. A subset completed tasks of actual drawing ability (n=301), the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) test and a performance IQ test. Actual drawing ability related to time spent drawing and drawing techniques, with additional independent predictive effects of both the copying and delayed ROCF test. Effects of personality were mainly mediated via learning styles, with surface learners spending more time drawing, learning fewer techniques and acquiring a lower level of actual skill. Deep learners learned more drawing techniques, and strategic (achieving) learners acquired a higher level of drawing skill overall. The resulting model of drawing ability development has the potential to be generalised over a range of creative and non-creative domains

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper has not (yet) been published. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not a copy of record
Uncontrolled Keywords: Drawing skills
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Wales Institute for Science & Art (WISA) > Academic Discipline: Art & Media
Depositing User: Professor Howard Riley
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 13:38
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2023 09:22

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only