Bachelor's Degree in Psychology: Psychology and Drawings: How to Read them?

07 July 2022

Drawing is one of the bluntest methods of expression and communication that people have. Sometimes, it is the means by which people free themselves of fear and internal conflicts. Discover what is the relationship that exists between child psychology and drawings and how to interpret it.  

Children communicate through drawings and they use it as a way of expression, game, and creation. Using only paper and a pencil, they can express what they feel and project their experiences. Any person studying a degree in Psychology should be able to establish a relationship between the drawings and their meaning. 

When people, whether children or adults face unclear impulses, they reflect on paper and pencil their personality and their way of perceiving the world. The mood of the drawer can be analysed, together with their fears, dreads, and wishes. This is one of the main principles of the psychological tests based on drawing interpretation.

What information can you get from these drawings?

Through the drawing, a mental health professional can get information about: 

  • Creative and imaginative skills 
  • Evolutionary development
  • Type of personality
  • Estimative about the intellectual resources 
  • General conflict signs
  • Psychopathological symptoms 
  • Perceptive, cognitive, and physical alterations. 
  • Learning problems
  • Situations of abuse and bullying
  • Abuse
  • Depression and Anxiety

An individual with a degree in Psychology would be able to identify more characteristics and information that can be retrieved back from drawings. 

Recommendations to take into account

Whether the drawings are spontaneous or provoked, drawing them on a clean sheet of paper (A4 size, without lines or squares) is recommended. At the same time, it is recommended that it is used horizontally and ideally drawn with crayons since they have a greater degree of expressiveness due to their texture and colours. Having less control and precision while drawing, an optimal projection of internal aspects is shown. 

A short story written in pencil related to the drawing can be added. It would be helpful to suggest that the person draw a human figure with a pencil and an eraser. 

Which aspects should be observed in a drawing?

The combination of the most important aspects will increase the validity of the conclusions drawn.


The sheet of paper is considered the representation of the external world and the size of the drawing shows how the person perceives himself within himself. Here, information about the degree of self-esteem, vital energy, and tendency to withdraw can be perceived. 

If the drawing is too small, the person drawing may probably have inferiority feelings, retreat, or low self-esteem. On the contrary, if the drawing is too big, filling the whole sheet of paper, it may indicate superiority attitudes, egocentrism, and almightiness. 

Location on the sheet of paper

The left side of the drawing represents the past, the centre represents the present, and the right side represents the future. The upper part of the sheet of paper is considered a mental plane, whereas the lower part represents the physical or impulsive area. 


Colours offer straight information about the mood and the emotional world of the people. Every colour has a meaning and certain combinations are meaningful. 

Generally, using dark colours mean feelings of sadness, emptiness, loneliness, or anxiety, whereas using warm colours suggests happiness, supporting skills, and stability. An exception to the rule is using red, which often expresses anger and aggressiveness. 


The pressure of the strokes indicates the degree of the person’s energetic stress. A strong stroke indicates security, control, assertiveness, and confidence. A soft stroke, almost unnoticeable represents a lack of confidence, insecurity, and low self-esteem. 

By contrast, if there is a strong stroke, it may be an indicator of aggressiveness and release on the surroundings. Curved lines represent sensibility and dependency, whereas straight and edgy lines are a sign of aggressiveness and violence. 


A sharp and legible shape can lead to a high level of emotional and rational control and an optimal delimitation of identity in their surroundings. If the drawing is confusing and quite abstract, the person is likely facing an identity problem. 

What should an ideal drawing include?

The ideal drawing should not have any conflict or psychopathological sign.

  • Ideal size: ⅔ of the sheet of paper
  • Location: centre of the sheet of paper 
  • Shape orientation: to the right
  • Shape: definite and defined. 
  • Colours: more than one, adjusted to reality. 
  • Pressure of the stroke: firm but balanced between curved and straight lines. 
  • There should not be lots of repeated elements and it should include original symbolic content. We talk about an ideal drawing when it includes a clear reference to aspects referred to people, communication, or help to others. 

Examples of drawings and their analysis

First example

This was drawn by a 37 years old lady with aggression and impulsion problems. There is no definition in her drawing, the stroke is uncontrolled and the pressure of the stroke together with sharp mountains and the colour brown are indicators of her type of personality. 

 Second example 

This was made by a 14 years old teenager that reflected a regressive attitude (the drawing is located to the left), deep inferiority feelings and low self-esteem (small drawing), and underlying aspects that indicate depression (black as the only colour). 

Third example

This was made by an eight-year-old boy. It expresses an inner disturbance of jealousy about her little brother through the black cloud and the rain.

Studying Psychology

If you would like to learn more about mental processes and you want to study human behaviour, here you would find lots of options regarding a career in Psychology. Get an online degree in Psychology to be full of information of your interest. 

If you want more information, fill in the form on this site and one of our advisors will contact you as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have.

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