Jaclyn Courville

Senior Psychology Research Project
Saint Anselm College
Manchester, NH

Children's Freehand and Computer Generated Drawings:  Creativity, Realism, and Preference


This study investigated for creativity, realism, and preference differences in freehand versus computer generated drawings.  Seventeen children in kindergarten/first and third/fourth grades were recruited to draw the pictures.  Nine judges scored the drawings on creativity, defined by the consensual assessment technique (Amablie, 1982), and realism, defined as "how accurately this picture represents real life".  Overall the older group scored significantly higher on creativity and realism.  Also, the children preferred their freehand drawing to their computer drawing.  Results do not support the theory that one drawing medium is better than another.  The children's preference for their freehand drawing may indicate a need for children to be provided with traditional drawing tools to foster their development.  Their response for having more fun drawing with the computer may be because of the software's uniqueness.  Future research may want to look at the effect computers have on children's drawing abilities and preferences.


Eight kindergarten/first grade children and nine third/fourth grade students were recruited for this study.  Visits to each child's home were made.  Using Crayola drawing supplies each child created one freehand drawing and one computer generated drawing.  The children were asked their preferences for the two drawings.  Then the drawings were scored by nine judges on creativity and realism.


        Overall the children reported that they prefered their own freehand drawing to their computer generated drawing.  However, when asked which drawing they had more fun creating the children reported having more fun creating the computer generated drawing.

        The third/fourth grade children were scored as being higher in creativity than the kindergarten/first grade children.  No significant differences were found between the two types of drawings.

        The third/fourth graders also scored significantly higher on realism than the kindergarten/first graders.  No significant differences were found between the two different types of drawings.

If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me at jcourvil@anselm.edu

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