The Relationship Between Aesthetic and Drawing Preferences

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There are suggested to be similarities between what is aesthetically preferred and artistically produced; however, little research has been conducted that directly examines this relationship and its links to expertise. Here, we examined the artistic process of artists and nonartists using geometric shapes as stimuli, investigating aesthetic (how pleasing they find the shapes) and drawing preferences (which shape they would prefer to draw out of a choice of two). We examined the cognitive processes behind these preferences using eye-tracking methods both when viewing stimuli and when making drawing preferences. Drawing preference scores increased with increasing aesthetic ratings regardless of expertise. We find gaze behavior when free-viewing to reflect behavior when making a drawing preference as both artists and nonartists fixated on aesthetically preferred stimuli first, for longer and more often. Artists gaze behavior when free-viewing was also influenced by what they would prefer to draw. This suggests that artists have a more fluid relationship than nonartists between images aesthetically preferred and those preferred for drawing. Overall, we demonstrate that there is a relationship between aesthetic preference and artistic preference for production, and this varies with expertise.

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