Automaticity and Visual Art Skill Development

A short video demonstrating the impact of automaticity in the development of representational drawing skills.

“Acquisition of a new skill is generally associated with a decrease in the need for effortful control over performance, leading to the development of automaticity. Automaticity by definition has been achieved when performance of a primary task is minimally affected by other ongoing tasks.” (Poldrack RA, Sabb FW, Foerde K, Tom SM, Asarnow RF, Bookheimer SY, Knowlton BJ. J Neurosci. 2005)


Hello Anthony, I was wondering if we have studies to support the importance of teaching visual literacy in art. I am trying to integrate the Waichulis Visual Literacy Curriculum for K-12 into my National Core Arts Standard-based curriculum. And I have a fellow art teacher who called this complete rubbish because it uses worksheets to teach deliberate practice. Apparently any use of worksheets at my new school are a complete no-go area according to this art teacher. She reported me to admin, and we are having a meeting about it tomorrow. I am new to teaching art, so I am also curious to hear what other art teachers here have to say about this. I want to teach Visual literacy skills in addition to the Creative Process. Apparently Visual literacy in art education is going to do more harm than good. She proposes that art skills be developed organically, and deliberate skills development be avoided like a plague when it comes to art education. Am I missing something? I am curious to hear all sides of this. Thanks in advance.

Hi Richard—

That’s an absolutely bizarre situation. I’ve never heard the argument that using worksheets is problematic. I’m not sure how to even address the claim. Perhaps the teacher is unfamiliar with the topics you are introducing and the “worksheet” was just the target of his/her concerns. Who knows?

In any case, a quick search on any academic search engine can give you a great number of resources on visual literacy, critical visual literacy, visual literacy in early education, in higher-education, etc. here’s just a few resources that contain a significant number of citations and resources for you. Please let me know if this helps!

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Thank you so much. This was very helpful. The curriculum coordinator considered both side and the evidence provided, and concluded that it is important to teach visual literacy skills for both viewing and making art. I must say that I drew a lot from the articles you sent, and other articles and videos that I found on this platform. When we were asked to present supporting evidence, I had a lot, and the other party had none. So, much appreciated :slight_smile:


Fantastic Richard! I’m very happy to hear it. I still have a hard time believing that an educator actually invested time and energy in taking a stance against visual literacy and deliberate practice in the classroom. Seems like something else may be going on there.

Regardless—wonderful job my friend! Congratulations! :tada::confetti_ball::tada::fishing_pole_and_fish:

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Yeah, it was completely thrown off by that. True, it has to be something else.

Thanks for the studies, they really helped my case. Thanks :slight_smile:

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