Dumage / weird

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

When my friend sent me these drawings I couldn’t resist to not share them with you. Even if you saw them before (and you probably did, because this is 60 years old story), they are so cool that I think it worth to see them again. I gave you whole story. Enjoy.

These nine drawings were done by an artist under the influence of LSD – part of a test conducted by the US government during it’s dalliance with psychotomimetic drugs in the late 1950’s. The artist was given a dose of LSD 25 and free access to an activity box full of crayons and pencils. His subject is the medico that jabbed him.

First drawing is done 20 minutes after the first dose (50ug). An attending doctor observes – Patient chooses to start drawing with charcoal. The subject of the experiment reports – “Condition normal… no effect from the drug yet”.

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

85 minutes after first dose and 20 minutes after a second dose has been administered (50ug + 50ug). The patient seems euphoric. “I can see you clearly, so clearly. This… you… it’s all… I’m having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.”

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

2 hours 30 minutes after first dose. Patient appears very focus on the business of drawing. “Outlines seem normal, but very vivid – everything is changing colour. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my consciousness is situated in the part of my body that’s now active – my hand, my elbow… my tongue”.

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

2 hours 32 minutes after first dose. Patient seems gripped by his pad of paper. “I’m trying another drawing. The outlines of the model are normal, but now those of my drawing are not. The outline of my hand is going weird too. It’s not a very good drawing is it? I give up – I’ll try again…”

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

2 hours 35 minutes after first dose. Patient follows quickly with another drawing. “I’ll do a drawing in one flourish… without stopping… one line, no break!”. Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

2 hours 45 minutes after first dose. Patient tries to climb into activity box, and is generally agitated – responds slowly to the suggestion he might like to draw some more. He has become largely none verbal. “I am… everything is… changed… they’re calling… your face… interwoven… who is…” Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like “Thanks for the memory”). He changes medium to Tempera.

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

4 hours 25 minutes after first dose. Patient retreated to the bunk, spending approximately 2 hours lying, waving his hands in the air. His return to the activity box is sudden and deliberate, changing media to pen and water color. “This will be the best drawing, Like the first one, only better. If I’m not careful I’ll lose control of my movements, but I won’t, because I know. I know” – (this saying is then repeated many times). Patient makes the last half-a-dozen strokes of the drawing while running back and forth across the room.

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

5 hours 45 minutes after first dose. Patient continues to move about the room, intersecting the space in complex variations. It’s an hour and a half before he settles down to draw again – he appears over the effects of the drug. “I can feel my knees again, I think it’s starting to wear off. This is a pretty good drawing – this pencil is mighty hard to hold” – (he is holding a crayon).

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

8 hours after first dose. Patient sits on bunk bed. He reports the intoxication has worn off except for the occasional distorting of our faces. We ask for a final drawing which he performs with little enthusiasm. “I have nothing to say about this last drawing, it is bad and uninteresting, I want to go home now.”

Drawing Under the Influence of LSD

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28 Responses

  1. Soendoro Soetanto says:

    Very interesting… any conclusion from the test?

    Soendoro Soetanto

  2. Juan Gomez says:

    You’re an artist when you’re on drugs ? amazing. lol.

  3. jashdhsadks says:

    wow this is very interesting, very unique, i love how everything changes once his mind has taken him to a completely different world. this study is magnificent.

  4. Axon says:

    Actually, there were done on pcp, not acid.

  5. Laura says:

    very interesting

  6. Rachmat Ardiyanto says:

    6th drawing is totally explosive and intense, then its getting slickier in the 7th

  7. JR says:

    Drawing 5. is grampa simpson.

  8. Mememe says:

    Wow, picture 6 is absolutely amazing! I was shocked when I saw it. I’m speechless right now…

  9. Calling BS says:

    Speaking as an artist that has drawn while on LSD, as well as watched my friends draw while on LSD, i’m gonna call BS on this. Someone above mentioned that it was PCP and not LSD, I honestly have never seen such terrible drawings from anyone on LSD, even those that are not artistically inclined in the first place.

    The US government is notorious for it’s anti drug propaganda which often exaggerates or simply lies about the real effect of drugs. Out lawing drugs that they claim are harmful while taxing the hell out of tobacco and alcohol which are just as addictive and damaging as LSD and marijuana.

  10. kitkat says:

    Give me a break! This is such BS I had to laugh. Shhhh….did you hear that? It’s Bill Hicks>

  11. Jones Scott says:

    As Calling BS, I’ve seen friends draw on LSD and similar drugs – each of them creating an explosion of detail and obssessive strike of lines on everything. It’s way more chaotic than the images above.

    Either the artist got a mild dose of LSD or it is done in want of being cool.

  12. John V. Karavitis says:

    John V. Karavitis Actually, I have to agree with poster “Calling BS”. This seems very strange. I mean, I would expect someone “tripping out” on LSD to not be able to have enough motor control to voluntarily draw anything, let alone even be aware of the pencil/pen/crayon, etc. I have seen paintings done by schizophrenics, now THAT is some weird tripping artwork. I also think that there have been cases of famous painters who were known to have suffered from dementia, whose artwork changed in their latter years. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a controlled study done where people are given drugs and then we see what they can draw. Indeed, they’ve done this with spiders, and they have photographs of the webs that the spiders created while “high”. Lesson to be learned: don’t even think about spinning a web while high! LOL! John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis

  13. Rodolfo Stoker says:

    Dude I discovered you on Facebook and I just needed to say superb internet site!!

  14. danny says:

    this is awesome, i don’t think it is BS at all. i’ve taken LSD, and as for John saying he would expect someone who is tripping on acid to not have enough motor skill to perform the task of drawing, i strongly disagree. when i was tripping on acid, i did not draw anything, but during the trip i performed many ordinary tasks that require some motor skill, such as making a cup of tea or rolling a joint, although these tasks were considerably more eventful and took a lot more time and effort than they usually do.
    to me the first few pictures look as though he is somewhat overwhelmed by the drugs effects and finding it hard to concentrate, but by the 6th, 7th and 8th drawings, he is well into the trip and you can clearly see he is trying to recreate the visual distortions he is witnessing under the influence. really awesome, it makes me wish i would have done a few sketches whilst i was tripping. maybe i will next time :)

  15. Joint mc Ironfist says:

    Well.. regardless what and how much he takes.. he will still draw better than me ever will.

  16. mister wiggles says:

    7 is beautiful

  17. mister wiggles says:

    oh, furthermore, this is too brief a study/observation. within the bounds of this post at least. the exterior may seem random, even simple on observation, but there is a hive of activity within the subject’s mind which cannot be understood by pure observation.

    @ some of the comments above …

    i do find this a bit bogus too, more in the observations than the result. in regards to artistic talent, LSD simply alters the chemical balance of the brain, it affects the mind, and takes the recipient on a journey of perception … temporarily. it does not denote artistic talent.

    the drawings in this post suggest there is a transitional period through the individual’s perception during the course of the trip, however whether the drawing is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is irrelevant. that’s a subjective thing. it’s more of a chronological marker for that point of the reaction occurring within the person’s brain.

    all of these drawings are brilliant in their own right. my 2c. feel free to disagree.

    1. is a critical drawing. it is stylised and constructed but it is well thought out, observational. within 20 minutes the drug is already starting to manifest, so this is not truly indicative of a “control” piece. the shading in this happened “off camera” so to speak. the artist has shaded according to their own rules.
    2. starts to break down the rules of #1, there is more boldness in the construction which lends a cubist feel. it is still observational and contains the elements of #1 in a “learned” precursor form. less shading, more shape.
    3. is getting interesting. this is what an artist might call a “gestural” drawing. it breaks #1 and #2 into a rawer, primeval format.
    4. still contains the elements of above. it is more rudimentary. the preconceived notions of “construction” have nearly disappeared, this is PURELY observational, very little attention has been given to the *result* however the elements of the subject have remained defined and intact.
    5. is purely gestural. #3 meets #4. this looks like some of Picasso’s work. it is broken down beyond form or aesthetic, yet retains the compositional value and basic symbolic information of #1.
    6. is great. it breaks beyond the subject of the drawing and becomes a representation of the entire environment. the background is being incorporated and the artist has “shorthanded” environmental variables which break beyond the pre-determined construct of the artist’s training. the artist has let go of preconceived notions, drawing from instinct, observation, and perception instead.
    7. is profound. more detail and beauty of form than any other drawing in the study. lines are broken into paths and patterns. some of the artist’s training is manifested (through effort), however it is also now a mash of symbolic, realistic, and learned viewpoints.
    8. the artist is in the late throes of the drug, they are silly in the head, exhaustion is setting in, but the intent is intact. this is a “can’t be bothered, too much going on” drawing. which would explain the 3 hr gap before the next … the artist has succumbed to the effects of the drug and is not productive. they’re in another place, or rather a version of “real life” that only they can perceive.
    9. been awake too long. coherent 3d visualisation and interpretation has returned. artist is tired and lacks the effort of #1, but sobriety is setting back in and the artist has regained their own notions of form. the subject is complete – however without construction. the artist has taken in what they’ve needed to and delivered a quick representation.

    some ambiguous artistic elements:

    – light and colour look the same in black & white pencil/charcoal drawings.
    – shapes are learned. if you see someone with a square head, you will draw a square.
    – lines indicate light /and/ weight.
    – “trained” artists may focus on a specific subject and ignore everything else. this is not truly indicative of the scene, it is the result of specific focus and training. while the drawings become more basic and elemental, they also appear to take more of a holistic approach to the scene as preconceived notions are disregarded.

    just one more thing. none of these drawings suggest a lack of motor control. the biggest divide, in my opinion, has been between perception and productivity. the artist has broken the subject down into different attributes, at times has grown impatient or distraction, but has at all points considered the subject, and the essence of that subject.

  18. Bob says:

    Each person has a different reaction to LSD. You can call it BS, most things are on the Internet. However, theses are pretty close to what someone people would or could draw, shit some people have no intrest in drawing! or much of anything. I remember being only interested in mirrors, and any reflection. Nothing like getting lost in the bathroom mirror for 45 mins. Down the rabbit hole, see you all there.

  19. Sigma957 says:

    Picasso didn’t need LSD. Manet didn’t need LSD. Monet didn’t need LSD. Michelangelo didn’t, neither Caravaggio, Giacometti, Titian, Durer, Rothko, Mondrian, Van Gogh, Rodan, Hokusai, Chinese momumental painters, De Kooning etc. So what this study actually shows is that some people don’t have an imagination without drugs.

    • mrpoofs says:

      He wasnt supposed to be showing his imagination, as his subject was a regular person sitting in front of him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually SIGMA957… Picasso and Van Gogh were infamous for their indiscretion with Absinthe and experimenting with drugs. Van Gogh cut off his own ear in manic depression and died shortly after painting Starry Night. Many people develop complex imaginations from drug use. Sometimes the long term effects make it easier for such artists to use again simply for motivation (especially if using generously often).

  20. google says:

    well I couldn’t ever draw something like that, with or without drugs

  21. lalala says:

    nº 6 draw is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

  22. George says:

    All I have to say is, I saw this same exact thing published in an old LIFE magazine from 1966, so either the magazine was lying, or the people the magazine got the info from was lying. But LIFE is a pretty established magazine. The article said it was LSD.

  23. ma.lyn says:

    drugs..thats bad,drawings so cool like a touch of picasso

  24. ma.lyn says:

    oh drugs is bad..the drawings are cool and you are just like lkegend artist touch like picasso etc ha ha ha your wacky

  25. kdkjdfv says:

    To Sigma 957 – Most of the famous artists of the past did use some form of drug a lot of times. Whether it was opiates, alcohol, marijuana, or anything else, many of them did. Maybe not LSD. And this person IS an artist. It says it in the description. They have amazing technical skill obviously, and are just trying to portray the visions that they are having during the trip.

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