The common themes in beautiful moments

The common themes in beautiful moments

In total I’ve collected more than 8000 beautiful moments in 29 countries. What do people draw most often? And does this differ by country? To figure this out I asked people to help me categorize drawings into themes. Together we’ve categorized almost 4000 moments.* Since the Dutch collection contains 4000 moments I took a random sample of 600 of them. A drawing can have multiple themes.


Nature is the biggest theme. The sun is visible in many of the drawings. In Asia the moon also features frequently. Nature has a beneficial impact on people.


The second biggest theme is leisure. That isn’t remarkable, since people are relaxed and do things they enjoy in their leisure time; it’s the time that produces the most beautiful moments. Still, I find it curious that only few beautiful moments happen at work or school, since we devote much more time to work than leisure…


Many moments are experienced with other people, together. Friendship, love and family are important categories. Other people matter – not only to experience beautiful moments with, but also to share the moments with them afterwards.


Travel, celebrating birthdays and holidays are often mentioned in people’s beautiful moments. These themes rank highly because they include ‘big’ moments. People think it’s important to mention highlights; that’s why the request to draw a beautiful moment from the last week is often interpreted as a request to draw the most beautiful moment. I wonder what will happen if people just mention any beautiful moments and not necessarily the most beautiful. This will probably result in more diverse and ordinary moments, and might help people look back on their week as more positive, since they would be more conscious of the beautiful moments.

* The countries which are included in the analysis are:

The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

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