The researchers from King's College London who studied 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins also found that the link between drawing and later intelligence was influenced by genes.
    
At the age of 4, children were asked by their parents to draw a picture of a child. Each figure was scored between 0 and 12 depending on the presence and correct quantity of features such as head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, body, arms etc.
    
For example, a drawing with two legs, two arms, a body and head, but no facial features, would score 4. The children were also given verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests at ages 4 and 14.
    
The researchers found that higher scores on the Draw-a-Child test were moderately associated with higher scores of intelligence at ages 4 and 14.
    
"The Draw-a-Child test was devised in the 1920s to assess children's intelligence, so the fact that the test correlated with intelligence at age 4 was expected," said Dr Rosalind Arden, lead author of the paper.
    
"What surprised us was that it correlated with intelligence a decade later," Arden said.
    
"The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly.
    
"Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life," Arden added.
    
The researchers also measured the heritability of figure drawing. Identical twins share all their genes, whereas non-identical twins only share about 50 per cent, but each pair will have a similar upbringing, family environment and access to the same materials.
    
Overall, at age 4, drawings from identical twins pairs were more similar to one another than drawings from non-identical twin pairs.
    
The researchers concluded that differences in children's drawings have an important genetic link. They also found that drawing at age 4 and intelligence at age 14 had a strong genetic link.
    
"This does not mean that there is a drawing gene – a child's ability to draw stems from many other abilities, such as observing, holding a pencil etc. We are a long way off understanding how genes influence all these different types of behaviour," Arden said.