Drawing vs Painting: The Differences Explained Easy

There are many differences between drawing and painting. The main difference is the surface where you use them.

Painting typically uses a canvas as the base, while drawings are usually done on paper. But you can paint on paper and draw on canvas if you like.

Drawing also has more detail than painting because it’s made using pencils, pens, and markers that create different levels of thickness in the lines they make to represent details like hair and individual blades of grass. 

Paintings usually have less detail than drawings because paint is thicker in consistency; it covers up any marks below it which means there isn’t much room for additional detailing with paint.

So why do people assume one has to be better than the other? My assumption is that many untrained or self-taught artists are one dimensional, excelling at either painting or drawing but not at both which leads them to pick a side and stick to it.

So let’s discuss the cases for drawing and the cases for painting and I will sum up why you need to be good at both.

Is painting easier than drawing?

No. Because most artists learn to draw first, many individuals believe that painting is more difficult than drawing.

As a child you tend to start out by drawing, so it’s only natural that painting seems like a more sophisticated and harder method. The conventional view is that painting is more difficult than drawing.

drawing vs painting

Because we tend to have our first artistic experiences with drawing and that we have probably clocked more hours drawing than painting then naturally, depending on the style of painting, let’s say realism then I would say drawing is easier than painting.

But if you were to paint in a style that was non-representative or abstract and that you used a limited palette of colors then you could actually state that painting is easier than drawing.

Have you ever tried to duplicate an abstract or non-representative artwork using just pencils or drawing? It is really really hard to achieve the same results.

When it comes to drawing, less materials are required, and mistakes can be erased when you’re still learning. This implies that before you learn to paint, you should learn how to draw in order to grasp the fundamentals of design and perspective.

Is drawing hard?

Short answer, No. Drawing isn’t hard if you understand the basics of perspective and shading or how to create volume with simple shapes like circles, triangles etc.

If you learn these principles then your drawings will be on point! It is not rocket science; its art.

And painting? Well painting doesn’t involve too much mathematics but requires more creativity rather than technique (depending on what style) so in that sense it can also be easy because all one needs to do is develop their creative skills through practice.

So at the end of it all I think both are equally difficult depending upon which mediums they use for expression . Therefore I go back to my original statement ‘drawing isn’t hard’.

What is the difference between drawing and painting

The simplest definition of the difference between drawing and painting is that a drawing is the act of creating a picture on paper by using a medium such as graphite, compressed pigment (pastels, charcoals, colored pencils) and inks, whereas painting is the application of a wet medium such as pigments mixed with acrylic binders or oils or water to a surface with a brush.

There are many differences between painting and drawing; painting uses a canvas or specialized papers as its base while drawings can be done on any paper or other surfaces like walls and floors.

Drawings also have more detail because of this but it depends greatly upon what style one has so at times painting can actually contain more details than drawing!

At the same time when I paint, 90% of my paintings start off as a drawing in one form or another either as a preliminary sketch or a detailed drawing which is usually to the scale of the painting surface.

I do this as painting requires a different investment in time and materials and drawing is much more portable and flexible. By drawing first, I can plan my painting.

I can’t exactly do the same in reverse.

The other differences between drawing and painting are the materials and medium.

Painting requires painting mediums like oil, acrylic paint or watercolor where drawing uses easily obtainable mediums such as pen, charcoals, markers and pencils on paper.

The materials used in painting are also different than those of drawing which can include pastels, charcoal, crayons and colored pencils to name a few while painting is usually done with brushes but can be done by other means as well such as sponges or cloth rags for texture effects.

Painting surfaces may also vary depending upon what the desired outcome is whether its canvas boards or stretched canvases to prepare painted walls!

What is more important drawing or painting?

Neither is more important than the other but painting is seen as a more high artform than drawing simply because it requires a little more skill to become proficient.

When painting, you cover up most or all of the ground of paper or canvas, whereas when drawing, you expose a lot of the surface of the paper which makes many think that you don’t require as much work with drawing.

What does painting offer that drawing can’t?

The painting process can be time-consuming and in some cases require an a fair amount of self learning or training to master. This is why painting tends to take longer than drawing because of all the extra effort required for it compared to just drawing.

When it comes to achieving realistic effects, you can do so with painting using less time. Painting a photorealistic portrait can be achieved in less time and effort than with drawing.

You can paint over any mistakes without leaving any visible traces of the changes being made.

Paint allows you to create texture without much skill compared to drawing. To achieve the same realism using drawing techniques would require countless hours more experience than a painter.

Painting also allows you to fill in block of color and shades much faster than drawing can.

Paintings are also seen as more valuable and so you can command a higher price for a painting than you can a drawing, no matter how good the drawing is. It’s all about perception.

It should be Drawing AND Painting, NOT Drawing VS Painting – Wrap up

As I mentioned in the introduction, you should not be asking which is better, drawing vs painting you should be looking at both mediums as complementary skills that when applied together will create unimaginable works of beauty.

A painter who can’t draw is limited in what they can paint.

An artist who can only draw is limited in how they can use their mediums.

When an artist is proficient at both drawing and painting you start to see overlaps in their art. You will see drawings that have painting effects and depth, you will see paintings that have had paint applied like the finest of pencils. The results are truly amazing.

It is one of the reasons why I love the art of Vermeer for example. His paintings have the best of both drawing and painting.

You will also see that many classically trained artists will create an preliminary drawing of a painting before they start, just to ensure they have the composition right.

The same applies to watercolor or gouache artists. They will usually always draw first, paint after.

I hope you found Drawing vs Painting: The Differences Explained Easy useful and I hope I have convinced you to approach drawing and painting as equals rather than a drawing vs painting question.

Most expensive painting ever stolen - The Concert by Johannes (Jan) Vermeer
The Concert by Johannes (Jan) Vermeer

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