The Difference Between Drawing And Painting

What is the difference between drawing and painting?Is painting and drawing similar mediums or are they completely different?

The Difference Between Drawing And Painting. The two mediums appear to have more differences than similarities, however, the act and techniques are very similar. Strokes and lines. Pencils and brushes.

What makes drawing and painting are how the medium reacts to the surface and additional tools. Read further to understand the difference between the two mediums and their basics.

How do drawing and painting compare?

In a lot of ways, drawing and painting are very similar. To draw you simply need a tool and paper. The same with painting, you need the tool and board, but then the third necessary part of the equation is the substance.

It’s amazing how this third part makes such a striking contrast between the two types of art.

The characteristic differences between drawing and painting are in how these two styles are typically done. Drawing brings to mind a pencil and pen. Starkness. Drawings are usually on a smaller scale.

We associate drawing with the commonality of life. The majority of people doodle when bored either at work or in class.

Painting feels like something more. More effort. The addition of the substance paint, some of which need to be mixed. Light and dark play a bigger part here. Lines are still in use, but the shape of the lines and how sharp they can be has changed.

Water, oil, alcohol, brush texture, brush shape, and paper determine how the paint looks on the canvas. How you use these tools changes it even further.

But these are typical differences and anyone can break those limitations. Blendable color pencils allow the user to create realistic depictions of life. There are massive drawings and minuscule oil paintings.

The major difference between drawing and painting is texture and an added tool. You can see the labor of a painting just by looking at it closely. Look at an oil painting as close as they allow the next time you are in a gallery.

The layers of paint. Indentions the brush has made as it swept paint across the canvas. Bristles forever encased in the paint. If you were allowed to touch the painting you would feel the struggle of the artist.

Places that are higher because one section just would not work right. It’s all there exposed to the viewer. Drawings no matter how good can only show us the technique, not the pain.

Drawings only need two items the medium and paper. Even fancy alcohol pens are completely self-contained. Paintings require canvas or paper, brush, and paint. Not exactly an easy travel option.

The basics of drawing

Drawing typically consists of a pen or a pencil and paper. Besides that, the options are as infinite as painting. The number of pencil options includes charcoal, graphite, and standard No. 2. Pens that can be used are infinite.

You can buy specialty pens that vary in tip fineness. Or you can go to your local store and buy a regular pen. I prefer ballpoint.

Drawing is known for contrast. Dark grey pencil on white background. Each line is seen. No hiding with blending colors.

Drawings and paintings look different, but they are not separated. Most people start out drawing. It’s a fundamental of any art. To paint the first one must draw it out.

Drawing is usually associated with pencils or pens. Dark colors on a white background. White pens and pencils are available along with the black and sepia paper.

Pencils come in either graphite, charcoal, or carbon. Each comes in a different consistency and darkness. Pens are available in a variety of tips and inks. Ball tip felt, and brush all create different effects some in which don’t even look like drawings.

The blurs between painting and drawing are even further diminished with alcohol ink and watercolor pens and pencils. You can’t even tell the difference between the two different mediums.

The basics of painting

Drawing is one of the basics of painting. The difference between drawing and painting is the difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Painting gives your piece a different feel. A more permanent state than drawings.

What before was flat, even with the hand of shading or color pencils, can be made precise and vivid with paints. Painting has many types the main being the following.


What you think of when you think of painting. Usually, pigment mixed with oil like linseed. A very slow drying paint that depending on the thickness of the paint used could take months to dry.

It takes years to master oils, but it is a relatively easy medium to work with. Just remember these two things:

  • Fat over lean
  • Think over thin

Fat over lean refers to the thickness of the oil paint. On its oil paint is pretty dense. Painters will use a paint thinner or oil to change the properties of the medium. Paint thinner dilutes both the color and the oil making it lean.

Also making the paint dry quicker. Since oil paintings take so long to dry the bottom layers need to dry out first. More oil will add a glossy finish to the painting, but it will take a long time to dry. Save it for when you are nearly done.

Thick over thin is all about the amount of paint that you have on the brush. Oil paint will dry in the exact manner it was placed on the canvas. It creates a beautiful effect, but it also takes a while to dry out.

The bottom layers where you are shaping the form need to be thin to dry properly.drawing vs painting


More traditional in eastern cultures. Watercolors are made of pigment and water-soluble solution with a complex carbohydrates binder. The surfaces watercolors will adhere to are limited.

Watercolors need something porous enough to absorb the paint, but substantial enough to not bleed. Mostly you will stick to the watercolor paper which has cotton in it.

Traditionally artists combined the paint with water, though watercolors in tubes can be used on its own.


A fairly common type of paint due to its versatility. Made from acrylic polymer emulsion, plastic resin suspended in water, and pigment. Out of the tube acrylic paint is fast drying.

If you have any blending be prepared and realistic with what you have to do. Acrylic paint can be diluted with water to give paintings a watercolor effect. Some artists also use gel to give their acrylic paintings a more textured effect.

Due to its fast-drying nature acrylic doesn’t make a great substance for a lot of alterations. Acrylic paint adheres to most surfaces, but if the material is porous put some sealant down first.

The paint will react differently to each surface so try some test areas to get the overall effect.


Drawing can stand on its own, but painting requires knowledge of drawing techniques to function. Not only to draw the subject, but shapes, forms, and lines come from drawing.

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