Drawing vs. Painting: What is the Difference Between Drawing and Painting?
Drawing and painting are the two most well-known and recognized methods of art creation.
These two art creation methods allow an artist to express themselves and share that expression with the rest of the world.
When an artist draws or paints something, they can choose to recreate what they see or create something that has never been seen before.
This article will look at the definition of drawing and painting and understand the methods that fall into these types of visual art.
What’s the difference between drawing and painting?
Drawing is the act of using lines to create a design. It is often representative and conveys an imitation of a place or thing. Drawing can be done with so-called dry media, such as a pen, chalk, charcoal, pencil, ink, or markers, and is usually done on paper or canvas.
When drawing, an artist focuses primarily on lines and shading, and while you can draw with colored markers, color is often absent in drawings. An artist who draws is known as a draftsman, although other types of artists, such as comic book artists, also focus on drawing.
The use of paint defines painting, or a similar wet medium such as ink, to produce artwork using various colors. A painting can be representative, abstract or non-objective. Regardless of the subject, a painting always focuses on forms, color, and texture.
An artist who uses paint is known as a painter. Painters like Yoel Benharrouche, are some of the most famous household names in art.
You can paint with a paintbrush or dab, sponge, drizzle, drip, smear, or splash paint on a canvas and still be a painter.
These definitions are far from an exact science because a painting can use lines and be monochromatic, while a drawing can use color. There is a substantial overlap between these two methods, and many paintings may start with a drawing as an outline on canvas before adding paint. Both ways have the same intended result to create art.
Is drawing better than painting, or is painting better than drawing?
There’s no right or wrong answer to which art creation method is better – drawing or painting. Throughout history, painters have become the better-known and more famous artists, leading people to believe that painting is better or more elite.
Drawing can be a prerequisite to painting or a finished product by itself. When a drawing is a finished product, it is often more associated with the commercial arts.
Commercial arts that utilize drawing include architecture, graphic design, anime and animation, graphic art and comics, and fashion illustration. However, many drawings are also considered fine or “high” art, including the drawings by the old masters such as Leonardo da Vinci.
Why draw before you begin to paint?
As children, we are often taught to draw before we can paint, just as we are taught to crawl before we can walk. That doesn’t mean that some children won’t just start walking and skip crawling all together.
Drawing is often considered an artistic fundamental, something artists across mediums should master during their creative education. Many educators will often emphasize a solid foundation in drawing before a student starts trying to paint. One practical reason children are taught to draw before they paint is that drawing requires fewer materials, and when drawing with a pencil, it is easier to erase mistakes as you learn.
This learning process implies that drawing is the easier medium that you learn before progressing to painting. However, not all accomplished painters will be experts at drawing, and not all artists who draw go on to paint.
For example, abstract artists like Angelo Accardi do not need to master drawing to be able to paint an abstract picture successfully. A lack of drawing ability does not make the quality or skill required to create abstract art any less. Likewise, post-modern artists who use paint as a part of multimedia artwork do not necessarily need to be masters of drawing.
What are the different types of drawing and painting?
Types of drawing
Drawing types are usually defined by style and subject matter. Types of drawing include:
- Illustration Drawing
- Life drawing
- Emotive drawing
- Analytic drawing
- Architectural drawing
- Perspective drawing
- Diagrammatic drawing
- Geometric drawing
- Digital drawing
Illustration drawing is imaginative; it does not need to adhere to the constraints of reality. You can see illustrative drawing styles in picture books, advertising, or fashion illustrations.
Life drawing focuses on realistic drawings that derive from direct or real observations. Life drawings featuring the human figure are the most common subjects in this type of drawing.
Emotive drawing styles emphasize the exploration of self-expression and different emotions.
Analytic drawings aim to convey an accurate depiction and precise observation. Anatomical drawings are an example of this style.
Architectural drawings are those used in the designs of buildings and structures. These go on to be the basis of architectural works.
Perspective drawing aims to create three-dimensional images on a two-dimensional picture plane. These drawings focus on scale and perspective.
When ideas and concepts are explored and investigated through drawings and documented on paper, they are known as diagrammatic drawing. These are common in the science world and product design.
Geometric drawing is commonly used in the construction sector. This style of drawing focuses on specific dimensions and measured scales.
Which is the hardest drawing style?
There is no hard and fast answer for which drawing style is the hardest or most difficult.
Hyper-realism, a type of life drawing, also known as photorealism, is a drawing that closely resembles reality. It is considered by many people to be one of the most challenging drawing styles to master technically because the picture should look so close to real you may not even realize it is art.
Technical and highly detailed drawings that feature inorganic, mechanical shapes like a building are also complicated because you have to draw precisely.
Types of painting:
Painting types are defined by the material an artist uses as well as the technique. Applying different paints and pigments requires different skills and produces very different results, even if two artists are painting the same scene. Painting styles by medium include:
- Oil painting
- Acrylic painting
- Watercolor painting
- Matte painting
- Texture painting
- Ink painting
- Enamel painting
- Gouache painting
- Sand painting
- Digital painting
Art movements often define styles of painting arts; for example, an expressionist style of painting will be very different from an impressionist style of painting.
There are seven major painting styles in art, sometimes called ‘schools’ or ‘movements.’
- Expressionism and Fauvism
- Photorealisim or Hyperrealism
Realism aims for the painting’s subject to look much like the real thing; Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ is a classic example of the realism style that was popular through the Renaissance period.
The painterly style rose to popularity during the modern art movement in the first half of the 19th century. The painterly style focuses less on realism and more on the strokes and textures of the paint itself. The emphasis in painterly techniques is on the act of painting and the brushwork and pigments themselves. The paintings of Matisse are excellent examples of this style.
Impressionism followed from the painterly style in showing brushwork, but with an increasing focus on capturing light with gesture and illusion. Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ are an example of the impressionist style.
Expressionism and Fauvism are similar styles characterized by bold, unrealistic paint colors that do not depict the colors of real life. Instead of focusing on reality, the artist uses the paint to describe an object as it feels or appears to them personally. Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is a crucial example of this style.
Abstraction is a painting style that takes the essence of a subject and depicts it as the artist interprets it, rather than through accurate and visible details. The subject matter keeps a basis in reality, but the artist may reduce it to strokes, colors, shapes, or patterns. Much of Pablo Picasso’s work is an example of abstraction.
Purely abstract work goes a step further and shuns realism altogether. The entire point of the painting an abstract work is the colors, textures, and materials used. Mark Rothko’s ‘Orange, Red, and Yellow’ is an example of the abstract painting style.
Photorealism or hyperrealism is designed to be more accurate than reality. It is an intensified version of Renaissance realism, where every minute detail is included, and no flaw is insignificant. The portraits of Chuck Close are critical examples of the photorealism style at their best.
Which is the hardest painting style?
The hardest painting style is a subjective topic, and there is no right or wrong answer to the question of which painting style is most difficult. Many modern artists were revolutionary and created new painting styles that no one had attempted before them, which many consider difficult.
As with drawing, from a purely technical standpoint, many consider hyper-realism to be the most technically difficult painting style to master.
Is drawing harder than painting?
Hopefully, this article has explained to you that these two types of art are different. Neither type of art is more challenging or better than the other; each artistic style and medium will require different skills.