Painting vs Drawing

Painting vs. Drawing – Exploring the World of Paint vs. Draw

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The debate of whether pineapple belongs on pizza will never be resolved, just as the timeless question of which is better – painting vs. drawing? This answer is not a simple one and will take a lot of deliberation and arguing among the masters of their craft. We might never find out whether pineapple does fit perfectly on pizza, and we might never find out who will win the battle between the art of paint vs. draw, but what we do know is that as long as the debate continues, we will thrive in what we do to fulfill our emotional needs. Navigating through this article will surely entice you, the artist, to look at the difference between drawing and painting from your point of view and skill set.



Painting vs. Drawing

Just as you get different arts, so too are there other mediums that an artist can use to create masterpieces. The distinctions between the art of paint vs. draw will always be a contentious issue. It is widely believed that a drawing is the basis for a painting. It is also widely accepted that to be a good painter, you need to be good at drawing; however, this is not true. There are significant differences between painting vs. drawing, and we will outline each of them.

Paint vs Draw



When an artist decides to paint, they create something that usually carries colors and designs. Artists can paint on various surfaces, such as canvas, wood, glass, and plastic, using acrylic paint, oils, or watercolors. When working with oil paint, the paint is mixed with turpentine oil, and a paintbrush and palette are required. Oil paintings, in particular, need a long time to dry, and acrylic paints dry very quickly, and mistakes can easily be rectified when using paint as a medium to create.

Usually, when painting, paintbrushes are required to create the artwork.

A person who creates with paint is called a painter or artist. The market looks at both paintings and drawings as sound investments; however, painting is seen to have a better market value than drawing or sketching, and it is often thought that painting is an expensive hobby or vocation. If you compare painting vs. drawing equipment, the painting equipment will always be more costly because more things need to be considered to finish a painting, whereas a drawing will not require that many elements that need to be bought before the artwork can be realized. In most art museums or galleries, paintings and drawings will often be displayed together in an art show.



When an artist decides to draw, the drawing consists of lines and different shadings. There are many types of drawings, such as objects, lines, or shades. A person who chooses drawing as their profession will be called an artist. Oil paints require turpentine to be mixed into the paints, whereas drawings will not require any kind of added substance.

Difference Between Drawing and Painting

When creating a drawing, a palette and paintbrushes are not required. The artist will work either with chalk, charcoal, graphite, and paper or canvas to create their masterpiece. Unlike paint, drawing requires no downtime for drying, and if mistakes occur while drawing, these can easily be corrected using an eraser. When drawing, although paintbrushes are not needed, an artist will need to consider measuring implements and scales to get the proportions of the drawing exact.



The Differences Between Drawing and Painting

The difference between drawing and painting is easily defined. A drawing is when an artist creates a picture by drawing lines on paper or canvas using either pen, charcoal, or pencil. A painting is where the liquid is put on paper or canvas using a brush. If a drawing artist draws a picture of nature, the entire painting will be characterized by the lines that the artist uses, or the shading used to create depth. When a painter paints a picture of nature, the entire picture can be characterized by the colors that the artist uses, as well as the designs and textures, which will create depth.

Creating texture with paint is easy as the consistency of the paint needs to be changed to suit the picture; however, with pencil, textures cannot be changed, and therefore, careful shading would need to be applied.

When drawing a picture, the artist requires an appropriate surface, such as paper or canvas and a pencil, but an artist who paints has several art mediums to work with, such as oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolors, and fabric paint. If oil paints are used, then turpentine will also need to be needed. Palettes are only quired by painting artists and will not be required by artists who prefer to draw. Drawing is done by using colored pencils, graphite chalk, and charcoal, and paintings can be done using all kinds of paint that are available in the market to create the desired picture. When mistakes are made with drawing, these can be erased very quickly. When mistakes are made in painting, the process of correcting errors is sometimes much more difficult, as painting cannot be erased as quickly as graphite, and usually, the paint will have to dry completely before an artist can fix up mistakes.


Painting Styles

Several painting styles can be used by artists. We have named a few of the different painting styles dating back to the 19th century to the more popular styles that are being adapted today.

Types of Paint vs Draw


Photorealism Paintings

These are paintings that depict real people or natural objects. Photorealism paintings carry highly visual aspects to the creation, and there is a marked clarity in the picture. Photorealism paintings are also referred to as Super-realist or Hyperrealism paintings, and this is where the artist will rely on a photograph set up in front of them to create the same artwork on canvas. These pictures are painted with high accuracy.

The difference between Hyperrealism and Photorealism is that in Photorealism, the artist will not paint with emotion but will use a photo to create, whereas Hyperrealism is where an artist will use their emotions or feelings in a painting.


Expressionism Paintings

This is the artistic style that an artist uses to express things that are not objective reality, instead portraying emotion and eliciting a response when looking at a painting. The artist will try to convey the emotion they are feeling in a piece that is removed from reality. Expressionist paintings are usually quite distorted and exaggerated. The scenes in Expressionist paintings are traditionally very eerie, and the shapes in the image will lack fine detail.

Famed Painting vs DrawingThe Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch; Edvard Munch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Realism Paintings

This is where the artists will depict fine and accurate detail in the final masterpiece. Realism paintings are more popular with artists from different cultures. This is the mid-19th-century movement where subjects were painted onto canvas depicting everyday life, such as dinner around the table, and can sometimes be confused with either realistic or photographic paintings. The detail in realistic images is usually very painstaking to add to the reality of the painting. Artists paint Realism paintings to depict the realness of life, and you will often find paintings of the working class portrayed in these paintings, which usually give truth to certain realities in our society.

It is a reflection of what the real world looks like.


Impressionism Paintings

This is an art movement that was made extremely popular in the 19th century. The brush strokes used in Impressionism paintings can appear as if they are out of focus, and the paintings do not carry harsh lines. The artist uses techniques to convey a place at a specific time or an object in a particular area. In the movement of modern painting, Impressionism painting is one of the more critical movements, as an artist simply painted an impression of what they saw. They were not looking at painting historical pieces or great men. Instead, Impressionism painting is where a landscape or portrait is painted and how it looked to the artist.

Examples of Paint vs DrawStudy of Olive Trees in Bordighera (1884) by Claude Monet; Claude Monet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Abstract Paintings

This is probably the most contentious of all paintings in that the person is often left thinking, well, what is the point, or we don’t get it? Abstract art is a visual language portrayed by an artist using lines, shapes, and different forms, as well as color, to give different and independent visual ideas to the world. With Abstract paintings, you usually love them or hate them. There is no in-between.

The full definition of Abstract painting is that it is visual art that moves away from reality and art that distances itself from objects.


Surrealism Paintings

Surrealist paintings are used to show human experiences. It balances life with the unconscious. The artist will try to portray unexpected detail in a Surrealist painting which is often unconventional. Surrealist paintings often confuse, and the person looking at the painting is left wondering about what the painter is trying to convey. Surrealism is not connected to any logical sequence and can be very confusing. The painter is trying to tell a story from their imagination, and the confusion which may rest in the artist’s imagination. A typical and more popular piece of Surrealist painting can be seen by the artist Salvador Dalí, who painted a much-recognized piece of Surrealism art in 1931 called The Persistence of Memory. It is believed that the meaning behind this painting is the dreamlike state that exists in the universe where hard meets soft.


Pop Art

This type of painting emerged in America and the UK in the late 1950s, and it was a movement used to challenge traditional art which appeals to the masses, such as comic books and advertising. Creating Pop art is inexpensive and mass-produced. The artwork is usually gimmicky. Bright colors and detail are used in this type of art. Pop art follows trends in the marketplace, and because it is inexpensive to produce, it can be mass-produced on large scales.

Trends in Pop art do not stay for long and are often replaced with new pieces very quickly.


Oil Paintings

Pigments with different mediums are used as a binder to bind oil and paint together. It is a common medium for an artist to use when painting on canvas or wood. Oils have been used for many centuries, and it does remain popular among artists from all walks of life, but with modern technology, oil paintings are becoming more of a specialized art when compared to Pop art, for example.

Different Painting vs Drawing Styles


The Hardest Painting Style

By far, the Hyperrealism painting style would be considered to be the most complex painting style, as great attention to detail is required when painting. The artists who use Hyperrealism and Photorealism styles often need to find a wow factor to grab the person’s attention. Realism or Photorealism paintings put artists under pressure to create a replica of the image being looked at.

Many artists will shy away from this style at the beginning of their careers.


Drawing Styles

Just as a painting has different styles, so too do drawings have different styles. We will outline some of the different styles of drawing. There are a multitude of different drawing styles to choose from, and at the end of the day, what makes the artist most comfortable, will ultimately be the style that they will continue to create masterpieces with.

Painting vs Drawing Styles


Line Drawing

Distinct lines and curves are placed on a surface with purpose. There are no shades in line drawings. Arts can use colors to complete line drawings; however, the art form is usually brought to life using only monochromatic, which means only using one color. In line drawing to create depth, the thickness of lines is changed.



This is a drawing technique that has small and very distinct dots which have been applied to the paper in various patterns to create a bigger image. Pointillism can be completed with colored pencils, and this technique was first discovered in the late 1800s when Impressionist artworks were created using Pointillism techniques.

Pointillism was first known as Divisionism, and the word “Pointillism” was adapted as the drawing style known today.


Caricature Drawing

This drawing style depicts real characters but in numerous ways where a facial feature is enhanced or exaggerated, and a drawing is normally of humans or animals. This type of drawing has become very popular as it is an art piece that invokes discussion and lighthearted feelings.


Figure Drawing

Figure drawing is when an artist sketches a human figure or a model, either sitting or standing, in a position that will emphasize a different part of the body to portray the figure. The artist needs to capture muscle, texture, and different postures correctly. Figure drawing cannot be rushed and is painted over a few days or even weeks.

Figure Paint vs Draw


Cartoon Drawing

Just as in the caricature drawings, cartoon drawings convey lightheartedness and laughter. Cartoon drawings can be made into life-size sketches and can be worked on fabric or even tapestry. From the early 1800s, this type of drawing depicted satire and humorous situations.

Cartoon drawings are completed in an animated style and bright colors to grab attention.


Gesture Drawing

A gesture drawing is where an object has been laid down in a position for the artist to replicate. These gesture drawings are usually done in seconds but should not take longer than 5 minutes to complete. If a model is posing for the artists, several poses will be drawn quickly to show off different poses in a short space of time. The purpose of gesture drawings is to show the flow of movement, which will result in a drawing or sketch with very few defined lines and shapes.

Artists will use the human form as a subject because movement by the model is required when attempting this kind of drawing.


The Hardest Drawing Technique

It is widely thought amongst artists that the hands are the most difficult thing to draw, mainly due to the many possible positions that hands can be placed in, and the details of the hands are also complicated to draw. Drawing hands is especially challenging for an artist who is just starting, and mistakes often occur.



Famous Drawings vs. Famous Paintings

Throughout history, artists have used various mediums to capture their subjects. Some artists both drew and painted – Leonardo da Vinci had many works created with ink on paper, but he also used oil paint for other works. Some artists preferred to use only one medium throughout their lives, be it oil, acrylic, or pencil, to name a few popular choices.

Styles of Paint vs Draw


The Vitruvian Man (1485) by Leonardo da Vinci

ArtistLeonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
Date Completed1485
MediumPen and ink on paper
LocationAccademia, Venice, Italy

One of his most famous drawings, called The Vitruvian Man (1485), was also drawn by Leonardo da Vinci and done with pen ink on paper. It shows a male with his arms and legs outstretched. This drawing can be seen in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Italy.

Famed Paint vs DrawVitruvian Man (1485) by Leonardo da Vinci; Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Mona Lisa (1503) by Leonardo da Vinci

ArtistLeonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
Date Completed1503
MediumOil on wood panel
LocationMusée du Louvre, Paris

The Mona Lisa (1503) is probably the most famous portrait of a woman. This beautiful masterpiece was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. This portrait is currently on display at the Louvre Museum. The Mona Lisa portrait is often mistaken to be a life-size portrait. However, the opposite is true.

The Mona Lisa is a small painting, but because bigger crowds are drawn to the painting, it has to be hung in the biggest room of the Louvre.

Famous Painting vs DrawingMona Lisa (1503) by Leonardo da Vinci; Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Head of a Girl (1618) by Diego Velázquez

ArtistDiego Velázquez (1599 – 1660)
Date Completed1618
MediumChalk, paper
LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Another drawing called Head of a Girl by Diego Velázquez was done in black chalk, and the simple lines used to construct this beautiful woman were captured masterfully. The drawing of The Head of a Girl (1618) can be seen at the National Library in Spain.

As many artists will attest, the drawing depicts the full skill of a master artist.

Famous Paint vs DrawHead of a Girl (1618) by Diego Velázquez; Diego Velázquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Head of a Young Woman (1906) by Pablo Picasso

ArtistPablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
Date Completed1906
MediumOil on canvas
LocationMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

Picasso painted a portrait of a young woman with long dark hair. The portrait is titled Head of a Young Woman and was painted in 1906 using oil paints. This portrait can be seen in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte. Picasso also created a plaster Head of a Woman sculpture.


And there you have it, painting vs. drawing in a nutshell. Still can’t make up your mind? Nothing to worry about on that score because clearly, this article has highlighted to you that even though there is no clear winner in paint vs. draw, as long as there is talent and willingness, there is always a win. With talent comes wisdom, and with wisdom, as a budding artist, the path you choose to walk will be the path meant for you. Whether you enjoy pineapple on pizza and whether you enjoy both painting vs. drawing, as long as you enjoy it, that should be all that matters.



Frequently Asked Questions


Paint vs. Draw: Which One Is the Best?

There is no clear cut answer to this question. If you have decided to further your skill at painting, you are going to be able to create texture in your masterpieces without too much skill, and if you prefer to go down the drawing route to achieve the same textures as in painting, the drawing techniques are going to take a lot more practice to hone your skills. Drawing sometimes entails long hours of concentration, whereas painting allows for the faster production of your art.


What Is the Difference Between Drawing and Painting?

Depending on the medium and the surface that an artist chooses to work with is the one thing that sets out the difference between painting and drawing. When an artist chooses to draw, it is done with a pencil, watercolor pencils, or charcoal onto a paper or canvas surface. When the artist chooses to paint, it is usually done with a paintbrush and a variety of paints such as oil, watercolor, and acrylic onto a canvas surface, although many paints can also be used on wood, glass, or even plastic.

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