What are the differences between 'to paint' and 'to draw' when we are talking about arts? As I guess draw refers to pictures in pencil or pen and paint to watercolor pictures or something. I need to clarify these things. :)

5 Answers 5


You're right: drawing is dry (e.g. using a pencil or pen), painting needs paint and a brush.

From here, compare a drawing:
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with a painting:

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I am a student at the Academy of Fine Art, in the final year, and this is what we are taught: Drawings are made by using LINES, and paintings are done by using SMUDGES or STAINS. You can use a paint brush dipped in oil color on canvas, but if you use only lines as a main form it will still be considered a drawing. Likewise, you can use pastels and crayons, but if you smudge them so the boundaries are not easily discerned, it would be considered as a painting. For example, we consider Egon Schileler as a drawing master, and Marc Chagal as a painter. When on the academy you can easily discern a graphic artist from a painter to a sculptor by basically looking at their nude study drawings, with the same method, charcoal on paper. The painter will smudge the charcoal and make big surfaces with barely any lines (or no lines), a sculptor will make hard, sharp strokes like cutting with a knife (or a chisel), and a graphic artist will do thin, controled lines. Like the previous comment said, the layers are also an important factor: drawings tend to have lesser layers, paintings more overlapping colors and layers.


Before a complete drawing we draw the sketch of the drawing, and we work freehand, meaning that we draw the multiple-cross lines and it lacks the details that a complete drawing may have. Pencils, ink, and charcoal can be the medium through which sketching is done. Sketching is done on low quality papers like newsprint, etc.

Drawing means full art drawn using colored pencils, markers, graphite pencils, or pens to create a full picture by drawing single-pass lines that looks more neat and clean than free hand sketching. Drawing is done on high quality papers like drawing paper, Bristol paper, etc.

In painting, multiple layers of colors are placed on each other (first background, then first layer of paint, then second, and so on) by use of brush and water- or oil-based paint. A painting may look complete after finishing it but some paintings don’t seem too complete until the end of the process.


This is just my own definition differentiating a "painting" and a "drawing" so I could be wrong.

First, no matter the medium, drawings are primarily concerned with the outline and form of an object or subject while on the other hand, paintings additionally focuses on colors and texture. Although there are instances where these overlap.

Second, lets look into the process of creating a painting and a drawing. Drawings are done on one layer and usually start with the foreground first. While on paintings, multiple layers of colors are placed on top of each other gradually and usually the artist starts with the background first. Most people wont see the finished painting until the very end of the process, which is unlike drawing where the shape or form of the subject is seen almost immediately.


To me, painting like expressing one's idea by use of paints (or generally coloured pigments) that stain on the painting surface and are usually applied the brushes, whereas drawing is expressing oneself by use of lines that create form.

Drawing can include any medium can make a line on the surface, for example: pen, pencil, charcoal sticks, chalk, etc.

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