Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Drawing or Painting?

I came across someone's blog/journal entry the other day posing the question that if one colors with markers, like the Copic brand stuff, is it painting or drawing? I found it complex to give an answer. How is one to know if a piece is drawing or painting when the medium is in question?
I first considered using markers as drawing for the fact that it is very similar to ink and brush artwork. After saying that, I decided it also depends upon the level of usage. Example, if I draw something and put a touch of color on it with say... watercolor, it is considered a drawing. If I draw and then apply watercolor to the point it obscures the drawn line then it is most likely considered a painting.
The dictionary says:
"Draw- to produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks, especially with a pen or pencil on paper.
Paint- to produce (a picture) by means of using paint."

Simple, no? NO!
Now this brings up the pastel issue. Pastels come in various forms from crayon to pencil. How does one discern between the two? I have seen pastel work to be considered both painting and drawing (look at Degas' work). What makes a painting a "painting"? I think it depends (ha ha! It always depends!) upon how the medium is used. One thing I have figured out is if there is layering and a building of textures then most of the time it would be considered painting. AAAAH! But then again I have seen fantastic drawings with layering and layering of line work. Oh woe! There always seems to be exceptions to the rules. Share your thoughts with me on this.


  1. It depends... if you draw with them, or paint with them XD

    I think you have to think of it more in terms ot "to draw" and "to paint" as opposed to "a drawing" or "a painting"

    I consider pretty much everything I do drawing, even when I use paint as a media to express this... XD so I guess it's all a bit personal lol.

  2. Well, you can draw with paint, and create a pencil/pastel work that looks like it could have been painted. It's an interesting thing to try and figure out, but ultimately everyone will have a different definition. Like Fiona said, it's a personal thing. There are broad difinitions, some maybe too vague or narrow, and if there is a question, it should be up the the connotaion percieved be the artist.

  3. Thanks!
    After I posted this I remembered one of my professors said that drawing vs. painting depends upon how much of the substrate is incorporated in the piece (well something close to that!). In other words, I think she meant depending on how much of the paper is exposed (unpainted, un-inked, left bare) can make an art piece a drawing.

  4. I've been thinking about this myself lately. Although I've used oils almost exclusively for the past 15 years most of my work for those first five were really just drawings. I think they're still drawings primarily, because I build up my brush strokes as if they were big fat colored pen marks. I get insanely jealous when I look at paintings that use paint for it's own unique qualities.