top of page

Painting Vs Drawing

What's the difference between painting and drawing?

It's a good question you ask. Painting Vs Drawing - what is better for a beginner artist? A lot of people use blanket terms for both like, 'Oh I'm off to a painting class this weekend', when in reality they will only use pencil. Or they might say, 'Wow look at that drawing' and in fact, it's made using watercolours.

Painting Vs Drawing For Beginners
Painting Vs Drawing

In some ways, the two are the same but for me, it's all about the difference in the tools you hold and the level of difficulty from black and white, to colour. Let's break this down and understand some obvious differences that might make you think, 'oooohhhh!'

Team Pencil

Drawing For Beginners
Team Pencil

In the Dry Corner: Drawing - The OG of Mark-Making

Imagine Leonardo da Vinci's detailed sketches or the expressive lines of a manga panel. That's the magic of drawing, where simple tools like pencils, charcoal, and pens dance across paper, leaving behind captivating lines and forms. There are no colours to worry about, the way you hold the pencil i much more relaxed and familiar and often you get to leave the background!

Pros for Beginners:

  • Affordable: Basic tools are easy on the wallet, perfect for experimenting.

  • Portable: Sketch anywhere, anytime - Be creativite on the go!

  • Mistake-friendly: Erase and rework with ease, fostering a fearless learning environment.

  • Familiar: We learn to hold these from 3 years old, feels a bit more natural!

  • Colour-Free: You can still get amazing depth and don't need to worry about colour mixing

Cons For Beginners:

  • Monochrome: You won't learn about colour theory (unless of course, you use crayons)

  • Limited Expression: If you're looking to release some creative tension, you lack the colour to play with.

  • Rigid: It's a very controlled substance which limits expression and playfulness.

Team Paint

Painting For beginners
Team Paint

On the Wet Side: Painting - Let's gesso-up and dive in

Think vibrant Van Gogh sunflowers or the ethereal glow of a Monet water lily. Painting brings pigments to life, using wet media like acrylics, watercolours, or oils to weave colours and textures onto canvas or other surfaces. Great for abstract work and relseaing tension and also a huge level up from drawing.

Pros for Beginners:

  • Expressive Freedom: Play with colour washes, bold strokes, and layering techniques to express yourself fully.

  • Variety of Styles: From abstract to realistic, find a style that resonates with your soul.

  • Visually Stunning Results: Witness the transformative power of color, creating pieces that pop!

  • Options: So many mediums to play with! Oil, paint, acrylic, watercolour etc... Exploration is endless.

Cons For Beginners:

  • Frustration: If you don't know how to use the medium, then can be difficult to control

  • Colour Blind: You may struggle with getting nice colours without theory lessons

  • Messy: Learning anything artsy, you might be surprised be surprised at how much mess there is!

The Plot Twist: The Blurred Lines

Here's the beauty: the art world doesn't have strict boundaries. You can combine drawing and painting in endless ways! Use pencils for detailed sketches, then add washes of watercolour for a dreamy effect. Or, create bold outlines with a paintbrush and fill them in with coloured pencils.

So what's better for a beginner? Painting Vs Drawing?

Pastel For Beginners
Team Pastel

I always think it's better to learn how to draw before you paint. Rather than having 3 or 4 frustrations such as drawing, colour matching and understanding the medium - you can actually learn a lot from drawing first.

You get used to proportions, measuring, and most importantly - tonal value. One of the best lessons I ever learnt was understanding value (black and white) in order to make my paintings look dynamic and interesting. Without understanding this, paintings can look flat and boring to the eye.

That is of course, if you are mostly heading down the realistic route! You may want to just ignore me and go ahead to create some expressive outlet using paint and you don't care about the stages in between. Brilliant! Who am I to tell you what to do?

However, as a biased artist leaning towards realism, I think it's important to learn to walk before you can run and in this case, learn to draw before you can paint. it doesnt have to be a perfect drawing, just a little bit of understanding to help you get through.

If you're wondering how to learn to draw with me and you don't want to join a class yet, check out my '52 week drawing challenge!'.

Remember: The most important tool is your own creativity. Experiment, explore, and don't be afraid to break the "rules."

Ready to Master Both Arts?

Head over to to discover a wonderland of drawing and painting classes and workshops in person and online, designed to guide you on your artistic journey, from beginner basics to advanced techniques. Unleash your inner artist and let the colors and lines flow!

Remember, there's no "better" choice, only the path that sparks your artistic fire. So, grab your tools, embrace the learning process, and have fun creating!

20 views0 comments


bottom of page