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Between Drawing and Painting – Part 1

between drawing and painting
Drawing / Inspiration / Painting / Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations

Between Drawing and Painting – Part 1

The definition of what constitute a drawing is not as simple as it looks. Sometimes a drawing is defined by the tools you use (pen, pencil, crayon versus paint), sometimes it is defined by the use of lines to depict something, sometimes the absence of color is also a factor.

The truth is that many artworks fall somewhere in between the definition of a drawing and a painting, like anything done with pastels, many Indian ink works or pencil works on canvas. To make things more confusing, you can apply a drawing medium like charcoal with a brush or make a drawing with a painting medium like when dry brushing with oil paint.

is pastel a drawing or a painting medium

Ezra– pastel on paper. Is pastel a drawing or a painting?

I like to explore that area between drawing and painting, or even just mix elements of drawing and elements of painting, line and wash. Here are a few ideas of techniques you can explore. They all are falling in somewhere between drawing and painting.

drawing on canvas with graphite and ink

This drawing (or painting?) is done on canvas with only lines of pencil and ink.

Add watercolor or ink to a drawing on paper

I like to rework some of my life drawings and add some watercolor or ink to them. There are many techniques you can use to paint over a drawing, even if that drawing was made on drawing paper.

painting with gel medium over paper to make it waterproof

Chieh -3. Watercolor on paper

The watercolor has been added after the drawing on paper had been covered with gel medium to make it water-resistant, and able to withstand being painted on. You can see how on this post: A yupo paper alternative for life drawings: Gel medium on regular paper.

India ink drawings over gel medium covered paper

India ink and watercolor crayons over a life drawing.

Here also, the paper has been covered in gel medium before being painted over as regular drawing paper might not be strong enough to be painted over directly. Read more about this technique here :Painting over life drawings with Indian ink

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.



Liquitex Acrylic Mediums

Gel mediums are ideal for extending a heavy body paint, to create impasto, relief, or sculptural effects. – Gel Medium, Gloss

Add patterns to your drawings

You can also have fun adding patterns on top or around your drawings. I sometimes do that on paper or yupo paper. Recently I also started experimenting with that technique on canvas:

life drawing and patterns on yupo paper

Life patterns #5, marker and Indian ink on yupo paper.

The drawing and the patterns have been drawn on yupo paper. Yupo paper is a very nice surface for drawing as it is very sleek and a marker or dipping pen slides very easily on the surface.

drawing with a dipping pen on translucent yupo paper

Yupo paper also comes in a translucent variety, that will allow you to trace your drawing directly from your newsprint paper onto the yupo surface.

drawing patterns with a dipping pen on yupo paper

A dipping pen and ink also works great on yupo paper. Go here for more tips about using a dipping pen on your drawings and paintings: Drawing patterns with a dipping pen and ink

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Yupo Watercolor Paper

Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It’s a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain resistant, and extremely strong and durable. PH neutral.

You can also add patterns to a drawing on a canvas surface:

life drawings and patterns

Social Fabric 1 was inspired by my life drawings. I added a lot of patterns but everything is done on canvas with fluid acrylic and a dipping pen.

drawing patterns with a dipping pen and ink on canvas

Drawing patterns with a dipping pen on canvas around life drawings.

Drawing only lines to make a picture on canvas

You can also make a picture using only lines on canvas, they could be only loops, straight lines, patterns or scribbles.

a tree cookie painting on canvas made only of ink loops

Apart from the background, this painting has entirely been done with a fountain pen and Indian ink, and lots and lots of loops!

drawing ink loops on canvas with a fountain pen

Drawing loops to make a tree cookie on canvas with a dipping pen

Here is another example of a painting made only with lines. In that case the lines represent the negative space of the image.

tree with negative space made of lines

Timelines 2- Fluid acrylic on canvas, all lines are straight and done with a dipping pen.

You can also use scribblings to make an image

trees drawn only with scribbles of white ink on canvas

Raveled: All the painting is done with white scribblings of fluid acrylic on canvas.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Speedball Sketching Project Set

This calligraphy pen and nib set gives you the tools needed to create beautiful works of art. Ideal for drawing, crosshatching, lithography, and fine details. Includes two plastic pen holders and six nibs.

white ink scribbles with a dipping pen on canvas

Scribbling with a dipping pen on canvas.

tree cookie made of patterns

This cookie tree painting is made on canvas and entirely done with patterns.

A painting made of words

For Culture Days 2015, Sophie Babeanu and I had visitors in my studio as well as internauts from all over the world share some words of wisdom on pre-drawn lines that were making the rings of a tree cookie.

tree cookie made of words of wisdom drawing the rings of a tree cookie with words

culture day activity- tree cookie with words

You can see more pictures of Time Lines here


In part 2 we will explore other techniques that are in between drawing and painting like line and wash and using drawing media on canvas.

Feel free to share your ideas and pictures of your paintings/drawings  in the comments.

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A Mixed Media Treasury of Techniques and Ideas

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