What are the Disadvantages of Drawing?

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing?

I don’t spend a lot of time checking blog statistics. Those kinds of numbers can be an addictive habit for me, and not a very productive one.

But I do track things like search engine terms (the words and phrases people use that lead them to the blog), and the places they come from. That information is helpful in developing new content and updating old.

I mention those things only because of the topic for today’s post and this week’s article on EmptyEasel. Namely, repeated inquiries asking the same essential question: what are the disadvantages of drawing.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing?

Some version of that search term appears regularly on the list of most used search terms. Today (Tuesday, April 11), seventeen of the most frequently used search terms over the last 30 days use the words “advantages” or “disadvantages.” One form of the question is the second most frequently used search term.

Some of the searches are specific. Disadvantages of drawing lines, sketches, or still life drawings, for example.

Others are much more general. It all leads to the same conclusion: A lot of readers wanting to know why they should draw.

So lets take a look at some of the questions being asked.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing? The Questions

Please keep in mind that the answers I’m about to share are my personal opinion. You may very well see other disadvantages to drawing. Indeed, you may think my answers are pretty flimsy! So be it! Drawing—and all art—is very subjective and personal.

Having said that, let me jump into the fray.

1: Disadvantages of the Drawing Process

This question appeared a couple of times in different forms. The phrase used here was the second-most often used key word phrase over the last few weeks.

I find no easy answer to this question beyond the matter of time. It quite simply takes a long time to do a complex and detailed drawing, even if you use modern shortcuts. Some of the line drawings for my large works have taken a couple of weeks to work out. Do enough revisions of the same subject and it can get tiring.

And frustrating.

Then there’s the shading, usually with further fine tuning.

If your end goal is the drawing itself, that’s one thing. But if the drawing is only the first step in the process, it’s quite another matter.

2: Disadvantages of Line Drawing

There is something almost magical about setting up an easel, putting a canvas or paper on it, and just producing a finished piece without going through all the preliminaries.

What are the Disadvantages of Drawing Line Drawings

For this type of artist, taking time to do a line drawing not only takes valuable time away from painting, but it may even quench the creative fires. By the time they’ve worked through a line drawing—even a simple one—there’s no longer a desire do the “real piece of art.”

I can understand that, though my empathy comes by way of writing. My second love is writing stories, but I’ve discovered that my brain thinks the story has been written when the story summary is finished. I can’t tell you how many fully developed summaries have gone no further.

If you’re that type of artist, then line drawing may indeed be a disadvantage.

3: Disadvantages to Sketching

To my way of thinking, the primary disadvantages to sketching are all personal—the excuses I give myself for not sketching. In my case, they are:

  • I don’t want to take the time
  • There are too many paid and therefore “more important” pieces to work on
  • I don’t know what to draw or don’t want to draw whatever happens to be nearby
  • It doesn’t contribute directly to my current project (whatever that project may be)

I still struggle with those “disadvantages”, but I also try to sketch frequently (I can’t yet say “regularly”.)

4. Advantages and Disadvantages of Drawing

I wrote specifically on this subject for EmptyEasel this week.

You see, once I got started, my thoughts on the subject went in several different directions. For a few more of those ideas, read What are the Advantages (or Disadvantages) of Drawing?

Whether or not I’ve answered the questions posed above I cannot at present say. Since some variation of the term appears regularly on the list of most popular search terms, it’s entirely likely that some of you also have thoughts on the subject. If so, I invite you to share them below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

So, what are the disadvantages of drawing for you?


    1. Sally,

      I know what you mean. Sometimes I spend so much time fine-tuning a drawing that I’ve spent hours on it before I ever get to the color! There is a balance between doing enough drawing to get things right and spending too much work on a line drawing after it’s ready for color.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.


  1. Richard Steffens

    My biggest problems with drawing are not having much formal art education. 45 years ago we finally got an art class started at the high school I attended and it was already my senior year. I had some buddies that took the course because they thought it would be an easy way to get a passing grade [in anything] but they were disruptive to the rest of us who were genuinely interested in learning art techniques. And they took advantage of our teacher who I thought was a pretty nice lady. Then the next fall I was off to a local junior college where I attempted to take Art & Art History. My instructor & I didn’t exactly hit it off because he claimed to not believe in cartooning as a legitimate art form. And he also cut me down some because he believed one should be able to draw something without looking back & forth between the subject and what you were drawing. I guess I had a tendency of doing that too much for his liking. We just didn’t get along well but yet I heard from others that if I had gotten his wife to be my teacher/instructor, I would have gotten along much better with her than what I did with him. He really kind of killed my attitude & desire of becoming a commercial artist back then. So I kind of drifted away from doing much more with it for years. Not sure if I answered this correctly or not but now that I’m older, disabled & on too darn much medicine, I try to learn to better my art skills but I have a tough time retaining what you & others offer to teach us. But I thank you & other artists for sharing your knowledge & skills.

    1. Richard,

      Your formal art education experiences is why I caution people thinking about art school to approach it with caution. If you get a great instructor, wonderful! If not, you may be better off learning on your own.

      I took two years of high school art. One year was with a lady teacher who was good at what she did, but who moved from one topic to another in such a fashion that there was very little fine art involved. The only projects I remember were making kites, building cardboard models of our houses, and drawing with pen-and-ink. The other teacher was a man whose specialty was creating ceramic caricatures. The only thing I remember from that class is throwing a pot on a potting wheel that was so flimsy it didn’t survive firing.

      I didn’t take the last two years of art classes because it would have been more of the same only more so.

      I already knew what I wanted to do (paint horses) and how I wanted to do (realistically and in oils), and I got none of that in high school. The one oil painting course I took at a local community college was more focused, but didn’t provide as much instruction as I’d hoped for.

      Those classes and one semester in the Fine Arts Department in college a few years later are the sum total of my formal art education.

      Instead, I focused on doing as many drawings of horses as I could, for myself and for others. I read books and made paintings one after another. I tried new things and used those that worked for my technique and discarded those that didn’t.

      I’m still learning and hope I never reach the point of thinking I’ve learned everything there is to know about painting or drawing.

      I say all of that to encourage you to keep trying. You don’t need a formal art education in order to be a good artist. What you do need is the desire to learn and improve and the discipline to keep after it no matter what. You appear to have both. Just keep drawing and the lessons will stick to some degree. That’s always been my experience (I need to see and hear some things several times before they click).

      Thank you for your comments, Richard.


      1. Richard Steffens

        Thanks Carrie! And I agree with both you & sally. I tend to draw way too much before getting around to coloring. I think my drawings would be good if I did one of two things; first, if I’m going to be really detailing a lot, skip the coloring & just make it a black & white drawing. But if I really plan on coloring, skip some of the detail because you’re not going to see a lot of it after I color it. Much of that over-detailed stuff isn’t going to show up that well anyway. Hope you all had a very nice Easter. I sure did! All my kids & grandchildren were here today and that makes Grandpa a happy man. ;-)

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