The Difference Between
"Drawing" & "Painting" Programs
When I recently mentioned using programs with "drawing" capabilities, Bob Sheaf wrote to ask which programs I use. Well, first a definition of "drawing" and "painting" programs is in order.
The word "painting" normally refers to a "bitmap" image. This is a graphic made up of many tiny colored squares called "bits" which are "mapped" on a background to give the illusion of "continuous tone" shadings, such as those seen in a photograph. These images are also often referred to as "raster" graphics.
With a "drawing" program, on the other hand, one normally creates images by establishing points that are connected by straight or curved lines, resulting in shapes such as a rectangle or an oval. The shapes can then be filled with colors resulting in, say, a red heart or a green shamrock. Many of the cartoon-style "clipart" drawings found on the Web are considered drawings rather than paintings. These drawings are also often referred to as "vector" graphics.
Nonetheless, "painting" and "drawing" elements are often used together to create a finished graphic. For instance, all versions of Windows come with a program called PaintBrush (a.k.a. Paint or PBrush) which can be accessed by going to
After launching PaintBrush a white "canvas" will appear, along with a variety of drawing tools and a color palette. The lower right corner of the canvas can be mouse-maneuvered to adjust its shape, while the "paint bucket" tool can be used to fill it with a different background color.
The "oval" and "rectangle" tools can be used to create simple shapes that can likewise be filled with a color of your choosing. By first clicking the "line" tool, a different thickness for an object's outline can be selected. The "S-shaped" symbol will let you draw a straight line which can then be curved by mouse-grabbing it and reshaping it.
Two dashed-line "selection" tools can be used cut (Ctrl+X), copy (Ctrl+C), and/or paste (Ctrl+V) selected areas on the canvas. Use the "star-shaped" tool for free-hand selections.
A finished graphic can be saved by going to File>Save As, where picture formats such as BMP, GIF or JPG, are available. I normally choose GIF for simple drawings, which is the format used for much of the clipart seen on Web pages and in email. (GIFs are limited to 256 colors.)
When you use PaintBrush to open and edit photos, however, JPG is the format used most often. (JPGs can be made up of millions of colors.)
PaintBrush, therefore, can be used as both a "drawing" and a "painting" program for simple projects. Professional graphic artists generally use heavy-duty programs such as Adobe Illustrator for "drawing" and Adobe PhotoShop for "painting." I prefer Corel Draw and Corel PhotoPaint, which are much less expensive than the Adobe products, but which have the same comprehensive capabilities.
Corel Paint Shop Pro is also a popular program with both raster and vector capabilities. (In recent years Corel bought Jasc's Paint Shop Pro and eliminated Corel Photopaint, which resulted in today's Corel Paint Shop Pro. I'm currently using Version 11.)
"Drawing" Tools in Your Word Processing Program
Users of MSWord or WordPerfect also have some "drawing" tools available. Click on View>Toolbars, whereupon Word users will click "Drawing" while WP users will choose "Draw Shapes."
Word users can then click on AutoShapes>Basic Shapes for a comprehensive selection of patterns, such as a heart, a star, a crescent moon, a variety of arrows, and even a happy face.
More info can be found in the programs' Help files.