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Is there a single word for "to paint and/or draw"? If you talk to artists frequently, you find you want one.

Depict, portray and similar words work in a sentence like "The artist painted/drew a horse", but I'm looking for something that works in a sentence like "Did you paint and/or draw today?"

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I just realized that what I'm asking is really: is there an intransitive verb for "to paint and/or draw"? There are plenty of transitive ones (though obviously not exact synonyms) like depict, portray, and render, given below. – Henrik N Jul 25 '11 at 18:30

There is no single word that can directly replace paint/draw in a sentence. Painting and drawing are two distinct activities. In fact, artists who work in 2D do not only paint or draw. They make prints, do collages and much more. (I say this as someone who was once an artist.) Given your example, some options might be:

  • Did you work in the studio today?
  • Did you do any art today?

If the artist in question only paints or draws on a regular basis, then nothing beats

  • Did you paint or draw today?

Another option:

  • Are you still working on that piece?
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How about to render?


To render in ink

"He rendered the portrait in watercolor"
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Perhaps...to illustrate?

"The artist illustrated a horse."

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The artist depicted a horse. – GEdgar Jul 24 '11 at 21:00
@GEdgar Yes, but "Did you depict today?" doesn't work. Read the second paragraph of the question. – amizrahi Jul 24 '11 at 21:01
"The artist illustrated a horse." Perhaps the artist painted something on the horse. – GEdgar Jul 24 '11 at 23:03
I'm of the opinion that illustrate works fine, and would never think that "illustrated a horse" meant you decorated the beast unless someone was using it as a pun. In the second example sentence in the original question, it would require an object, as in Did you illustrate anything today, or adding in an action verb and changing it to an object, as in did you do an illustration today or an adverb, as in did you do any illustrating today? – Matthew Frederick Jul 25 '11 at 0:05
Well...I guess that's true. – amizrahi Jul 25 '11 at 0:31

Although somewhat generic, create is a word you could use. You will have to rephrase the sentence into:

The artist created a picture of a horse.

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Very informally, I have seen people use the term "art" as a verb. I have never seen it used outside of art gallery websites such as Deviantart.com, but on such sites, among artists, it is a pretty common term. It is almost always used to describe the self and is completely intransitive.


  • Art (I'm going to art)
  • Arting (I am arting *Most common)
  • Arted (I arted. *Least common form)
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