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?"

  • 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
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 18:30

8 Answers 8


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?

How about to render?


To render in ink

"He rendered the portrait in watercolor"

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.

  • I think create works fine for did you create anything today as well.
    – Davo
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 19:50

Perhaps...to illustrate?

"The artist illustrated a horse."

  • 1
    The artist depicted a horse.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 21:00
  • @GEdgar Yes, but "Did you depict today?" doesn't work. Read the second paragraph of the question.
    – amizrahi
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 21:01
  • "The artist illustrated a horse." Perhaps the artist painted something on the horse.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 23:03
  • 1
    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? Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 0:05
  • Well...I guess that's true.
    – amizrahi
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 0:31

It's a bit of an obscure word but "limn" means to draw, paint, or depict with words.

  • This would benefit from a dictionary source/link for the word. Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 21:57

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)

You could just use the word 'draw':

Have you drawn anything today?

It's unreasonable to assume that an artist would take your question literally and leave it there.

Imagine you asked the above question, and the artist answered 'no' because he had only painted that day, instead of drawn, and then said nothing else. You would have to be pretty pedantic to give an answer like that, given the context.

It's far more likely that the artist would reply something along the lines of this, instead:

'No, but I did do a painting [...]'

Certainly, that's the simplest way to ask the question concisely (assuming that most artists aren't pedantic or prickly about word choice).


Did you work on any 2D art today?

I'm not sure if you would use that sentence but that is what I would use.

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