All my life I've been looking for a single word in English to describe someone who draws. It would be the equivalent of "a painter", or "a ceramicist", or "a sculptor".

"Draftsman" has a technical slant to it. "Illustrator" implies that the drawing accompanies text or implies a particular meaning.

A "Drawer" is part of a piece of furniture.

Haven't found anyone on either side of the Atlantic who has a good answer.

Sample sentence:

Hello, everybody! My name is Emily and I am a ______________ (someone who draws pictures, as in produces drawings as an art form).

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    Hello, Emily. 'Painter' also means a rope used to tie up a boat. (Though this is actually a different word, a homograph.) If you're happy to carry on using 'painter' to mean 'one who paints', why can't 'drawer' be used to mean 'one who draws'? Have you checked in a dictionary? Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 23:58
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    /drɔr/ the sliding, box-like open container that is found in cabinets, wardrobes, and chests. /drɔ ər/ for the person who draws. Listen to the pronunciations here: dictionary.com/browse/drawer. Maybe this is yet another British English versus American English difference... (I pronounce the name of the artist differently from the piece of furniture) However, there are lots of online dictionaries that define "drawer" as a person who draws.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 12:25
  • 1
    Well, if I describe Vincent Van Gough as a painter, I don't think there's much risk of someone thinking that I've got a piece of rope with a famous name. And yes, it did occur to me to look in a dictionary for this - when I was about 10. Most dictionaries describe a "drawer" with the following definitions: a boxlike compartment, underpants, one who takes money from a bank account, and someone who draws. My entire point is that NO ONE ACTUALLY uses the word "draw-er" as one who draws. The pronunciation alone is unwieldy and causes one to say it with an exaggerated Southern (USA) accent. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 0:12
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    Interesting view on illustrator. If someone mentioned to me they are an illustrator, my immediate impression is they draw. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 6:31
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    I will simply say I draw. It encompasses everything and anything. Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 9:47

12 Answers 12


I believe, the only generic apt term would be drawing artist which isn't a single word. (You can hyphenate as drawing-artist if you really want to use a single word). Many drawing art and job websites use this term. There are more specific terms like pencil artist, portrait drawing artist etc. also.

As already mentioned, the only generic single word is drawer but it is not that useful to use this term for one who draws. Additionally, it depends on what you draw and on your occupation/art etc. so there isn't a generic and useful single word. There are even cartoonists who are technically a drawing artist.

The reason why the term drawer is not common like painter and sculptor might be that painting and sculpting were prominent and established art forms in the history and there were popular and influential artists of this art form; thus there are generic and common single word terms as painter and sculptor for the artists. Drawing was more like a technical occupation throughout the history as in draftsmanship where there are specialties like architectural drafters, mechanical drafters etc. In art, it was rather an artistic practice than an established art form so we could say that a painter is/was a drawer already. Traditional drawings were simple compared to some modern drawing forms where they may look like a work between drawing and painting; and drawing has become a more established art form with more categories, online platforms, digital art softwares and creative works in recent history.

Beside online platforms, I've found the term drawing artist used in some art books about drawing:

From Drawing by Daniel Marcus Mendelowitz (1967):

To illustrate the extent to which color has served the drawing artist, sixteen of the 314 master drawings in this book have been reproduced in full color.

From Drawing media & techniques by Joseph A. Gatto (1987):

The endless combinations of media and surfaces make it virtually impossible to explore the complete spectrum. Yet non-traditional media are not entirely different from traditional drawing media. Both offer broad artistic challenges, fresh with each drawing you begin. Both should be experienced to enable you to achieve your greatest potential as a drawing artist.

From Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques by Margaret Davidson (2011):

The first concept discussed in the chapters that follow is the drawing artist's deliberate choice of surface. What the surface is determines the nature of the mark. Furthermore, a focus on both the surface and the mark and the relationship between the two is one of hallmarks of contemporary drawing, and one of the most fundamental abstract issues drawing artists deal with.

Note: The author uses the term throughout the book and calls herself a drawing artist also.

  • 1
    Sometimes two words are way better than one. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 1:14
  • 1
    I think you're right about the reason for this. Until fairly recently drawing was a part of the preparation for painting, sculpture, tapestry, and other more highly-valued artistic practices, rather than an artistic end in itself. There's a lack of words for people who practice other forms like video art; photographer and printmaker are single-word names, but those names don't specifically refer to art practice any more than "drawer" does.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 9:55
  • Sorry, but drawing artist is not a thing. In all my days of museum- and gallery-going, not to mention reading art books, I have never seen that.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 22:16
  • @Lambie: Yes, it is not an established art term or a dictionary term like painter and sculptor and I've explained some of the reasons already. Drawing artist became a more popular term where drawing became a more established art form and with the online platforms. It is also an approach to find a generic term with the use of the established term "artist".
    – ermanen
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 22:36
  • well +1 from me. And I am not the OP, so any reasonable compound is okay by me. Still, the OP balks at drawer, and Hello, I am a drawing artist, hmm, sounds vaguely like Hello, I am a growing tree. I dunno. Really like the references. Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 3:37


Oxford dictionary definition 3

A person who produces a drawing or design.


‘The fact that these three are expert drawers and painters doesn't hurt either.’

‘The drawer's signature will be executed just above it.’

‘Jordy had always been a good drawer, he could draw trees amazingly.’

‘You've spoken about being a drawer, painter, writer too, as well as composer.’

  • 2
    I've upvoted because it's the only acceptable answer, but it's worth pointing out that the piece of furniture which the OP mentions is pronounced differently from the name of a person who draws.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 12:17
  • 1
    Before stating that "drawer" IS the best possible term, try saying to yourself - as though in an introduction including your hobby - "I am a drawer". Then I think you'll see the problem. For one thing, simply saying that you're an "artist" is an uncomfortably pretentious declaration. Being termed "artist" is what others are to say ABOUT a person. The person doesn't usually say it of himself. And IN WHAT ART they participate? Bernstein, Picasso, Fellini, and Michael Jackson were ALL "artists". Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 0:20
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    Dear @Mari-LouA The bounty is serious as stated. As for line in question, it was (my) user error. Any efforts or suggestions to answer the question will be greatly appreciated. Peace out. Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 19:07
  • This is the best answer, because it succeeds in answering the question within requirements - a question that has its problems, because why would you insist on using a single word, if several two word phrases do a much better job? English is full of examples where two or more words are required or the best solution - something that took some getting used to for myself as well, coming from a language that allows stringing words together into single new words.
    – Grismar
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 1:21
  • @Mari-Lou: are they pronounced differently in all dialects of English? It's certainly true in RP, where the furniture drawer is pronounced like draw, and the artist drawer should be pronounced like drora. And it's true in many American dialects, as well. But I'm pretty sure that in some American dialects, they're homonyms. Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 13:43

Well I am no expert and late to this question - so if it has been offered and I missed it sorry - but I call one who draws a sketch artists or a sketcher. Works for me as drawer is to easily confused and breaks the stream of consciousness for the reader when used in context of one who draws. This answer may be a little sketchy ;>.

  • 5
    Not every drawing is a sketch. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 13:18
  • @KillingTime, if they're not a sketcher or sketch-artist (because that conveys a certain roughness or shoddiness) then the appropriate term is surely drafter or draught-artist?
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 2:51
  • 1
    @Steve drafting, sketching and drawing are different disciplines of art. Sketching can be the step before actual drawing but drawing is not the same as sketching. Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 9:41

The OP in a comment said

Before stating that "drawer" IS the best possible term, try saying to yourself - as though in an introduction including your hobby - "I am a drawer". Then I think you'll see the problem. For one thing, simply saying that you're an "artist" is an uncomfortably pretentious declaration. Being termed "artist" is what others are to say ABOUT a person. The person doesn't usually say it of himself. And IN WHAT ART they participate? Bernstein, Picasso, Fellini, and Michael Jackson were ALL "artists".

First, it's obvious, according to dictionaries, that drawer IS the right word. I agree it sounds strange to my ears, but that doesn't make it incorrect. For some reason it doesn't seem to be in common usage. So let's start using it, & correct this oversight.

Second, there's nothing pretentious about calling yourself an artist if you are one, any more than calling yourself a musician, an athlete, a writer, or a politician is pretentious. If you feel self-conscious about calling yourself an artist, either gain some self-esteem to be comfortable about who you are & what you do, or change careers/hobbies.

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    This is more of a comment and not an answer per se. Please see the tour - this isn't a forum site. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 7:08
  • Saying "I am an artist" is not pretentious at all, if you really are one. For pete's sake. Political correctness may have its place but not here. That said no one actually uses drawer in the art world, etc.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 22:26

Although many dictionaries define 'drawer' as 'someone who draws pictures', I understand the OP's frustration when trying to use it as in her introduction. The culprit that makes it sound unnatural is in part the fact that such usage is not very idiomatic, and in part the fact that the meaning of 'drawer' is not specific enough to convey the exact meaning she wants to get across.

Since she wants a single-word term for "someone who draws pictures, as in produces drawings as an art form", I'd suggest picture-drawer:

Hello, everybody! My name is Emily and I am a picture-drawer.

By adding picture- with a hyphen, you could make the term a single word that's specific enough to use in introductions.

There are many examples of "a picture drawer" on Google Books with or without the hyphen.

  • Hello, everybody! My name is Emily, I just travelled here from 1874, and I am a picture-drawer. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 1:06
  • @green_ideas Well, the term 'picture drawer' is not exactly obsolete, as shown in this Ngram: (books.google.com/ngrams/…)
    – JK2
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 1:23
  • I think only that the OP (Emily) would probably balk at adding something to the word 'draw-er', which she obviously dislikes. So, it is harder,or at least more drawn out) to say I am a picture-drawer than I am a drawer (draw-er). Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 3:35

The word is: sketcher

He was a brilliant sketcher and in his journeys made some clever and humorous pencil drawings of scenes which took place on the road.

Hello, everybody! My name is Emily and I am a sketcher.

  • 1
    A sketch is a kind of drawing. Usually done rather fast.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 22:16
  • @Lambie but this word defines it correctly though.
    – Divyesh
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 6:56

I propose the conception of a new word. Drawing inspiration from my native language Danish, we have the word 'tegner', having the sole meaning of "one who draws". The word is created from the noun 'tegn', which means 'sign'. Too "at tegne" is a verb and means "To draw". So what my immediate proposal would thus be: 'Signager'. But not really. Contemplating the above information might bring the desired results on your part.

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    A signager sounds to me like somebody who designs signboards, logos, and so forth. Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 13:45
  • How is one meant to pronounce signager? Can you add the proposed (English) pronunciation in an readable format, preferably IPA? Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 3:40
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    @green_ideas: A signager would be one who produces signage. It's pronounced like signage with an -er stuck on the end. That would be /ˈsaɪnɪdʒə/ in British English and /ˈsaɪnɪdʒər/ in American English. And it is a terrible choice of word for somebody who draws pictures. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 1:49

I Draw

Hello, everybody! My name is Emily and I draw.

My thought is a ceramist has to use ceramic as a medium to be called a ceramist. A painter has to use paint to be called a painter. Or rather, they can be defined by the medium they chose to work with. Hence, there is a proper term for them.

A person who draws can draw with anything and on anything and about anything. Simply by saying I draw is empowering. It encompasses everything and anything.

  • I would also like to add that adding the word artist is superfluous. I draw by itself means I am an artist and I am an artist who draws. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 2:33
  • I am an artist who paints x; I am an artist who sculpts y.Just saying: I draw or I paint is very weak, marketing-wise.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 19:28
  • I personally find adding the word artist is not necessary. I draw and I paint has already demonstrated I am an artist. Happy Holidays btw! Merry Christmas! Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 5:51
  • @green_ideas Thank you! because of the bounty, I got a new hat and added an extra digit for the new year! Off to a bountiful 2020! Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 6:53

The United States Department of Labor uses the term "Illustrator" as a subtype of Fine Artist:

27-1013.00 - Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators

Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of media and techniques.

Sample of reported job titles: Artist, Automotive Artist, Blacksmith, Fine Artist, Ice Carver, Illustrator, Muralist, Painter, Portrait Artist, Sculptor


People have used

pencil artist,
pen artist,
pen and pencil artist,

Certainly, pen and pencil artist conveys the ideal of somebody who draws with different media, even if it isn't a complete list of all possible drawing media.

  • 1
    I do not see how this is an answer, rather than a comment about other answers. Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 10:13

Not sure if it counts as a "single-word", but I'd use

visual artist

in your example sentence.


1) Hello, my name is Emily and I am an artist who draws [x.]

That is how to say this in English.

For example:

He is an artist who draws, paints and sculpts the Native American Indian in a rustic impressionistic style.

enter link description here

2) Hello, my name is Emily and I do drawings of [whatever].

like this:

The obvious crowd pleaser in the show is The Great Travelling Art Exhibition by British artist Ben Long’s DVD of his drawings in the dust on the backs of delivery vans parked in the car park at Covent Garden Markets in London. He does drawings of horses, little girls with puppy dogs, blue finches, Spitfire fighters – all the kinds of things people like to see done in well executed drawings.

do drawings

The word artist in English can be further qualified. There is no good word for a person who only draws (pencil or charcoal) pictures of stuff.

Even languages that have words like dessinateur or dibujante, French and Spanish respectively, require clarification in context. It is not obvious on their face that these words refer to art(istic) drawing.

So, English is not the only language that doesn't have a good noun for the person who does drawings. And I don't think it's worth belaboring this point further.

However, please note this description of who was probably the greatest artist of all times: Michelangelo. Below is a review of a show of his drawings. They say draftsman and designer but also artist collocated with the word drawing.

Here is one art journal (from Boston University) describes the MET show of his works:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s wide-ranging exhibition “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer” examines the artistic production and development of the Renaissance master through his drawings. The exhibit is a result of the recent scholarly interest in drawings and their importance within the artistic process. [...] 200 works of art in diverse media: sculpture, paintings, architectural models, and drawings. On view are 133 drawings by Michelangelo, from fifty public and private collections in the United States and Europe, including studies of anatomy, preparatory sketches, as well as highly finished compositions. The exhibition celebrates Michelangelo as a disegnatore, draftsman, and demonstrates his extensive use of disegno, drawing, from his early days in Florence until his death in Rome.


Through his drawings, the exhibition effectively displays Michelangelo’s versatility as an artist as the works relate to all the artistic fields in which he was active. Beyond that, the exhibit shows him not as a solitary artist, but rather as one operating within a greater artistic network of patrons and artists.

draftsman and designer

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