Many artists proclaim, "I am a painter". The word painter connotes a degree of mastery, an elevation. Not many declare, "I am a drawer". That connotes part of a chest of drawers, a bureau. But, rest assured, all good painters spend a great deal of time being good drawers. Discipline before freedom.
I love stroke-making and all of the freedom that comes along with it...strokes that are bold, strokes that support my intent, and strokes that hold their own independent beauty, regardless of the subject matter. In order to feel surface-freedom, that freedom occurring on the plane of the canvas or paper, it is necessary to be as comfortable as possible with the draftsmanship of the subject, the skeletal construction that lies beneath those beautiful strokes.
Most new to painting desire to be proficient at painting without a solid knowledge of drawing....painting classes fill up before drawing classes. I think that it is in our nature to go for the gold. Perhaps painting is more tenable, more quantifiable. What occurs, unfortunately, is that most errors in painting are actually drawing errors. So, it stands to reason that the more we draw, the more comfortable we will be when we take brush in hand.