February 16, 2019

8 Great Paint Programs for Linux - page 2

The Basics, Photos

  • May 10, 2010
  • By Paul Ferrill


For the artistic types wanting a program to bring out the Picasso hidden deep within, there's MyPaint or Krita. Both of these applications really shine with a graphics tablet like a Wacom CTE-430. It's a 5-inch by 4-inch USB tablet you can pick up for around $50. Plug it in and it just works. One thing to note - it is an active digitizer so it only works with the accompanying pen.


Krita is for KDE and is a part of the KOffice suite of applications. Krita targets the graphic artist looking to create concept art, comics or rendered textures using a template-based approach for creating new drawings. When you start the program, it offers you a number of different stock templates of varying sizes with either a transparent or white background. From this point on you're presented with a blank sheet and a bevy of brush types and effects. There's a wiki-based user manual to help get you going, although be warned that it's under heavy development.


MyPaint is another tool for the graphic artist or illustrator. While Krita will work with either mouse or tablet, MyPaint was designed with the graphics tablet in mind. It uses keyboard shortcuts to open up various options such as using the "B" key to access the brush list. This list shows all available brushes including one called Smudge+. This particular brush takes advantage of pressure sensitivity from the graphics tablet to vary the amount of smudging you'll get. There's even a complete tutorial on making your own brushes.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right graphic editing tool is a lot like working on a car. You could get by, for the most part, with a crescent wrench and a few screwdrivers, but it would take you much longer to get the job done. Using a program like MyPaint or Krita probably won't appeal much if you don't have an artistic bone in your body. By the same token, you wouldn't want to use something like KolourPaint or Pinta to do a freehand drawing.

The best part is you can try any of these tools for free. Most can be installed directly from the Ubuntu Software Center or similar software managers on other distributions. Next time we'll take a look at The Gimp and its competition.

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