Draw and paint in Linux

Sketch Artist

Article from Issue 233/2020

If you are looking for an open source drawing program, Krita and MyPaint both offer graphic tablet support and brushes. Deciding which one works best depends on your specific needs.

When it comes to an open source alternative to Photoshop, most people think of Gimp. However, Gimp isn't the only raster graphics (aka bitmap) editor for Linux. For drawing and painting, users quickly realize that they need more than Gimp, including brushes, Wacom-style graphic tablet support, and artistic effects. Krita and MyPaint are two open source alternatives that are specifically designed for digital artists.

Krita [1], once the black sheep of the KOffice bundle, has received a lot of attention as a standalone application. A prominent participant in the Google Summer of Code since 2008, it has grown into mature, production-ready software with paid developers.

MyPaint [2] is a simpler, more basic drawing application with fewer features. However, simplicity can be a great advantage, attracting many talented artists, including David Revoy, the prominent Blender animation specialist and the creator of many MyPaint brushes. Although the latest stable version, MyPaint 1.2, dates from 2017, solid work is being done on version 2.0.


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