A Quick MyPaint Guide

MyPaint is an open-source drawing program with a streamlined user experience, making it easy to create sketches without clutter. But don’t be fooled by its lightweight interface — it comes packed with features for all kinds of drawing, whether it’s a rough pencil sketch or digital watercolor painting.


First, have your graphics tablet connected and ready to go. After you download MyPaint, open it up and you will see something like this:

A first look at MyPaint's interface
a first look at MyPaint’s interface

The first thing you will notice besides its clean interface is the unlimited canvas. Basically, it’s one very big sketchbook for you to draw as much as you want.

In order to make efficient use of MyPaint, learn about the brush packages as well as some keyboard shortcuts to help speed up the sketching process. For customization, the 1.2.0 version allows you to edit your keyboard shortcuts under Edit > Preferences. For older versions: hover the cursor over the menu entry and click on the shortcut you want to assign.

If you click on Brush List, you will see a few presets with different sets of brushes. Some of the brushes, such as Charcoal and Brush, are pretty standard; others, like Modeling and Kabura, are definitely for the more adventurous. Although there are many different brushes, based on my experience Pencil and Pen should suffice for design work. Nevertheless, experiment with what’s available and find one that works best for you.

Some of the brushes in MyPaint
some of the brushes in MyPaint

I’m only using Pen so far, since it creates sketches with bolder lines compared to something like Pencil. 

While there are other drawing programs such as Clip Studio Paint and GIMP, I recommend MyPaint for its ease of use and lightweight interface, making it perfect for sketching out concepts and exploring ideas. 

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