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Need a distraction-free art application on Linux? Try out MyPaint

By - | Views: 39,413

If you have a Wacom-style graphic tablet and you need a simple and distraction-free painting program, MyPaint seems like it could be a really good fit.

The developer, Martin Renold, says it's a "fast and dead-simple painting app for artists" and I can certainly appreciate the ease of use to it. Very handy for doing any kind of art really. Perhaps if you're in the mood for some sketching, mockups or you're designing art for a game it's pretty sweet.

A big new version is currently in testing, with a Beta that was released back in December. This brings with it great AppImage support to run it (hopefully) out of the box on any modern Linux distribution, along with tons of new features for artists like Spectral Paint/Pigment layer and brush mode, Linear blending for non-pigment layers and brush modes, Smudge enhancements, Fullscreen improvements, "fake inputs" for pressure and barrel rotation (allowing on-the-fly expressive adjustments to your brush even while using a mouse) and loads more.

Artwork: "Pinguins" by Yumemi-chan

MyPaint Feature Highlight:

  • Infinite canvas
  • Extremely configurable brushes
  • Distraction-free fullscreen mode
  • Extensive graphic tablet support
  • Speed, simplicity, and expressiveness
  • Realistic paint-like pigment model
  • 15 bit Rec 709 linear RGB colorspace
  • Brush settings stored with each stroke on the canvas
  • Layers, various modes, and layer groups

Free and open source, so you can enjoy creating with it as much as you want without the worries of any time-trial nonsense. Check it out on GitHub and the official site.

Hat tip to dpanter.

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Donkey 22 Jan
This is my favourite drawing application. It is very easy to use and it has good control over the brushes.
jarhead_h 23 Jan
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: ShmerlFor drawing, try Krita. It's a lot better than Gimp for that. The later is a good raster image processing editor.
So where does Inkscape come into all this?

Inkscape has several uses for hobby CNC machining applications. I'm sure it has art uses, but what I care about is 2.5D machining and the gear generator plugin.
Liam Dawe 23 Jan
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: GuestWhy the hell are you even writing about it on a gaming site?
I write about what ever the hell I want.

If it interests me, I write about it. If I think it might help others, I write about it. You know what games are made from right? Art.

Fine. It's probably not gonna help anybody, but I'll concede the rest of your points.
Oh get a grip. Please take this ridiculous attitude elsewhere. You're not the judge of what helps others, just because you might have heard of it doesn't mean others have.

I've already been thanked in various places, from people who didn't know it existed, there's even a comment on this very article from someone who didn't know of it.

Please try being a little more positive and respectful.

Last edited by Liam Dawe on 23 January 2020 at 2:32 pm UTC
Eike 23 Jan
Preface: I'm not an artist and cannot judge anything of what you're saying here.

Quoting: GuestSorry for the rant, this is just a recent source of real frustration for me.

Well, that really shines through...

Quoting: GuestUnless you want to paint in a painterly style (e.g. something that looks more like it might have been painted traditionally than digitally) then there's no option for painters on Linux.

Maybe that's the point why this application obviously does attract some people (see other comments) but is not the right thing for you. Different targets, different needs, different tools, all fine with that.

Quoting: GuestSo no, I don't need MyPaint, it's not a good fit for any serious artist. Why the hell are you even writing about it on a gaming site? Infinite canvas? Infinite as in lags and then crashes if you zoom out too much and the canvas becomes too big, that kind of infinite? What a joke.

As already pointed out by somebody else above, please do report your findings with the different programs. (Especially the banding in Krita does look disappointing to me. And crashes are a no-no.) My experiences with reporting bugs to open source projects are varying from "no reaction in years" to "fixed in the repository the same night", but give it try. If not for you, then for generations to come. ;)

Good luck with your art, whichever system you're using to make it!

Last edited by Eike on 23 January 2020 at 3:28 pm UTC
Shmerl 23 Jan
Quoting: GuestAnd because of this hand-eye disconnect some very impressionable people will latch onto anything that makes drawing on a tablet feel more like drawing on a paper, but it's not that there's anything special about paper in this case, it's just that they're trying to tackle the hand-eye disconnect through completely illogical and ineffective ways.

Are you talking about non-display tablets? Wacom has display tablets for a long time already (Cintiq series), so no hand-eye disconnect anymore.

Last edited by Shmerl on 23 January 2020 at 5:02 pm UTC
Shmerl 24 Jan
Quoting: Guestyou do realize btw that wacom is just a brand name right?

Sure. But they also tend to work on Linux really well, while others are all hit and miss. Which other tablets work on Linux without issues?
mirv 24 Jan
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Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: Guestyou do realize btw that wacom is just a brand name right?

Sure. But they also tend to work on Linux really well, while others are all hit and miss. Which other tablets work on Linux without issues?

Staying away from anything else in the discussions, this I have to concur with: wacom tablets are very well supported on GNU/Linux, in my experience. I mostly use mine (a bamboo with wireless dongle) with gimp and blender, and it...just works. Never had a single issue of any kind (well, unless you count wanting a better gui application for system-wide configuration, e.g disabling touch input and only detecting the pen)

So I'm quite interested in trying this application out when I have the spare time (ha!), and seeing for myself how it compares to, say, gimp. I do have reasons for liking computer based drawing, but for simple stuff I still stick to pencil & paper. Right tool for the job and all that.
mirv 24 Jan
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Quoting: GuestFor art there is no such thing as the right tool, just the tool you are more comfortable with and tool you are less comfortable with, although I guess for certain tasks there are tools that are actually completely incapable of it (like for example how you can't really color when you're drawing with a stick in sand or mud, and you can only do the most primitive forms of shading there)

I never even use a pencil personally, always a pen, if I want to get fancy on paper I'd probably go with charcoal to be honest, I just don't like lead very much. But when it comes to 'simple things' in particular, any tool can do the job just as well as any other tool. Digital, pencil, pen, chalk, stick in the sand, if it's something simple, all will provide equally good results for an artist, it's based entirely on their fundamental skill level here, it has nothing to do with the tool. Tools only start to matter when you want to do more advanced stuff, like values for instance. To do values you need to be able to do at least some form of rendering (e.g. painting/coloring), and you might be seeking a specific type of rendering which rules out a few tools (but there's still a shitload of options you'll be left with, so there's never one right tool, there's usually like a huge collection of them no matter how deep you go, and if you look at those hyperrealism crazies you'll find that sometimes it takes that entire collection of tools to get the best result, instead of just the one or two you're most comfortable with). But if your simple stuff is just sketching or logo design or things of that nature (which is typically what artists call simple stuff) don't ever lie to yourself that one tool is better than another. You can even draw with your fingernail on your mousepad even, it's no worse than your pencil and paper in this case, nor is it worse than your tablet.

Uh...there most certainly is the right set of tools for art. Tools really, really matter.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say you haven't been a student of art, right? Because drawing isn't such a simple thing to be hand waved off as any tool will do. There's no such thing as one generic tool that will do for everybody, which is why applications such as this are needed - yes, there are others that can possibly do the same thing, but they can also get in the way. Which matters a great deal.

If you honestly can't understand that, I suggest you go try out a lot more programs. Experiment, play, investigate, and I'm quite certain you will change your mind.
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