How to Color Lineart in Krita: Unleash Your Creativity

A Fun and Friendly Guide for the Whole Family

Are you ready to bring your black and white sketches to life? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to color lineart in Krita, the powerful digital painting software. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist, join us on this artistic journey as we explore the various techniques and tools that will help you add stunning colors to your drawings.


Coloring lineart is a crucial step in digital art, as it gives depth and vibrancy to your illustrations. With Krita, a free and open-source painting program, you have access to a wide range of tools and features that simplify the coloring process. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps and techniques to effectively color lineart in Krita.

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s take a look at some fundamental concepts you should be familiar with:

Understanding Layers

In Krita, layers are the building blocks of your artwork. They allow you to separate different elements of your illustration, such as lineart, colors, shadows, and highlights, onto individual layers. This separation provides you with greater flexibility and control over your artwork, allowing you to make adjustments easily without affecting other elements.

When coloring lineart, it’s common to have separate layers for each color. This allows you to work on each color independently, making it easier to modify or refine specific areas. Additionally, utilizing layers helps you achieve a more professional and organized workflow.

Selecting and Filling Areas

To begin coloring your lineart in Krita, you need to select specific areas within your drawing. Krita provides various selection tools to help you define these areas precisely. Let’s take a closer look at some of the selection tools:

Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand tool allows you to select areas of similar color or tone with a single click. Simply select the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar, adjust the tolerance level to control the range of colors to be selected, and click on the desired area. Krita will automatically select all connected pixels with similar colors within the defined tolerance range.

This tool is particularly useful when you want to quickly select large areas with the same color. However, it may not be as accurate when dealing with complex or detailed lineart. In such cases, manual selection or combining multiple selection methods might be necessary.

Freehand Brush Tool

The Freehand Brush tool allows you to make selections by drawing a custom shape. It provides more control and precision compared to the Magic Wand tool. To use the Freehand Brush tool, select it from the toolbar, adjust the brush size, and start drawing around the desired area. Krita will create a selection based on the shape you draw.

This tool is especially useful for selecting irregular or intricate areas within your lineart. It allows you to follow the contours of your drawing more accurately. However, it requires some practice to achieve smooth and precise selections.

Fill Tool

Once you’ve made a selection, it’s time to fill it with colors. Krita offers the Fill tool, which allows you to quickly and easily fill selected areas with the desired color. Select the Fill tool from the toolbar, choose the color you want from the color palette, and click inside the selected area to fill it.

The Fill tool works seamlessly with Krita’s layers system. By utilizing separate layers for each color, you can fill areas without worrying about overlapping or affecting other elements of your artwork. This non-destructive workflow enables you to experiment and make changes easily.

Brushes and Blending Modes

One of the strengths of Krita is its extensive collection of brushes and blending modes. These tools allow you to create various textures, gradients, and blending effects, adding depth and dimension to your colored lineart. Let’s explore some of the key brush features and blending modes:


Krita offers a wide variety of brushes that can be customized to suit your artistic style. You can choose from a range of brush presets or create your own brushes with custom settings. Here are some essential brush features to consider:

Size and Opacity

The size and opacity of your brush play a crucial role in achieving different effects. Larger brushes are suitable for covering larger areas quickly, while smaller brushes are useful for adding details and refining edges. Adjusting the opacity allows for more subtle color transitions and layering effects.

Brush Shape

Krita provides numerous brush shapes, including round, square, tapered, and textured brushes. Experimenting with different brush shapes can help you achieve various textures and strokes in your colored lineart. For example, textured brushes can mimic the appearance of traditional media, adding a unique touch to your digital artwork.

Brush Dynamics

Brush dynamics refer to the ability to change brush settings dynamically based on factors like pressure, speed, or tilt. Krita offers extensive brush dynamics options, allowing you to create brushes that respond to your stylus input. For example, you can set the brush opacity to change based on pressure, creating natural-looking brush strokes that mimic traditional media.

Blending Modes

Krita’s blending modes enable you to combine colors and layers in different ways, resulting in various blending effects. Here are some commonly used blending modes for coloring lineart:


The Normal blending mode applies the selected color directly onto the canvas, replacing any existing colors on that layer. It provides a solid color appearance without any blending or transparency effects.


The Multiply blending mode multiplies the colors of the selected layer with the colors of the underlying layers. It creates a darker color effect, as if the layers were overlaid on top of each other using transparent sheets.


The Overlay blending mode combines the highlights and shadows of the selected layer with the colors of the underlying layers. It enhances the contrast and saturation while preserving the underlying luminosity.


The Screen blending mode is the opposite of the Multiply blending mode. It brightens the colors of the selected layer by simulating the effect of shining a light through transparent sheets.

Using Opacity and Layers

Adjusting the opacity of your brush and utilizing different layer blending modes can add depth and dimension to your colored lineart. Here’s how you can make the most of opacity and layers:


The opacity of your brush determines the transparency or intensity of the color you’re applying. Lowering the opacity allows you to build up colors gradually, creating subtle shading and blending effects. Increasing the opacity results in more solid and opaque colors.

Layer Opacity

You can also adjust the opacity of individual layers in Krita. By reducing the layer opacity, you can make the colors more transparent and reveal the underlying layers. This technique is useful for creating subtle overlay effects or adding highlights and shadows.

Layer Blending Modes

Krita offers a wide range of layer blending modes, each producing different effects when combined with other layers. Experimenting with blending modes can help you achieve unique color interactions, texture overlays, and lighting effects. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations to find the perfect look for your artwork.

Using Reference Images

Reference images can be invaluable when coloring lineart, providing guidance for color choices, shading, and lighting effects. Here’s how you can make the most of reference images in Krita:

Importing Reference Images

In Krita, you can easily import reference images by going to File > Open and selecting the image you want to use as a reference. The image will open in a separate window or as a separate layer, depending on your preference.

Positioning and Scaling

Once you have imported the reference image, you can place it next to your artwork for easy visual comparison. Krita allows you to resize, rotate, and position the reference image precisely using the transformation tools.

Picking Colors from the Reference Image

Krita provides a color picker tool that allows you to select colors directly from the reference image. Simply activate the color picker, click on the desired color in the reference image, and use it in your artwork. This feature ensures accurate color matching and helps you maintain consistency throughout your piece.

Exporting and Sharing Your Artwork

Once you’ve finished coloring your lineart in Krita, it’s time to share your masterpiece with the world. Krita offers various export options to save your artwork in different file formats, making it easy to share on social media platforms, print, or showcase on your portfolio. Let’s explore how to export your artwork:

File > Export

To export your artwork, go to File > Export. A dialog box will appear, allowing you to choose the file format, location, and other export settings. Consider the purpose and destination of your artwork to select the appropriate file format. Common formats for sharing digital art include JPEG and PNG.

Choosing Resolution and Compression

When exporting your artwork, consider the resolution and compression settings. Higher resolutions are suitable for printing or showcasing your work in detail, while lower resolutions are usually sufficient for online sharing. Compression affects the file size and image quality, so find the right balance based on your intended use.

Metadata and Copyright Information

Krita allows you to add metadata and copyright information to your exported artwork. This information can be useful for attributing your work, protecting your rights, and providing additional details about your piece. Don’t forget to fill in these details when exporting your artwork, especially if you plan to share it publicly.

Practicing and Experimenting

Now that you’re armed with the fundamental techniques and tools, the key to mastering the art of coloring lineart in Krita lies in practice and experimentation. Here are some tips to enhance your skills:

Try Different Brushes and Blending Modes

Krita offers a vast selection of brushes and blending modes. Take the time to explore them and experiment with different combinations. Try out various brush settings, textures, and blending modes to discover unique effects that work well with your artistic style.

Study Color Theory

Color theory is the study of how colors interact with each other and can greatly influence the overall mood and impact of your artwork. Take the time to learn about color theory, including concepts such as color harmony, complementary colors, and color temperature. Applying these principles to your coloring process can elevate your artwork to new heights.

Take Inspiration from Others

Browsing through the works of other artists can provide valuable inspiration and insights into different coloring techniques. Study the works of established artists, follow art communities online, and participate in forums or workshops. This exposure will expand your understanding and help you develop your own unique style.

Seek Constructive Feedback

Don’t be afraid to share your artwork with others and seek constructive feedback. Engaging with fellow artists and receiving feedback can offer fresh perspectives, highlight areas for improvement, and motivate you to push your boundaries. Embrace the opportunity to grow and learn from the art community.

Tutorial: How to Color Lineart in Krita

Now that you’re familiar with the basic concepts, let’s dive into the step-by-step tutorial on how to color lineart in Krita:

Step 1: Import Your Lineart

Start by opening Krita and importing your lineart. Go to File > Open and select the file containing your lineart. Make sure it’s in a compatible format such as PNG or JPEG.

Step 2: Create a New Layer

Before coloring your lineart, it’s best to create a new layer dedicated to the colors. This allows you to work non-destructively and make changes easily if needed. To create a new layer, go to Layer > New Layer or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + N.

Step 3: Set the Lineart Layer as Reference

Setting the lineart layer as a reference layer will prevent accidental color bleeding into the lineart during the coloring process. To do this, right-click on the lineart layer in the Layers panel and select “Set as Reference.” You’ll notice that the layer’s opacity decreases, indicating that it’s now a reference layer.

Step 4: Select the Colors

Now it’s time to choose the colors you want to use for your lineart. Krita offers various color selection methods to suit your preferences. You can use the Color Selector tool, the color wheel, or even import colors from reference images or palettes.

Step 5: Start Coloring

With your colors selected, it’s time to start coloring your lineart. Make sure you’re on the dedicated color layer you created earlier. Use the preferred selection tools discussed earlier to select specific areas, and then utilize the Fill tool or brushes to apply the chosen colors.

Step 6: Refine and Add Details

Once you’ve filled the basic areas with colors, you can refine and add more details to your artwork. This includes adding shading, highlights, texture, and any other elements that enhance the overall appearance. Use different brushes, blending modes, and opacity settings to achieve the desired effects.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Before considering your colored lineart complete, take some time to review your artwork. Make any necessary adjustments or refinements to ensure a polished and cohesive look. You can fine-tune color values, adjust layer blending modes, or add final touches based on your artistic vision.

Step 8: Save and Share Your Artwork

Once you’re satisfied with your colored lineart, it’s time to save your artwork. Go to File > Save or use the shortcut Ctrl + S to save your work in Krita’s native format, .kra. This allows you to preserve all the layers and editable elements for future modifications.

If you intend to share your artwork online or print it, export it into a suitable format such as JPEG or PNG. Remember to consider the resolution, compression, and metadata settings to ensure optimal quality and information preservation.

FAQ: How to Color Lineart in Krita

FAQ 1: Can I change the colors after I’ve finished coloring the lineart?

“Absolutely! Krita allows you to easily adjust the colors of your artwork by utilizing the power of layers. Simply select the layer that contains the colors you want to change and use the color adjustment tools to tweak the hues, saturation, or brightness.”

FAQ 2: Is it possible to add shading and highlights to my colored lineart?

“Yes, Krita offers an array of brushes and blending modes that enable you to add shading and highlights to your colored lineart. Experiment with different brush settings and layer blending modes to achieve the desired effects.”

FAQ 3: Can I import external brushes into Krita for coloring lineart?

“Absolutely! Krita supports the import of third-party brushes created by the community. By exploring different brushpacks and importing them into Krita, you can expand your brush library and access a wide variety of brushes specifically designed for coloring lineart. Simply download the brush pack files from trusted sources or the Krita community, then go to Settings > Manage Resources > Import Brushes to add them to your brush collection. This opens up endless possibilities for experimenting with different brush styles and textures.”

FAQ 4: How can I create smooth color transitions in my colored lineart?

“To achieve smooth color transitions, you can utilize Krita’s blending modes and opacity settings. By adjusting the opacity of your brush or using brush strokes with lower pressure, you can gradually build up colors and create seamless blends. Additionally, experiment with different blending modes like Soft Light or Overlay to enhance the smoothness of your color transitions. Practice and patience are key to mastering this technique.”

FAQ 5: Can I save and reuse color palettes in Krita?

“Absolutely! Krita allows you to save and reuse color palettes for easy access. You can create custom color palettes by selecting and saving your preferred colors. To save a color palette, go to the Color Selector and click the ‘Save’ button. Give your palette a name and choose a location to save it. You can then load the palette whenever you need it by going to the Color Selector and clicking the ‘Load Palette’ button.”

FAQ 6: How can I add texture to my colored lineart?

“Adding texture to your colored lineart can add depth and visual interest to your artwork. Krita offers various brush textures and layer blending modes that can help you achieve this effect. Experiment with textured brushes, such as those that mimic canvas or paper textures, and try using blending modes like Multiply or Overlay to incorporate texture into your colors. Don’t be afraid to explore different combinations and techniques to find the texture that suits your artistic vision.”

FAQ 7: Can I apply gradients to my colored lineart?

“Yes, Krita allows you to apply gradients to your colored lineart for a more dynamic and visually appealing result. You can utilize the Gradient tool to create linear or radial gradients and apply them to selected areas. Adjust the gradient colors and blending mode to achieve the desired effect. Gradients can add depth, dimension, and visual interest to your colored lineart, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different gradient styles.”


In conclusion, coloring lineart in Krita opens up a world of possibilities for artists of all skill levels. The software’s diverse range of tools, including layer management, selection tools, brushes, blending modes, and reference image integration, empowers you to bring your drawings to life with vibrant colors, shading, and highlights.

By following the step-by-step tutorial and experimenting with the various techniques and features, you can take your coloring skills to new heights. Remember, practice and patience are key. With each artwork, you’ll learn something new and develop your unique style.

Now that you have the knowledge and tools at your disposal, it’s time to embark on your colorful journey. Start creating stunning illustrations that will captivate and inspire others. Share your artwork with the world, and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

Note: The techniques mentioned in this article are specific to Krita. However, the principles and concepts can be applied to other digital art software as well.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. The authors and publishers are not liable for any damages or losses arising from the use of this information. Always exercise caution and refer to the official documentation and tutorials provided by the software developers.

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