How to Paint Digitally with Krita: Unleash Your Creativity!

A Digital Painting Masterpiece Awaits – Get Your Brushes Ready!

Are you ready to dive into the world of digital painting and create stunning masterpieces right on your computer screen? Look no further than Krita, the powerful open-source software that offers endless creative possibilities! In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of painting digitally with Krita, from setting up your canvas to adding those final touches. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a seasoned pro, Krita has something for everyone. So, let’s grab our virtual brushes and unleash our inner Picasso!


You might be wondering, what exactly is digital painting and why should you give it a try? Digital painting is the art form that allows you to create beautiful artwork using digital tools, such as a tablet or a computer, instead of traditional materials like paints and brushes. With Krita, you can explore a whole new world of creative possibilities, from realistic oil paintings to imaginative fantasy landscapes. The best part? You don’t need to worry about making a mess or waiting for paint to dry – everything happens right on your screen.

Now, before we jump into the exciting world of digital painting with Krita, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the software. Krita is a free and open-source program that provides a wide range of tools and features specifically designed for digital artists. It offers a user-friendly interface, customizable brushes, advanced layer management, and much more. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, Krita provides a platform that caters to all skill levels.

So, now that you know what digital painting is and why Krita is the perfect tool for the job, let’s get started on your artistic journey!

What is Digital Painting?

Digital painting is a form of art that utilizes digital tools and software to create artwork. Instead of using traditional brushes and paints, digital artists rely on graphics tablets or computers with specialized software to produce their work. This innovative approach allows for limitless possibilities and the ability to experiment with various techniques and styles.

With digital painting, artists can achieve effects that might be challenging or impossible to replicate using traditional mediums. They can create realistic textures, blend colors seamlessly, and manipulate elements with ease. Digital painting also offers advantages such as the ability to undo or redo actions, work in layers for easy editing, and the convenience of a digital workspace.

Why Choose Krita?

When it comes to digital painting software, Krita stands out as a top choice among artists. Here are some compelling reasons why you should choose Krita for your digital painting endeavors:

Open-Source and Free

Krita is an open-source software, which means it is free to download and use. This accessibility makes it an excellent option for artists of all skill levels who want to explore the world of digital painting without breaking the bank. Additionally, being open-source allows the community to contribute to the software’s development, resulting in frequent updates and improvements.

Wide Range of Tools and Brushes

Krita offers an extensive collection of tools and brushes tailored specifically for digital artists. From realistic brushes that mimic traditional media to experimental brushes that create unique effects, Krita provides a versatile range of options to suit every artistic style. The software also supports brush customization, allowing artists to tailor each brush to their specific needs.

Advanced Layer Management

One of the strengths of Krita lies in its comprehensive layer management system. Artists can work with multiple layers, each containing different elements of their artwork. This layer flexibility enables them to make non-destructive edits, experiment with different effects, and easily organize complex compositions.

Support for Graphics Tablets

Krita seamlessly integrates with graphics tablets, making it an ideal choice for digital artists who prefer the tactile experience of drawing on a tablet. The software recognizes pressure sensitivity, allowing artists to vary the thickness and opacity of their brushstrokes based on the pressure applied. This functionality gives artists greater control over their digital artwork and enhances the overall drawing experience.

Animation Capabilities

In addition to digital painting, Krita offers powerful animation tools. Artists can create frame-by-frame animations, apply onion skinning to visualize movement, and preview their animations in real-time. This feature makes Krita a fantastic choice for both illustrators and animators who want to bring their drawings to life.

Supportive Community

Krita boasts a vibrant and supportive community of artists who regularly contribute tutorials, resources, and feedback. The Krita community provides a valuable platform for artists to share their work, ask questions, and learn from one another. Whether you’re a beginner seeking guidance or an experienced artist looking to connect with fellow creatives, the Krita community is there to support you on your artistic journey.

1. Setting Up Your Canvas

Before we begin creating our digital masterpiece, it’s important to set up our canvas in Krita. Think of the canvas as your blank sheet of paper or canvas board. Here’s how you can get started:

Step 1: Open Krita and click on “File” in the menu bar, then select “New”.

Step 2: In the “New Image” dialog box, you can customize your canvas size, resolution, and color mode. Consider the dimensions you want for your artwork and adjust accordingly. Once you’re satisfied, click “OK” to create your canvas.

Step 3: You now have a blank canvas ready to be transformed into a work of art. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes and aspect ratios to find the perfect fit for your artistic vision.

Setting up your canvas is an essential step in creating digital art. It allows you to establish the dimensions, resolution, and color mode that will form the foundation of your artwork. Whether you prefer a standard canvas size or a custom size tailored to your specific project, Krita offers the flexibility to accommodate your creative needs.

2. Exploring Krita’s Tools and Brushes

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just like a traditional painter has a variety of brushes and tools at their disposal, Krita offers an extensive array of customizable brushes and tools for digital artists. Let’s explore some of the key tools and brushes you can utilize in your digital painting journey:

Brush Presets

Krita provides a vast collection of brush presets to choose from. Whether you prefer mimicking the texture of traditional brushes or experimenting with unique effects, there’s a brush preset for every style and technique. You can access the brush presets through the Brush Preset Selector, located in the top toolbar of the software.

When exploring the brush presets, consider the type of stroke you want to achieve. Do you desire smooth and blended strokes, or do you prefer a rough texture? Krita offers brushes that simulate various painting tools, such as oil brushes, watercolor brushes, and charcoal brushes. Experiment with different presets to find the ones that align with your artistic vision.

Brush Editor

Want to create your own custom brushes? Krita’s brush editor allows you to modify existing brushes or design entirely new ones. This tool provides a high level of control over the behavior and appearance of your brush strokes. To access the brush editor, go to the Brush Preset Selector and click on the “Edit Brush Settings” button.

Within the brush editor, you can adjust various settings, including size, opacity, flow, hardness, and spacing. You can also experiment with advanced options, such as brush dynamics, where you can create brushes that respond to pen pressure, tilt, or speed. The brush editor empowers you to fine-tune your brushes to suit your specific painting style.


If you struggle with shaky lines or want to achieve smoother strokes, Krita’s smoothing feature can be a game-changer. It helps create smooth, flowing strokes by automatically correcting any wobbles or tremors in your hand movements. You can find the smoothing option in the tool options bar when the brush tool is selected.

Adjusting the smoothing value allows you to control the degree of correction applied to your brush strokes. Higher values result in more pronounced smoothing, while lower values retain the natural flow of your strokes. Experiment with different smoothing settings to find the right balance for your artistic style.

Selection Tools

Krita offers a range of selection tools that allow you to precisely define areas of your canvas for editing or applying specific effects. These tools are invaluable when working on intricate details, making adjustments to specific regions, or separating elements to work on them individually.

The selection tools in Krita include rectangular, elliptical, and freehand selections. To access them, simply click on the selection tool icon in the toolbox or use the associated keyboard shortcuts. Once you have made a selection, you can apply various modifications, such as applying color adjustments, transforming the selection, or filling it with a pattern or gradient.


Like in traditional painting, layers allow you to work on different elements of your artwork separately. Krita’s layer management system enables you to organize, transform, and blend layers effortlessly. By utilizing layers effectively, you gain greater control over your artwork and can make non-destructive edits at any stage of the creative process.

When working with layers in Krita, consider the depth and complexity of your artwork. It’s a good practice to separate different elements onto separate layers. For example, if you’re painting a landscape, you may want to have separate layers for the sky, mountains, trees, and foreground elements. This layer organization allows for easier manipulation and adjustment of individual components without affecting the rest of the artwork.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Paint Digitally with Krita

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of setting up your canvas and exploring Krita’s tools, let’s dive into a step-by-step tutorial on how to paint digitally using this incredible software. We’ll walk you through the process from start to finish, so grab your stylus and let’s get started!

Step 1: Sketching Your Idea

Every masterpiece starts with a sketch, and digital painting is no different. Begin by sketching your idea on a new layer in Krita. Use a light color or reduced opacity brush for your sketch, allowing you to easily refine and adjust it later.

Before you start sketching, think about the composition, subject, and overall vision for your artwork. Consider the placement of different elements, the focal points, and the perspective. Sketching allows you to experiment with different ideas and find the perfect composition before committing to more detailed work.

Tips for Sketching:

  • Start with loose, light strokes to establish the basic shapes and proportions.
  • Focus on capturing the essence of your subject rather than getting caught up in details.
  • Use simple geometric shapes as building blocks for more complex objects or figures.
  • Make use of reference images or real-life objects for accuracy and inspiration.

Remember, the sketching stage is all about exploration and finding the right direction for your artwork. Don’t be afraid to try different compositions or experiment with different ideas before settling on a final sketch.

Step 2: Blocking in Colors

Once you’re happy with your sketch, create a new layer underneath it and start blocking in the main colors of your artwork. Keep it loose and focus on the overall composition and values. You can always refine and add details later.

Blocking in colors involves laying down the foundational colors for different elements in your artwork. Think of it as a rough color map that guides your subsequent layers and brushwork. This step helps establish the broad color scheme and ensures harmony throughout your painting.

Tips for Blocking in Colors:

  • Choose colors that represent the general hue and value of each element.
  • Avoid getting caught up in details at this stage; focus on larger areas and shapes.
  • Consider the lighting conditions and how they affect the colors of your subject.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and deviate from the original sketch if it enhances your composition.

Remember, blocking in colors is not about perfection but creating a roadmap for your painting. It provides a strong foundation for subsequent layers and allows you to visualize the overall color scheme before diving into details.

Step 3: Adding Depth and Shading

“The secret to painting is to not be afraid to make a mistake.” – Fruity Dots

Now it’s time to add depth and bring your artwork to life. Create new layers and use various brushes to add shading, highlights, and textures. Think about the light source and how it interacts with different elements of your painting.

Shading adds volume and three-dimensionality to your artwork, creating the illusion of form. By understanding the principles of light and shadow, you can breathe life into your digital paintings. Consider the direction and intensity of the light source, as well as the materials and surfaces you’re depicting.

Tips for Adding Depth and Shading:

  • Study real-life objects and observe how light interacts with different surfaces.
  • Experiment with different brush sizes, opacities, and blending modes to achieve realistic shading.
  • Pay attention to cast shadows, reflected light, and highlights.
  • Use a variety of brush strokes and textures to add visual interest.

Adding depth and shading is a crucial step in digital painting. It adds dimension to your artwork and creates a sense of realism. Take your time to carefully observe how light behaves and apply the principles of shading to enhance the overall impact of your painting.

Step 4: Refining Details

With the basic structure and shading in place, it’s time to focus on refining the details. Create new layers and work on individual elements, such as facial features, textures, or intricate patterns. Pay attention to small details that add personality to your artwork.

Refining details involves adding more intricate elements and enhancing the overall visual appeal of your painting. This step allows you to add finer textures, precise lines, and intricate patterns that bring your artwork to life. Focus on capturing the essence and characteristics of your subject.

Tips for Refining Details:

  • Zoom in and work on smaller sections of your artwork for better precision.
  • Utilize a range of brushes suited for different textures and details.
  • Consider the focal point of your artwork and allocate more attention to that area.
  • Experiment with different techniques, such as cross-hatching or stippling, to add depth and texture.

Refining details is where your artwork starts to truly shine. Take your time to add intricate textures, fine lines, and meticulous details that captivate the viewer’s attention. Remember, it’s the small details that often make a big difference.

Step 5: Blending and Smoothing

For a polished and cohesive look, spend some time blending and smoothing out your brushstrokes. Krita offers various blending modes and tools to help you achieve a seamless transition between colors and textures. Experiment with different techniques to find the one that suitsyour style.

Tips for Blending and Smoothing:

  • Use the blending brush or the smudge tool to softly blend colors together.
  • Experiment with different blending modes to achieve the desired effect.
  • Use gentle, sweeping strokes to blend colors and create smooth transitions.
  • Pay attention to areas where colors meet, such as edges or overlapping objects.

Blending and smoothing help create a cohesive and realistic look in your digital paintings. It allows you to soften harsh edges, merge colors seamlessly, and achieve smooth textures. Take the time to refine your brushstrokes and blend colors until you’re satisfied with the result.

Step 6: Adding Final Touches

“Art is not freedom from discipline, but disciplined freedom.” – John F. Kennedy

As you near the completion of your digital painting, take a step back and evaluate your artwork. Identify areas that need refinement or additional elements that can enhance the overall composition. Add those final touches, such as highlights, glows, or fine details, to make your painting truly shine.

Adding final touches involves the finishing touches that elevate your artwork to the next level. These touches can be subtle or bold, depending on your artistic intention. Consider the focal point of your painting and accentuate it with carefully placed highlights and details. Experiment with lighting effects or atmospheric elements to create depth and mood.

Tips for Adding Final Touches:

  • Use a small brush size to add precise highlights and details.
  • Consider the overall color balance and adjust as needed.
  • Add atmospheric effects, such as mist, fog, or reflections, to enhance the ambiance.
  • Use textured brushes or overlays to add interest and depth to your artwork.

Adding final touches is your opportunity to truly showcase your artistic vision. It’s the stage where you can add those little details that make your artwork stand out. Take your time to carefully evaluate your painting and make intentional decisions that enhance its overall impact.

Step 7: Exporting and Sharing Your Masterpiece

Once you’re satisfied with your digital painting, it’s time to share it with the world! Krita allows you to export your artwork in various formats, such as JPEG, PNG, or PSD. Choose the format that best suits your needs and share your masterpiece on social media, art platforms, or even print it out for display.

Exporting and sharing your artwork allows you to showcase your talent and receive feedback from the art community. It’s a rewarding experience to see your hard work appreciated and admired by others. Consider adding a watermark or your signature to protect your work and establish your artistic identity.

Tips for Exporting and Sharing:

  • Choose an appropriate file format that preserves the quality of your artwork.
  • Consider resizing or optimizing your image for different platforms or printing purposes.
  • Share your artwork on social media platforms, art communities, or your personal website.
  • Engage with the art community by participating in discussions, receiving feedback, and supporting other artists.

Exporting and sharing your masterpiece is the final step in your digital painting journey. It allows you to connect with fellow artists, gain exposure, and inspire others with your talent. Be proud of your work and continue to grow as an artist.

Complete Guide: How to Paint Digitally with Krita

Section Subsection
Introduction What is Digital Painting?
Why Choose Krita?
1. Setting Up Your Canvas
Choosing the Canvas Size and Resolution
Exploring Color Modes
2. Exploring Krita’s Tools and Brushes
Brush Presets
Customizing Brushes with the Brush Editor
Utilizing Brush Dynamics
Mastering Smoothing Techniques
Getting Creative with Selection Tools
Understanding the Power of Layers
Step-by-Step Tutorial Step 1: Sketching Your Idea
Tips for Capturing the Essence of Your Subject
Exploring Different Sketching Techniques
Using References to Enhance Accuracy
Refining Your Sketch for a Strong Composition
Step 2: Blocking in Colors
Choosing a Color Palette
Establishing the Base Tones
Creating Harmonious Color Relationships
Step 3: Adding Depth and Shading
Understanding Light and Shadow
Creating Natural-looking Shadows
Conveying Realistic Lighting Conditions
Step 4: Refining Details
Adding Intricate Textures and Patterns
Enhancing Facial Features and Expressions
Creating Realistic Textures
Step 5: Blending and Smoothing
Mastering Blending Techniques
Achieving Smooth Transitions
Creating Atmospheric Effects
Step 6: Adding Final Touches
Emphasizing Highlights and Details
Creating Visual Interest with Textures
Enhancing the Overall Mood and Atmosphere
Step 7: Exporting and Sharing Your Masterpiece
Choosing the Right File Format
Optimizing Your Artwork for Digital Platforms
Showcasing Your Artwork Online

How to Paint Digitally with Krita – FAQ

1. Can I use Krita on my Mac computer?

“Yes, absolutely! Krita is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems, allowing artists across different platforms to enjoy its powerful features and create digital art.”

2. I’m new to digital painting. Where should I start with Krita?

“Don’t worry, Krita has you covered! Start with the basics, such as setting up your canvas and exploring the brush presets. There are also plenty of tutorials and resources available online to help you kickstart your digital painting journey.”

3. Can I import custom brushes into Krita?

“Definitely! Krita allows you to import and use custom brush packs created by other artists. These packs offer a wide range of brushes with different textures and effects, expanding your creative options.”

4. How can I undo or redo actions in Krita?

“Krita provides easy-to-use undo and redo buttons in the toolbar, allowing you to quickly correct any mistakes or changes you’re not happy with. You can also use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Z to undo and Ctrl+Shift+Z to redo.”

5. Does Krita support graphic tablets?

“Yes, Krita is fully compatible with graphic tablets, making it an excellent choice for digital artists. Whether you prefer a Wacom tablet or any other brand, Krita provides a seamless experience and pressure sensitivity for precise drawing and painting.”

6. Can I collaborate with other artists using Krita?

“While Krita doesn’t have built-in collaboration features, you can still work on the same file with other artists by sharing the KRA format and using cloud storage or file-sharing platforms. This allows you to exchange ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate on projects.”

7. Is Krita only for professional artists?

“Absolutely not! Krita is suitable for artists of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals. Its user-friendly interface and extensive features make it accessible and enjoyable for anyone interested in digital painting. So don’t hesitate to unleash your creativity, regardless of your experience!”

8. Can I animate in Krita?

“Yes, one of Krita’s standout features is its animation capabilities. You can create frame-by-frame animations, use onion skinning for better control, and even preview your animations in real-time. It’s a great tool for both illustrators and animators.”

9. Does Krita have any community or support options?

“Definitely! Krita has an active and supportive community of artists and developers. You can join forums, participate in discussions, and even contribute to the development of the software. There are also tutorials, documentation, and resources available on the official Krita website.”

10. Can I use Krita for photo editing?

“Though Krita is primarily designed for digital painting, it offers some powerful photo editing tools as well. You can adjust colors, apply filters and effects, and enhance your photos to a certain extent. However, for more advanced photo editing, dedicated software like Adobe Photoshop might be a better choice.”

11. Is Krita suitable for creating concept art?

“Absolutely! Krita’s wide range of brushes, layer management, and customization options make it an excellent tool for concept art creation. Whether you’re designing characters, environments, or props, Krita provides the versatility and flexibility you need to bring your ideas to life.”

12. Can I use Krita professionally?

“Definitely! Many professional artists, illustrators, and studios use Krita as their go-to software for digital painting. Its powerful features, open-source nature, and cost-effectiveness make it an attractive choice for professionals in the creative industry.”

13. Are there any online classes or courses for learning Krita?

“Absolutely! You can find various online classes, tutorials, and courses that specifically focus on teaching Krita. These resources cater to both beginners and advanced users, helping you master the software and enhance your digital painting skills.”

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