How to Draw Using a Paint Program


Drawing pictures on your computer with a paint program is an easily learned and fun activity. It eliminates the need for art materials and messy cleanups. Professional artists use the programs to draw complex graphics and create fine art to be printed onto paper. Children and beginners use paint programs to learn the basics of composition and drawing skills. There are many different paint programs available for drawing. Microsoft Paint usually comes loaded onto Windows equipped computers and is a basic program for learning digital drawing. More serious artists can purchase full featured paint programs such as Corel Photopaint, Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. These programs use a wide variety of drawing tools and effects.

Things You'll Need

  • Graphic tablet
  • Digital pen
  • Choose the paint program you want to work with and start it up. Most programs use similar tools and formats. Familiarize yourself with the tools by rolling over their icons with your mouse and reading the information. Pull down all the menus from the menu bar to see your options. Read through the help topics provided with your program and run through some tutorials before you begin drawing. Study the manual to learn more advanced digital drawing techniques.

  • Click on the file menu and select New to bring up a blank drawing area. Select the height and width of your drawing. Use a small size to make small prints or for sending drawings by email. Choose a large size to print finely detailed pictures over 8 by 10 inches. Select a higher resolution setting for larger drawings.

  • Click on the icons to pick from the selection of drawing tools. Use a pen or pencil tool to create a finely detailed linear drawing. Cross hatch your thin lines for shading your forms. Select a brush tool for wider lines. Draw with a crayon or pastel tool for different textural effects. Use spray paint or airbrush tools to provide shadows and a three-dimensional look. Draw by dragging your mouse on a mouse pad, or use a digital pen with a graphics tablet for a more controlled technique.

  • Mimic traditional approaches to drawing using black and white lines. Try to imitate the look of woodcuts, etchings and regular pencil drawings. Experiment with different colors in your drawing. Try adjusting the transparency levels of the colors. Draw layers of lines and colors to optically mix them on the computer screen. Bring up the mixing palette and add colors together to create new hues and combinations of colors. Keep in mind the rules of composition as you draw. Keep your designs simple and to the point.

  • Combine different techniques and tools in your drawing to add visual interest. Use the line tools to draw perfectly straight lines. Compose with the shape tools by drawing triangles, circles and squares. Overlap and intersect them to create abstract drawings. Use the color fill tool to add hues to your shapes or in the spaces between them. Make use of the eraser tool when you make a mistake. Paint over larger areas with white if you don't like them. Be creative and let the tools lead you into experimenting with lines, shapes and colors. Print out and frame your best drawings or use them as backgrounds on your computer screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice drawing on the computer often to develop and refine your style.
  • Don't overwork the drawing by introducing too many elements and making it too busy.

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  • Photo Credit computer graphic image by peter Hires Images from
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