As a child, when I started using computer (with Windows XP), my favorite application was Paint. I spent hours doodling on it. Surprisingly, children still love the paint apps. And not just children, the simple paint app comes handy in a number of situations.
You will find a bunch of applications that let you draw/paint or manipulate images. However, some of them are proprietary. While you’re a Linux user – why not focus on open source paint applications?
In this article, we are going to list some of the best open source paint applications which are worthy alternatives to proprietary painting software available on Linux.
Open Source paint & drawing applications
Note: The list is in no particular order of ranking.
- Great alternative to Paint.NET / MS Paint
- Add-on support (WebP Image support available)
- Layer Support
Pinta is an impressive open-source paint application which is perfect for drawing and basic image editing. In other words, it is a simple paint application with some fancy features.
You may consider Pinta as an alternative to MS Paint on Linux – but with layer support and more. Not just MS Paint, but it acts as a Linux replacement for Paint.NET software available for Windows. Even though Paint.NET is better – Pinta seems to be a decent alternative to it.
A couple of add-ons can be utilized to enhance the functionality, like the support for WebP images on Linux. In addition to the layer support, you can easily resize the images, add effects, make adjustments (brightness, contrast, etc.), and also adjust the quality when exporting the image.
How to install Pinta?
You should be able to easily find it in the Software Center / App Center / Package Manager. Just type in “Pinta” and get started installing it. In either case, try the Flatpak package.
Or, you can enter the following command in the terminal (Ubuntu/Debian):
sudo apt install pinta
For more information on the download packages and installation instructions, refer the official download page.
- HDR Painting
- PSD Support
- Layer Support
- Brush stabilizers
- 2D Animation
Krita is one of the most advanced open source paint applications for Linux. Of course, for this article, it helps you draw sketches and wreak havoc upon the canvas. But, in addition to that, it offers a whole lot of features.
For instance, if you have a shaky hand, it can help you stabilize the brush strokes. You also get built-in vector tools to create comic panels and other interesting things. If you are looking for a full-fledged color management support, drawing assistants, and layer management, Krita should be your preferred choice.
How to install Krita?
Similar to pinta, you should be able to find it listed in the Software Center/App Center or the package manager. It’s also available in the Flatpak repository.
Thinking to install it via terminal? Type in the following command:
sudo apt install krita
In either case, you can head down to their official download page to get the AppImage file and run it.
If you have no idea on AppImage files, check out our guide on — how to use AppImage.
3. Tux Paint
- A no-nonsense paint application for kids
I’m not kidding, Tux Paint is one of the best open-source paint applications for kids between 3-12 years of age. Of course, you do not want options when you want to just scribble. So, Tux Paint seems to be the best option in that case (even for adults!).
How to install Tux Paint?
Tuxpaint can be downloaded from the Software Center or Package manager. In either case, to install it on Ubuntu/Debian, type in the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt install tuxpaint
For more information, please head to the official site.
- Collaborative Drawing
- Built-in chat to interact with other users
- Layer support
- Record drawing sessions
Drawpile is an interesting open-source paint application where you get to collaborate with other users in real-time. To be precise, you can simultaneously draw in a single canvas. In addition to this unique feature, you have the layer support, ability to record your drawing session, and even a chat facility to interact with the users collaborating.
You can host/join a public session or start a private session with your friend which requires a code. By default, the server will be your computer. But, if you want a remote server, you can select it as well.
Do note, that you will need to sign up for a Drawpile account in order to collaborate.
How to install Drawpile?
As far as I’m aware of, you can only find it listed in the Flatpak repository.
- Easy-to-use tool for digital painters
- Layer management support
- Lots of options to tweak your brush and drawing
MyPaint is a simple yet powerful tool for digital painters. It features a lot of options to tweak in order to make the perfect digital brush stroke. I’m not much of a digital artist (but a scribbler) but I observed quite a few options to adjust the brush, the colors, and an option to add a scratchpad panel.
It also supports layer management – in case you want that. The latest stable version hasn’t been updated for a few years now, but the recent alpha build (which I tested) works just fine. If you are looking for an open source paint application on Linux – do give this a try.
How to install MyPaint?
MyPaint is available in the official repository. However, that’s the old version. If you still want to proceed, you can search for it in the Software Center or type the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt install mypaint
- A simple alternative to MS Paint on Linux
- No layer management support
If you aren’t looking for any Layer management support and just want an open source paint application to draw stuff – this is it.
KolourPaint is originally tailored for KDE desktop environments but it works flawlessly on others too.
How to install KolourPaint?
You can install KolourPaint right from the Software Center or via the terminal using the following command:
sudo apt install kolourpaint4
In either case, you can utilize Flathub as well.
- Edit BMP files
- Use pencil tool for free-hand drawing
- Essential tools for basic editing
Even though we’ve already covered Drawing app separately, it is indeed one of the finest paint applications that can also be an alternative to MS Paint on Linux.
You get filter support to add blur, transparency and similar effects to the file. Not just limited to some of the essential tools it provides for editing, you can also start drawing from scratch using the pencil tool offered.
How to install Drawing app?
You can either utilize the PPA available or the Flatpak package to get the latest version on your Linux distro.
If you’re using a Debian-based distro, type in the following commands to install it via the PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cartes/drawing sudo apt update sudo apt install drawing
In either case, if you prefer Flatpak and know how to use Flatpak on Linux, you might as well go for it.
You can also explore other native packages available from its official website if you do not prefer using the PPA or the Flatpak package.
If you are wondering about applications like GIMP/Inkscape, we have those listed in another separate article on the best Linux Tools for digital artists. If you’re curious about more options, I recommend you to check that out.
Here, we try to compile a list of best open source paint applications available for Linux. If you think we missed something, feel free to tell us about it in the comments section below!