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Krita Free Painting App Tutorial by TysonTan Krita Free Painting App Tutorial by TysonTan

Updates
2014-07-25: Source file has been made available. Please feel free to translate this tutorial into your native language!
2014-07-23: Shortcut chapter update, Typography improvement.

As requested, I'm sharing my Krita experience here as a
comprehensive, 24 pages tutorial. This tutorial shows how I created a
new picture of Kiki (the mascot) for Krita 2.9 startup splash, covering
many Krita related know-how such as:

  • Brushes of choice
  • Customizations
  • Layers
  • Ruler assisted drawing
  • Transformation
  • Mask
  • My 2 drawing strategies
  • and more!

I hope this tutorial helps. Good luck and happy drawing with Krita!

High resolution versions:

Links

Add a Comment:
 
:iconutao:
TysonTan has been holding the flag of Krita since years, and looking at his latest pictures done with this free drawing software, no one can doubt it is possible to do professional-looking art without Photoshop or SAI that can cost hundreds if not a thousand dollars. Tysontan here shows us the tricks and tips of Krita, and since I recently decided to give it a try, I'm more than happy to see all the most important aspects covered in this beautifully written tutorial. Of course it is always a pain in the rear to start working with a new program which can maybe do the same things as the one you used before, but the shortcuts, icons are different, the tools can be differently named, etc. In this tutorial you can find how-to instructions on using the basic tools like selecting, color picks, layers and their properties, coloring tips and more. And who else could you give a better insight than an artist who's been obviously using it with professionalism for years?

So, all the fellow artists who don't want to spend hundreds on good graphic software but need something more than Microsoft Paint, dig through this tutorial and check out the links! And show love and support! Donations are welcome by the team ^^
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:iconowllover132:
owllover132 Featured By Owner 11 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I just got the program a few minutes ago. can't you name the layers? This did kind of help. I'm still lost on where the undo button is...
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner 9 hours ago  Professional Digital Artist
Double click on the layer name to rename. Don't move your mouse outside of the layer docker while editing. This is a known bug that cancels editing unexpectedly.

There is no undo button by default. You can use Ctrl+Z to undo and Ctrl+Shift+Z to redo. You can add undo/redo buttons to toolbars by right-click > Configure toolbar.
Reply
:iconowllover132:
owllover132 Featured By Owner 44 minutes ago  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks.
Reply
:iconsnufkln:
snufkln Featured By Owner May 15, 2015
I am really having trouble creating transparent backgrounds
is there like a step by step thing you can show me please? 
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You just draw your stuff on a higher layer and hide the lower layer.
Reply
:iconsnufkln:
snufkln Featured By Owner May 19, 2015
AHH thank-you very much  
Reply
:iconnocara:
nocara Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015
Amazing as always,  great Tyson ^^ Latelly I have been strugling to lear how to use krita and here there are some basic concepts i had not clear
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you and good luck!
Reply
:iconpetrexkgb:
petrexkgb Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Krita is awesome. I like the brush feel even more than in Photoshop CS6, which is saying quite something!!
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Krita is really good at mimicking real media, but PS still has its edge when doing image processing.
Reply
:iconpetrexkgb:
petrexkgb Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, no doubt about that. But there's a lot more than meets the eye with this tool. Quite positively surprised with it!
Reply
:iconnovax31:
novax31 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015   Artist
How do you post your pictures?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You export it as .png or .jpg from the file menu.
Reply
:icon777edgar351547:
777Edgar351547 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I need help, I cant see Reference Images. i dont know what to do.
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I never used Reference docker, sorry about that!
Reply
:iconligax:
Ligax Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Student Filmographer
what size canvas do u usually start with when your sketching and when ur painting do the size change?
also what resolution is good to use with this program
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I draw on A4 300dpi size most often. I think 1366x768 is the minimum but you need to hide a lot of dockers under such low resolution. I would suggest at least 1680x1050 and 1920x1080.
Reply
:iconmasterslacker:
masterslacker Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for this!! I have just recently picked up Krita and this was extremely helpful. I also love your Kiki art! 
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm glad it helps!
Reply
:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you for this tutorial!

I just wish Krita would let me save files other than .kra, it sucks to printscreen my pictures. D:
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You can go Menu-File-Export, change the filetype or filename extension to JPG PNG or whatever you want as long as Krita supports it.
Reply
:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Student General Artist
But as I said, then "could not save xx." pops up
Reply
:iconpetrexkgb:
petrexkgb Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
To me it happened because I was trying to save with an area selected. After deselecting there was no problem xD
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It never happened to me. I even went back to test this on Windows.

Did you created a 16-bit or CMYK document? JPG and PNG only support 8-bit RGB color space by their specifications. If you did use 16-bit or CMYK, make sure to use Menu-Image-Convert Image Color Space to convert it back to RGB 8-bit before you export to any portable format.
Reply
:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Student General Artist
But it also asks for some sort of... I have no idea what to choose, but it says something about sRGB? What are proper settings that should for sure work?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
CMYK and 16 brings more problem than they can benefit you. You should always use sRGB / RGB / 8-bit in almost all cases unless required by your client. I suggest you create new document with those settings from now on. This is not just for Krita. Other apps either don't support anything else or just don't bother to warn you about it.
Reply
:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you :)
Other apps never ever showed such message to me, I guess their default settings were correct already. I'll keep it in mind from now on!
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome. But if you understand my last comment correctly, it wasn't because other apps has "correct default settings". They just convert colorspace automatically, so they do not give you warnings. Krita does not do that, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Color management is very complicated. Doing everything automatically sometimes break things without the user noticing them.

FYI: Krita's default document setting is actually RGB / sRGB / 8-bit (which is "correct"). Krita will remember the last settings you used, so you must have changed it before so things "went wrong" after that.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconthe-universe-of-nya:
The-Universe-of-Nya Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I wanted to ask a couple things. How do you fill a specific shape with a gradient? Also, how do you create stars, like what brush should I use?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You can either use selection tool beforehand to limit how much the gradient tool affects; or you can use the gradient tool on a separate layer, then use eraser or transparency mask to trim tje edge.

As for using what brush for what, this depends on so many things. There is no set answer. I suggest you do some experiment yourself.
Reply
:iconleons0856:
leons0856 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015   Filmographer
totally awesome tutorial bro
 
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconmr-dewiitt:
MR-DEWiiTT Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Do you know where I could download Krita?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Krita has an official website: krita.org/
The current version is 2.8

Krita 2.9 beta 2 has been out for testing. It has more bugs but much more powerful than 2.8.
It can be found here: krita.org/item/krita-2-9-beta-…
Reply
:iconmr-dewiitt:
MR-DEWiiTT Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Thank you! ^.^
Reply
:iconaidenpostnikoff:
aidenpostnikoff Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015
awesome but im bad at drawing so im going to stick with paint.NET
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I personally don't think Paint.NET can take you very far. If you are really into drawing and has a graphics tablet, I suggest you try MyPaint instead because it's simple and lightweight, while still very capable. Krita has powerful stablizer to aid shaky hand, too.
Reply
:iconaidenpostnikoff:
aidenpostnikoff Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015
ok then but I will still use paint.NET
Reply
:icontiffashy:
TIFFASHY Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ooohh this is beautifully done~ ;u;
I got some questions for this. When I open up two files, I select a colour from the reference sheet and when I go to the other page the colour won't be on my eyedropper. How do I select the colour from another picture and take it to the picture I want to place it onto?
Is  Ink_Brush_25 ideal for outlining?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You just open the reference sheet, use selection tool to select the color schemes, copy and paste it into the picture you are working on.

You use any brush for whatever purpose if you see fit. Whether a brush should be used for outlining depends on how you want the outline to be and how well you can control it. Ink_Brush_25 is a somewhat fuzzy brush. It does not blend, and has a fuzzy edge. I expect the result to be "digital" but not very clean and definitive. I would use that for sketching, not actual outlining.

If you want a digital, detailed, and clean result, I recommend you to use Ink_circle series and Ink_gpen series for outlining.
If you want a more "natural" feeling, Ink_ballpen has some noise around the edge to make it look natural.
If you want to paint like oil or water color, Basic_tip series is the way to go.

Good luck! :)
Reply
:iconaedelline:
AEdelline Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Krita is an amazing program! My favourite thing about it is mirror drawing, because it works amazing for all kind of art that needs to be symmetrical, although not everyone knows about this feature. Too bad because both Sai and Photoshop lacks those...
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I use Mirror View very often, but not Mirror Drawing. I hope only day I can use Mirror drawing Multi-brish for practical purpose as well. They look fun.
Reply
:iconaedelline:
AEdelline Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I use it to draw textures and patterns for my art. Or some cool details that needs to be symmertical :)
Reply
:iconthe-universe-of-nya:
The-Universe-of-Nya Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Krita will not let me preview my art on deviant and it's below 1200x1200 pixels and it is in jpeg format.
Also krita will not let me convert it into a png either.
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It never happened to me. Can you tell me how you export and what Krita says when it refuses to convert a document into PNG?

Or you may want to try the new Krita 2.9beta2 to see if it solved the issue:
krita.org/item/krita-2-9-beta-…
Reply
:iconthe-universe-of-nya:
The-Universe-of-Nya Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
File> Export> PNG
it says: it cannot export image in this colorspace or channel depth to PNG.

If I download a newer version, will my images from the older save there, be deleted or will have to convert them? And is that version free?
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You must have been using a colorspace other than RGB 8 bits. I guess you were either using CMYK or RGB 16 bits. PNG does not support those color space.

When creating a new document, set the "color" section of the dialogue as:
* Model (RGB)
* Depth (8 Bits)
* Profile (sRGB built-in)

For existing documents, use:
Menu > Image > Convert Image Color Space
And set the options the same as above.

You will have no difficulty exporting pictures to PNG after that.

Krita will remain free forever. Your old pictures will not be affected.

Good luck!
Reply
:iconthe-universe-of-nya:
The-Universe-of-Nya Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
People have always told me CMYK was a good colour usage because it's the original colours. Guess it only works traditionally. Thank you!
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Color management is an extremely complicated subject. A quick suggestion: Use sRGB 8 bit for everything unless you are dealing with photos.

sRGB is the modern display standard. Almost every screen today is designed according to sRGB. Although it hosts the smallest range of colors, it is actually wide enough for digital painting. So if a picture looks great under sRGB, it would probably look great on anything. Because we painters use relative color to give proper contrast and impression, we don't really need bit-exact color precision.

In contrast, CMYK/AdobeRGB has much wider color range than most of the display devices. On a standard display, pictures with wide color space often suffer noticeable color distortion. They don't promise color fidelity in printing circumstances, either. What you really need is proper color calibration for your devices and thorough color proofing for your pictures across every device. Those tasks are not cost-effective for independent artists.

I have been doing color management on my workflow for many years. My experience tells me that unless you have proper equipment and knowledge, you would be better off to do no CMS at all. When CMS goes wrong it can go way off and you don't even notice yourself!

So stay simple, use sRGB 8bits! sRGB 16bits is also a great choice. Higher bits means less color banding when you are blending colors. Remember to convert back to 8 bits when saving for web, though!
Reply
:icontysontan:
TysonTan Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It's not because of Krita "won't let you" preview your art on DA. It is DA not being able to decode your native Krita document.

Krita saves its native
documents as .kra files, just like Adobe Photoshop saves its native
documents as .psd files. Native formats provides better save performance
as well as preserving layer information. As each application has its
own unique native document format, most being closed and proprietary, other applications normally do not support them.

Instead, websites
respect a different set of open, portable format, you can only use
jpg/png/gif in most cases.
To save a file as JPG/PNG, use Menu > File > Export... and make sure the document type and extension of your filename is PNG or JPG.
Reply
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