Looking for a program like Microsoft Paint but for the Linux desktop? Check out the aptly named ‘Drawing‘, a new GTK app that ably fills the gap.

This simple image editor for Linux desktops is made in the mould of the Microsoft Paint, meaning it isn’t trying to out-do The GIMP, pitch itself as an alternative to Photoshop, or pick up where Pinta left off.

What Drawing can’t do is almost as important as what it can do; that’s to say, it’s a simply designed app designed for simple use-cases.

Think meme making, screenshot annotations, wobbly sketched moustaches on selfies, and that sort of thing rather than complex, detailed or multi-layered masterpieces.

Drawing is a GTK Microsoft Paint app for Linux desktops

Drawing supports a number of popular image formats, including .jpg,.png and .bmp.

It lets you draw free hand on a blank canvas, or on an image you paste/open, in a colour of your choice, with a number of different brush styles to pick from.

Want to draw in lines? You can do that. Want to draw shapes? You can do that too.

Because no-one’s perfect, Drawing lets you undo changes using ctrl + z or the toolbar button. You can also use a freehand eraser to remove parts of an image or photo.

Drawing features at a glance:

  • Brush, line, shape and selection tools
  • Freehand eraser
  • Colour picker
  • Fill tool
  • On-canvas text entry
  • Crop, flip, scale and rotate selections
  • Adjust image saturation
  • Image zoom
  • Responsive interface

The best way to get an idea of what Drawing is capable of is to try it out (spoiler: It’s not a difficult app to use).

While the overall design and feature set of Drawing is (somewhat) tailored toward the GNOME Shell desktop environment, the app also boasts layouts compatible with the MATE, Cinnamon and Pantheon desktops.

Heck, its UI can even scale down to support the Librem 5 Linux phone!

Install ‘Drawing’ GTK App

We covered this app briefly before, but that release was an early “preview” and, though promising, felt a little rough around the edges.

Drawing 0.4.10 is the latest release and is more stable, more capable, and more featured than earlier builds. It’s free, open source software that you can install on Linux from Flathub, the Flatpak app store:

‘Drawing’ on Flathub

You can install Drawing on Ubuntu by adding an unofficial Drawing PPA. This provides the latest version of the app for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04 and Ubuntu 19.10: –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cartes/drawing
sudo apt install drawing

Ubuntu’s Ken VanDine maintains a Snap package of Drawing though it’s often a release or two behind the Flatpak build.

You can also find Drawing’s source code on Github.

Do share any work you create with Drawing in the comments!
Whatever happened to GNOME Paint?!

On a Microsoft Paint related note, if you really can’t live without the real deal, make sure you check out this Javascript re-implementation. It’s uncannily accurate!

Apps drawing flathub apps gnomepaint Image Editors