I first became aware of MyPaint quite some time ago, when the author appeared on the Krita mailing list. Since then, I’ve been following this application quite closely, updating and building nearly daily. Although it resembles Art Rage, MyPaint isn’t a little toy application, and I’m very impressed with it.

It really does allow sketching as if you were working on paper. When I was trying out the charcoal brushes, I suddenly noticed myself trying to smudge the lines with my thumb. Well, despite having a touchscreen on my laptop, that didn’t work!

MyPaint has the following impressive features, among others:

  • Support for OpenRaster — which makes it easy to work with MyPaint and Krita in one workflow. (If you use Krita 2.x, preferably Krita trunk.)
  • 16-bit layers for smoother painting
  • really impressive brush engine. I think it would be easy enough to make a plugin for krita that re-uses this brush engine and make krita work with all MyPaint brushes, but whether it would perform well enough is an open question.
  • Smooth, smooth, smooth! And performs really well.
  • And most importantly: an almost natural feel when painting.
  • A very active development community with
    lots of interesting stuff happening.

One disadvantage for me is that it really is designed for the situation where you have a tablet in front of you and a keyboard aside, under your secondary hand. This means that if I use my X61t in tablet mode, I cannot easily access the brush palette or the colors. This is a design feature, though, and one of the places where MyPaint differs most from Art Rage. (The other is that Art Rage is not only closed-source software, but also not as good an artists’ tool by a long chalk.).