Learning GIMP can be intimidating at first. The interface is so different compared to Photoshop and other similar programs.
But with the right tutorials you can pick up GIMP in no time. That’s why I compiled this list with over 40 free GIMP tutorials on drawing & digital painting.
If you’re an artist looking for free art software then GIMP is a great way to start. You may struggle at first but if you stick with it you can design some beautiful work on any OS with this program.
1. Configure Wacom Tablet w/ GIMP
Let’s start with an obvious first step: getting GIMP working with your tablet.
This video covers all the basics of configuring and customizing your Wacom to work with GIMP. Really this should be the very first step you take before ever trying to paint in GIMP.
It can be tricky because this process isn’t as easy as connecting to Photoshop. But I recommend this vid for getting started if you’re having trouble.
2. GIMP Pressure Sensitivity
One related video is this one on pressure sensitivity.
It’s a very short tutorial but it’ll help you set up how much sensitivity you want through your tablet. It may vary based on your tablet resolution but most pressure sensitivity works the same.
And this way you can find the perfect config to capture your pen strokes.
3. Complete Introduction to GIMP
Finally we come to this massive intro tutorial for all GIMP users. I highly recommend checking out this 50-minute intro to GIMP.
It covers practically everything you would want to know about the interface, the tools, and how GIMP works. This will prove especially useful to anyone who’s never done any digital painting before.
And at 50+ minutes long you know this is one comprehensive guide.
4. Introduction to Layers
When you do a lot of digital painting you always want to use layers.
If you’ve never done this before in GIMP check out this vid covering the basics. You’ll learn how layers work from a general standpoint, not just for art, which is valuable no matter how you plan to use GIMP.
5. Custom Brushes
Also if you’re gonna use GIMP for artwork then you’ll be doing a lot with brushes.
Have a look at this setup guide on how to import, test, and switch custom brushes from the brush panel.
These should work much like Photoshop but GIMP brushes can behave a little differently. Also the GUI is very different so learning the interface will take some time.
6. How To Use GIMP (Beginners Guide)
The TechGumbo YouTube channel has some incredible tutorials like this beginner guide to GIMP for painting.
It totals about 15 minutes with plenty of details on the interface, painting techniques, and how to pick up GIMP from scratch.
Great for anyone regardless of their artistic skill level so I recommend giving this a quick watch.
7. Digital Painting – A Carrot
If you want a more specific painting tutorial then here ya go!
The software is meant to be a general design/editing program so there’s a lot of tools that won’t interest artists. But it does have so many features that you need to learn as you go.
This video is sure to get you started on the right foot.
9. Line Art Tutorial
It’s common for artists to create sketches or basic drawings, then clean them up with line work.
If you want to do line art with GIMP then this tutorial is sure to please. It’s a quick one but it’s also narrated so it offers a valuable guide for beginners.
10. How To Use Gimp Like An Artist
Really, this is one of the best GIMP tuts you’ll find online.
You can use this program for photo editing, icon design, and plenty of other things. But if you want to use GIMP for artwork then you’ll really enjoy this introductory video.
It spans about 20 minutes with guided tips & techniques for anyone just learning the GIMP software.
11. Woman And Dragon Painting
Here’s a really fun painting demo using GIMP to create a woman and a dragon scene.
Painting your own creatures can be really fun, but it requires an understanding of the software first. This tutorial can help you get there.
However it’s not fully narrated and it can move fast so it helps if you already know your way around basic painting before you start.
12. Landscape Painting
If you want to get into painting environments then check out this awesome video covering a landscape painting in GIMP.
This totals about 30 minutes of instruction with plenty of custom brushes and techniques for artists to follow.
13. Paint Manga in Gimp
It takes a lot of work to learn manga as a design style. But once you understand the style you may want to start working on it digitally.
That’s where this 30-minute tutorial can help. You’ll learn how to design your own mangas from scratch using GIMP as the painting software.
Probably the absolute best tutorial for beginners just getting into digital art.
14. Inking and Lineart
Digital inking is a huge part of designing comics so it’s a staple of digital art.
Have a look at this lineart tutorial covering all the fundamentals of ink & line work in GIMP. It is pretty quick but it also covers a lot of detail with a focus on the anime art style.
15. How to Clean up Scanned Pencil Sketch
Many artists prefer to work traditionally first, then import those sketches into a digital design program.
If you aren’t sure how this all works check out this video covering the process of cleaning up pencil sketches with GIMP. You can scan in your work and get it looking spiffy with 30-60 minutes of work following this tutorial.
16. Gimp Coloring Tutorial
Once you go beyond the cleanup phase you’ll want to start adding color into your work.
This is a great intro guide for beginners who have never used the GIMP color panel before.
It can be tricky at first but, like all things, practice makes perfect.
17. How to Color using Gimp
I also really like this color guide which spans 7 minutes and offers a very quick intro for beginners.
All of these videos target beginners and they’re all fantastic.
But this color guide may take the cake for its easy instructional guidelines that any artist should be able to follow.
It moves fast and doesn’t wait for you to catch up. However there are screen overlay directions for each step, so if you’re new to GIMP this can be an educational watch.
Just make sure you pause the video when you move into GIMP so you don’t miss anything.
30. Realistic Painting in GIMP
So far I’ve mostly covered basic tutorials or guided tuts for stylized artwork.
If you’re more interested in realism then check out this tutorial on painting a realistic wolf in GIMP.
The final result will never look as clean as an oil painting but it does offer an alternative where you don’t need to buy all those supplies.
31. Mareep in GIMP
Are you a huge Pokémon fan? Love creating fanart of your favorite characters?
Then you’ll adore this Mareep painting tutorial in GIMP. It’s a fast speedpaint but it spans a whopping 22 minutes showing you the entire creative process.
Whether you love or hate this gen 2 sheep it’s still a brilliant practice video for getting into painting.
And if you’re looking for more tutorials just like this have a peek at our recommendations for Pokémon that anyone can learn to draw or paint.
32. Pokémon Scene Painting
Now if you want something a little more complex check out this speedpaint video featuring Charmeleon, Bulbasaur, and Totodile.
The total time in real-world hours to complete this piece was over 5 hours so it makes sense that the artist sped it up.
It actually ran so long that they broke this into three parts! You can find parts two and three on YouTube as well if you’d like to follow along.
Just be warned this is a pretty technical painting. You should have some knowledge of digital art before trying to follow along with the artist(Karolina Twardosz) who you can also follow on Tumblr.
33. Intro to Illustrating Characters in GIMP
So you want to start illustrating and designing your own characters from scratch. How fun!
If you’d like to do this using GIMP then I’ve got a real treat in the form of this video. It totals over 8 minutes long and it’s the perfect intro to illustrating characters from scratch.
You’ll learn about pressure sensitivity and how to use many of GIMP’s drawing tools to craft clean lines regardless of your designs.
34. Painting Hair in Gimp
Hair can be one of the most frustrating things to learn to draw.
Everyone’s hair is different and it’s not always a uniform shape. Really this is one thing that can take forever to learn, but if you’re just getting into GIMP for artwork I recommend this video on painting hair.
It’s about 20 minutes long and full of step-by-step guidance to help you learn the foundations of creating believable digital hair.