How to Draw on the Computer
Level of difficulty:
With the advent of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) not only in Operating System platforms but also in majority of software programs, the use and creation of images and drawn objects has become more popular and an important element in every computer system. Drawings can actually be used for a wide array of implementations like icons, toolbar buttons, folder representations, and avatars among others which are only basically distinguished by the image format used to save them. There are numerous drawing programs (both commercial and free) that can be downloaded from different host servers on the Internet with varying degrees of technical expertise required. For the purpose of this guide, the freeware MS Paint application, a bundled component of the Microsoft Windows Operating System environment, will be used as a reference.
- drawing software
- Internet connection
- Web browser
Prior to starting any drawing project, the user must have a clear picture of the final output image. This can be done by sketching (or doodling) on any blank sheet of paper.
Launch the MS Paint program by clicking on the 'Start' button and choosing the 'Accessories' category under the 'All Programs' option. Click on the Paint program icon to execute the application.
When the program first launches, a blank untitled white screen is displayed to the user. The drawing tools are displayed on the left side while the color palette is located just below the canvass (white screen). These toolbars will be used throughout the completion of the drawing process. Prior to making any changes, save the untitled canvass by clicking on the 'File' menu and selecting the 'Save' option. Make sure to provide a unique file name.
Based on the sketch on Step 1, click on the 'Pencil' icon in the Drawing Toolbar at the left-hand portion of the canvass. This will allow the user to draw by freehand with lines being displayed at every location that the mouse passes over. Remember that releasing the left-button of the mouse will stop the drawing of lines.
The use of the pencil method may require some practice time especially for the novice user. Its tracing motion however may be necessary to accomplish more complex drawing curves. For more defined shapes, the user can click on the 'Rectangular' or 'Circle' buttons in the Drawing Toolbar. Other options like the Airbrush and Bucket Fill allow the use of more tools to accomplish the final figure.
The user can vary the colors for each tool by clicking on the preferred shade in the Color Palette Toolbar. At the left side of this toolbar, there are two squares displayed. The first represents the foreground color while the second is for the background. Click on the corresponding square and color accordingly to implement them on the drawing canvass.
Any lines, colors, or shapes can be altered or removed from the canvass by clicking on the 'Eraser' button at the Drawing Toolbar. Press and hold the left-button of the mouse pointer to delete any contents found along the mouse path.
Once the image on the drawing canvass is satisfactory, click on the 'File' menu and select the 'Save' option. The file normally will use the BMP (bitmap) image file format to store the application. The image can now be printed on paper or used as part of a Web page design or any other application that serves the user’s purpose.
By opening the Web browser and going to the http://www.gimp.org (Gimp), http://sketchup.google.com (Sketchup), or http://www.inkscape.org (InkScape) websites, additional drawing tools can be downloaded and installed to improve the finished drawing.