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How to make excellent colour pictures with free Paint software program

Updated on September 8, 2013
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There are many instances when we write a hub but cannot find an appropriate photograph. There are several ways that one can solve that problem:

· Draw an illustration and scan it.

· Use a search engine to find sites that offer photos and illustrations for free downloads

· Use an application on your computer to create suitable illustrations.

The only method I have not used out of the three above is downloads from sites that offer free products.

When I say “use an application on your computer...” most people imagine expensive software like Illustrator, Photoshop, and coreldraw among others. Few think of PAINT.


The Star and the Squre shaped tools at the very top are for selecting sections of your drawing. After selecting, you can copy and paste or just move them around.
The Star and the Squre shaped tools at the very top are for selecting sections of your drawing. After selecting, you can copy and paste or just move them around. | Source


Paint is a simple application that comes free with your Windows. With a little practice you can create images to rival those done with expensive software, and most people will not notice the difference. After the example below, you will have no excuse to post a hub without a simple image. In any case, you can always upgrade images done in Paint, when you have better ones at a later date.

I recently posted a hub on ‘how much money do I need to live on when I retire’ and wondered what kind of picture should accompany it. At first I posted it with nothing. Then the idea came that clocks, perhaps due to their ticking our time away, can be a good illustration. Bu t I did not want any clock. I imagined a Grandfather clock with a pendulum. But since I could not think of where to find one in order to photograph it, I decided to illustrate it with paint. I did not want to search the Net and then have to deal with issues of copyright.

Below is a step by step of how I illustrated the clock using PAINT. The clock is not realistic from a scientific point of view because I had no reference, but it served my purpose.


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I used the Circle and Square tool to mark the initial outline. Then I used the rubber tool to remove unnecessary parts of the circle.


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I then put another circle within the circle, to mark the face of the clock.

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Using the Square tool, I marked a void within the main outline where the pendulum would be. Then I used the Line tool to draw the pendulum. Next I put a small circle at the tip of the pendulum as I imagined it would look like. Using the Rubber tool, I removed parts of the circle that I did not need.


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Next, I drew horizontal lines above and below the Pendulum void to indicate ribs fore special effect. Cabinet makers of antiques used to put such flourishes on their handiwork to improve aesthetics.


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Light would fall on the clock in different quantities, depending on which side it was coming from. I imagined light hitting the clock cabinet from the left. So I drew two vertical Iines, slightly curving them at the top to follow the profile of the clock a little. Since I wanted the ribs to appear recessed, I moved the line slightly to the right of each rib to create depth.

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I added one vertical line to the line so that I would create some dark tones where the light would be least.

Having demarcated all the tones, there was to be one last one – the darkest. I used ‘star’ tool on the top left of the menu to copy the left outline of the cabinet. When I ‘pasted’ the copied outline and moved it a few millimeters from the cabinet, it gave me room for the darkest area. I joined it to the cabinet at the round top and was now ready to drop in the colours.

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This is the fun part. You first click on the colour you want and then pick the bucket tool and drop the colour in the space. If all the lines are continuous, the colour will not flow where it is not required. When I first dropped the black colour – my darkest – it overflowed. I had to look for the leaking spot after pressing ‘Ctrl+Z’ to undo. See the spot outlined with a red circle.


Having sealed the hole with either the pencil tool or the line tool, I repeated the exercise and the black was contained.

I wanted to use a monochromatic colour scheme so I selected brown. Starting from the right, I started to drop – the darkest brown after the black. To get a slightly lighter brown, double click the colour on your pallette and a window will appear with the basic colours. Click the button with the words “define colours” and you will get a sliding scale that is currently at the colour already used. Slide just a notch higher for a lighter shade. Click Okay and that colour will appear in the palette in the same space as the colour you used first. Do this over and over until you are through with all the tints possible on your picture.

There is a Text tool for adding any text to your picture. That is the letter 'A' that you see on tool boox. You can choose font and size. I typed numbers 1 to 12 outside the illustration, then decided to use only 12, 3, 6 and 9. I picked one at a time and pasted on the face of the clock.


Below is the finished Grandfather Clock.


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A contrasting background of light blue gave the clock the finishing touch it desired!

Lastly, Paint gives you the advantage of saving your images in several formats. You can save as bitmap, Giff, Tiff, 256 colors, 16 color or the format wanted by Hubpages – JPEG.

Below are more pictures illustrated with Paint for some of my hubs. Paint opens fast and is easy to use.

Go on and have fun with PAINT

Illustrations for the hub: A good teacher: seven qualities
Illustrations for the hub: A good teacher: seven qualities | Source
Illustration for the hub: How to make money from Aquarium fish
Illustration for the hub: How to make money from Aquarium fish | Source
Illustration for my hub: Fish Tank: how to make your own aquarium
Illustration for my hub: Fish Tank: how to make your own aquarium

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  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    I am glad you can use my ideas Pete Wolfe. I am an ardent believer of the saying that the best things in life are free - like Paint and many other applications. It's all about the effort you put to make them work for you. At least you are familiar with other freeware and you can try to make them compliment each other. Have fun exploring all the things that Paint can do for you!

  • Pete Wolfe profile image

    Pete Wolfe 

    5 years ago from NJ

    Wow, i have been looking for something like this. I use paint.net, Gimp2, AZ paint, and i have google sketch. All free, as i am cheap and poor. I am not really artistic, but i am trying to make a icon for my webpage, as i can't seem to find what i want on the internet.

    Thank you

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Good luck Esther.

    Once you get used paint you can do good illustrations very fast when time is a constraint. You can even drop them into Photoshop for some additional tricks. But if you have more time to work, other graphics programmes have better quality.

  • Esther  Strong profile image

    Esther Strong 

    5 years ago from UK

    Many thanks for your detailed response Emmanuel. I particularly note what you say about working large and will try to adapt to this (my tendency is to work small).

    Regards, Esther

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hi Esther,

    The disadvantage of paint is that enlargements become pixelated. It is better to work large as the pictures will look better when they are reduced.

    You can determine the size of your picure by going to "image" on the menu, select "attributes" and key in something like 800 (Height) and by 800 (width). For whatever object, the larger the better. If you are using the pictures in a document such as MS word, just "insert" or copy paste and resize by pushing the corners (while holding the 'shift' key to retain proportion). Reduction will be sharp. If they are for posting to hub pages, just ensure that your large pictures do not have big margins around them and they will appear sharp - especially if they have large areas fo flat colours.

    I wish you a lot of fun with "paint."

  • Esther  Strong profile image

    Esther Strong 

    5 years ago from UK

    Hi Emmaneul - Your instructions are really clear and I'm so jealous of your end results. This is all really interesting to me as I need to improve on my pictures. In particular, do you have any tips for sizing - how large/small to make the original picture and how to re-size it so that it is sharp, rather than blurred?

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile imageAUTHOR

    Emmanuel Kariuki 

    6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Most welcome kulikoff,

    Paint is good when you want a picture QUICK and easy. But ofcourse, for the specialist who does not have time constraints, other applications offer numerus options for both realism and fantasy.

  • kulikoff profile image

    kulikoff 

    6 years ago from Moldova

    Great step by step instructions! Thanks!

working

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