Linux continues to be popular, given its open-source nature, ease of use, and various apps and packages. Add a healthy mix of digital art tools to this list and you already have a fantastic operating system to work on.
The coveted tools mentioned below promise to provide digital artists with highly functional and powerful graphic design tools.
Check out these 10 authentic tools tailored for digital artists and creatives alike.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program is top rated and is one of the top favorites among digital artists using Linux. It also acts as a versatile framework for C, C++, Python or Perl based image manipulations.
The software operates a proactive support community that has contributed numerous scripts and plugins to expand GIMP’s repertoire of graphic design features.
GIMP’s photo manipulation capabilities are comparable to even Adobe’s most popular premium alternatives on Windows.
GIMP is ideal for streamlined workflows with other open-source graphics applications such as Inkscape and Scribus. Users can even install plug-ins and extensions similar to Photoshop.
To download: GIMP
Inkscape is an end-to-end Linux tool for digital artists working on various graphics projects. It can create logos, digital sketches, clip arts and cartoons; the tool is quite useful when creating infographic elements like diagrams and flowcharts.
As a full-fledged vector graphics tool, Inkscape gives artists the freedom to create and display high-resolution images. Without the pixel rendering limitations of raster images, Inkscape can successfully create graphic content suitable for SVG, EPS, PDF, and PNG formats.
Inkscape has extensive documentation and free tutorials available from experts on the web. Rest assured, even if you’re a novice, you can still learn to create and manipulate objects, fill and iron on textured layers of color, and fill in designs with advanced formatting tools.
To download: Inkscape
Krita has impressed users across Linux, Windows, and macOS. The tool pushes the boundaries as digital illustration software with its intuitive user interface. Users can use the brush engine to create and edit custom brushes.
Krita comes out of the box with an extensive library of brushes for seamless, enveloping textures and patterns. Artists can rely on the novel Brush stabilizer function to calibrate the brush to counteract the shaking of their hand.
Customize the workflows to your liking by sliding around the dockers and panels at your leisure. To extend Krita’s features, take advantage of the docker facility so that you as a user can take advantage of Krita’s extensive community, which collects feedback for regular software releases.
To download: Krita
Tux Paint is an open-source drawing tool designed especially for pre-teen users. Tux Paint has a learning curve that is easy to understand for its target audience.
It is helpful to introduce children to digital art without confusing them with the technical complexity of graphic design tools used at a professional level.
The award-winning software, Tux Paint, is steadily being adopted by art tutorials in schools and dedicated institutions as a free digital art utility. The highly interactive application has fascinating features such as audio triggers and mascots to encourage and keep children entertained.
To download: Tux paint
Blender has been steadily impressing 2D/3D animators across platforms for quite some time now. The rich, versatile 2D/3D animation software is maintained under a GNU GPL license.
It includes an innovative workbench with tools for highly textured designs with PBR shaders and HDR lighting, advanced modeling, rigging, sculpting and CPU+GPU supported VR rendering.
Blender is widely used as a staple for 2D/3D animation for video games, live-action cartoons and XR. Its constant support from heavyweights such as AMD, Apple, Intel, and NVIDIA further make it a reliable tool for still and motion graphics designers.
To download: blender
digiKam is an open-source image editing software used for single and batch processing of image collections. His specialty lies in RAW image-oriented utilities. digiKam is widely used for on-the-fly image editing, mainly including posting to social media.
digiKam handles XMP metadata quite well. Users on open-source Linux systems can use it to build workflows, import images directly, edit/label/tag them with metadata and share them on online platforms.
The added support of digiKam for FFmpeg and QtAV libraries allows users to work with video files. The digital editing tool is commonly used by desktop-based digital artists.
To download: digiKam
As the name aptly implies, Vectr is a graphic design tool available on Linux for processing vector graphics.
Vectr uses AI-powered tools that help professionals save time on projects. It covers cross-platforms between the desktop and the web. In addition, the tool even allows scaling of images without compromising brightness.
Vectr has an easy to overcome learning curve that can turn anyone into a vector graphics expert. As an open-source Linux tool for digital artists, the software offers an unparalleled collaborative design experience.
The real-time collaboration features help with multiple usage scenarios, such as tutorials and team exercises. The added chat feature makes collaborations interactive and fun.
To download: vector
libvips is a handy image processing library that can selectively process image sequences from memory. Streaming images in small, selective areas saves memory for other processes. It supports a wide variety of numerical formats along with some of the most popular image formats.
It is widely used in streamlined workflows involving GraphicsMagick. libvips comes with over 300 image processing operations such as coloring, frequency filtering, resampling, statistics, morphological operations, arithmetic operations, and histogram operations.
libvips remains one of the few tileless, lockless, multi-threaded libraries available to image processing experts.
To download: libvips
Skencil is a lightweight vector graphic design software packed with standardized digital art tools. The user interface is reminiscent of Microsoft Paint, but is just as efficient and versatile in terms of vector design, just like Photoshop.
In addition to such boilerplate features, users can expect plugins and Python script add-ons that allow them to import unconventional file formats.
Skencil doesn’t disappoint digital artists on Linux, as the extension plugins allow importing new graphic objects for complex designs and exporting unconventional file formats.
The digital tool is often used to create designs for printing fabrics on EPS files.
To download: Skencil
KolourPaint is an excellent graphics tool for digital artists working on Linux. This digital painting software supports various geometric shapes and design tools that simplify drawing even with a mouse.
KolourPaint’s powerful effects, utilities, and coloring tools make it another versatile, open-source alternative to MS Paint.
KolourPaint offers small photo manipulation facilities and icon editing support for clipart and logos, making it a lightweight solution for professional graphic designers on Linux systems.
KolorPaint recently released its latest version, 21.12.0. The source code is updated and maintained by KDE and promoted through community support.
To download: ColorPaint
There are plenty of wonderful digital tools available to Linux users. Each of these digital tools is unique in its own way and offers a plethora of options for those looking to unleash their creative potential on a digital canvas.
If you’re striving to get your creative juices flowing, rest assured, you’ll fall in love with any of the options listed above.