How to Draw a Square or Circle in The Gimp

Squares, rectangles and circles are very useful tools when making quick fixes in drawings. The Gimp is a wonderful photo editing and drawing program, however, making shapes such as squares, rectangles or circles is not intuitive, specially for people that are used to programs like Microsoft Paint, where the square icon draws exactly that, a square. With The Gimp drawing a square or circle is very easy, however, it involves an extra step and that is exactly what gets people confused. In this tutorial I will teach you how to draw some geometrical shapes using the gimp. I will describe the technique using a rectangle, however, the same steps apply for circles.


Choosing Your Shape

When you open The Gimp you will notice that it is divided into three different windows. The farthest window to the left is usually the toolbox (though it can appear in a different position depending on how you closed the program). If you are missing this toolbox, click on “Window” and “Toolbox” to make it appear. The first icon on the top left of the toolbox is the “Rectangle Select Tool“, the second is the “Ellipse Select Tool“; We are going to use these tools to draw squares and circles respectively.

For this example we are going to draw a square using the “Rectangle Select Tool“, To draw the circle the instructions are exactly the same except that you need to draw it using the “Elipse Select Tool.

Drawing the Shape’s Border or “Stroke”

On the main Gimp window, click on “File” and “New“. If needed, in the next window, choose the “Height” and “Width” of your page and click “Ok” to start working on a new page.

To create a square, click on the “Rectangle Select Tool” and click and drag on an area of your new page. This will start creating a rectangle; to turn this rectangle into a perfect square click on the “Shift” key and keep it pressed. Keep dragging the mouse until the square reaches the desired size.

Now we have a square selected on the screen. To transform this selection into an actual square, click on “Edit” and “Stroke Selection“.

Next the Stroke Selection window will pop up. Adjust the “Line Width” to whatever you prefer and click on the “Stroke” button.

This will give you a blank square with a black border.

Giving Color to Our Shape

First we need to know the “Foreground” and “Background” Colors. To know which colors are currently selected for foregroud and background, refer to the toolbox. At the bottom of this toolbox you will see two squares overlaping each other. The one in front is logically the foreground color and the one on the back, the background color. To change these colors just click on either one of them.

After we have selected a color for either the foreground or the background, we are going to fill our shape with either one of those colors. To do this click on “edit” on The Gimp’s main window and you will see two options named “Fill with FG Color” and “Fill with BG Color“. FG means Foreground and BG Backgound. Pick either one of them. For our example we are going to pick the background color.

Then you will see the final outcome.

Final Thoughts

Gimp is a wonderful program that many people consider hard to use. However, I will venture to say that it is simply because they are not used to it, they are used to programs like Photoshop, or the simple Microsoft Paint and change can prove difficult for some. Gimp is a very powerful tool and it is definitely not hard, it just takes some getting use to.

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