Tux Paint

This simple free open source graphics program provides younger learners a creative outlet. Tux Paint works great as a drawing tool for preschool and elementary grade children who want to explore their artistic creativity on the computer. Tux Paint gets the “Tux” part of the title from the Linux free open source operating system mascot, Tux the penguin.

This software is for children of all ages. Even the smallest can enjoy the stamps and paint tools. The interface uses large buttons and is easy to navigate using the mouse. Tux Paint doesn’t require reading to understand how to use it.

This is a fun painting program. It’s designed with large buttons, meaningful icons, a huge supply of cute stamps, and fun tools such as rainbow paint and sparkles. The sound effects are playful. Each time a tool is clicked, a sound accompanies it. Tux Paint even allows the user to save work. The program can be exited and the artwork comes up on the screen when you start again.

Tux Paint is customizable. Stamps of gemstones can be added to design jewelry. Stamps of clothes and a doll body can be added to play virtual paper dolls. Stamps to teach rocks and minerals or many other things can be used.

Tux Paint examples

Upon starting the program, several libraries of pre-defined “stamps” show up.

The initial screen provides a simple set of objects used to create and save drawings. Tux Paint opens with an empty drawing area. Click a tool on the right -- Paint, Stamp, Lines, Shapes, Text, Magic, etc. -- and the Tools on the left of the screen change automatically. Choose the size of the paint brush, or choose the stamp and choose an arrow to increase or decrease the size of the stamp.

Drawings can be made using freehand or straight lines and a variety of common shapes. Sections can be filled with any color from color tabs at the bottom of the screen that look like color wells in a child’s set of paints.

Additional artwork can be added using a library of stamp images, each can be resized before being placed on the screen.

Finished artwork is saved automatically without any typing required. A user simply has to click on the “save” button and its done. When a saved picture needs to be reopened, click on the “open” button and select the thumbnail image of the artwork.

Sound effects accompany all the drawing elements as they are used, increasing the engagement of the creative learner.

Tux Paint is a wonderful example of free open source software geared toward younger computer users.