MediBang Paint: A must-try for beginners in Digital Art
Let me level with you all. When I was told to use MediBang Paint Pro for the first time, I wasn’t the happiest camper. Mostly because I can be a stubborn bull about what programs I use, but in any case, I (somewhat) grumpily obliged to use it in place of Photoshop. Let me level with you all once again; I adore MediBang now as a beginner’s program, with its simplistic yet sophisticated user interface (UI) and easy to handle toolset. MediBang Paint Pro is a wonderful free program, and let me tell you what it can do.
You had me at “free”
Out of everything that MediBang Paint Pro has to offer, the fact that the program is free is definitely the biggest plus in my book. Upon opening MediBang Paint Pro, you’re greeted with a few pop-ups (that I instinctively close) and there’s immediate instructions for how to create a new file. Follow these instructions, and you’re greeted with your first canvas and a simple to understand UI.
MediBang’s easy to understand and transferable UI
I’ve been using digital programs for a while, but a big plus that I find some people fail to mention is the fact that it uses far more universal language and functions to make it simpler to transfer from one program to the next. With prior knowledge in Photoshop, I found it incredibly simple to find what I was looking for and figure out the program's limitations and advantages simply because the naming conventions and program functions were similar to Photoshop’s. This also definitely helped, considering I was tasked with creating a MediBang Paint Pro basics tutorial video, so it didn’t take me an intense amount of time to get the hang of.
Smooth and easy to handle brushes
One thing I actually think MediBang Paint handles better than Photoshop are its brushes. Not necessarily the library - Photoshop CC comes with a metric ton of fantastic brushes as defaults - but rather the smoothness. MediBang has a fantastically smooth default brush (called the Pen brush), and when its correction is turned up it becomes even smoother. It’s very satisfying to create beautiful and sharp looking strokes in MediBang Paint that can rival even some vectors, so kudos to you, MediBang.
MediBang’s comic file type
MediBang Paint Pro also has a fun file type that actually sets up a whole comic page for you as well, fit with page margins and guidelines. One of the brushes MediBang also comes default with is called the edge pen. While MediBang Paint Pro doesn’t come with a stroke/outline fx option for layers, the edge pen makes up for that, making you able to create speech bubbles and other edged objects just by writing, and you can adjust the width of the outer edge as well. While it takes a bit of playing around to get used to, it’s a fun little extra brush that works wonderfully.
Transferable file types
Another thing that MediBang does wonderfully is the large range of file types that it allows you to save to, one of them actually being Photoshop working files (.psd’s). This became an excellent revelation for me, since this meant that if push came to shove, I would be able to transfer over my work from Photoshop to MediBang (though it doesn’t work vice versa). Some free programs only have the one working file type to save to, so having MediBang be versatile in that regard is a fantastic plus.
Free programs for your phone and computer
One final plus is that the program not only has a desktop app, but has a mobile app as well, so you can take your drawing software on the go. While I opt to use the desktop version (I don’t own a phone stylus and don’t intend on investing in one; my eyes are not good enough to draw on that small screen), some of the others here at the studio use the mobile version. We’ve even made a couple videos utilizing it, such as our MediBang Paint Pro basics tutorial, our drawing anime girls from fruit video, and our step-by-step Master Sword drawing tutorial. The mobile app is somewhat more condensed than the desktop app, so while it’s slightly harder to navigate it still carries the same general functions. Don’t worry - the functions aren’t too hard to get the hang of. Allow me to tell you some of the things you’ll need to get started.
Digital tools, tools, tools (and their functions)
I learned how to use MediBang Paint Pro initially just to teach digital art classes, but then we as a studio collective found MediBang to be so fantastic that we also created a MediBang Paint Pro basics tutorial (as I mentioned earlier). MediBang itself is generally very easy to read, since a lot of the tools are fairly self-explanatory, but this is also easy for me to say considering I have a good 6-7 years of experience under my belt. So, if you’re new to the whole ‘digital art’ thing, the super hard basic tools you need to get started include:
Used to draw; there are also other types of brushes you can use in the default app, and download from the internet
Used to erase what’s been drawn or filled in
Used to move your illustrations. You can change their size and warp their shape as well by clicking Ctrl + T on your keyboard.
Used to fill in large areas with colour. Turning up the tolerance allows it to fill in closer to your lineart, and you can change whether the paint bucket references your canvas or your layer.
Used to create gradients. Use your foreground and background colours to change their colour.
Use all of these to select specific areas on your drawing to move them around/change their shape. Choose them based on what you need to select.
Use this tool to select colours directly from your illustration. Especially useful if you’re going to be rendering out a digital painting.
Use this tool to move around your canvas. You can also move around your canvas from the navigation window.
Those are some of the basic tools you can find on the left side of MediBang Paint Pro’s UI. They’re all fairly similar to Photoshops’ tools (and have similar shortcuts) which is great for switching between programs. On the right, there are more functions that you’ll need to get started:
Use this to navigate your entire canvas. Across the top of the window, you can also zoom in and out, fit your canvas to your screen, and rotate the canvas left and right. The red square around your canvas showed you how zoomed in/how rotated you currently have your canvas.
Use this window to add/delete layers and change their functions. On the top of this window, you’re able change the opacity of your layer, change the blending mode, turn on an alpha lock, and a clipping mask. Along the bottom of the window, you’re able to create new layers, create folders, duplicate layers, merge layers, and delete layers.
You can find a far better explained version of all that on our MediBang Paint Pro tutorial video. Though it’s very intuitive to have the majority of the basics on the main default screen, so there’s nothing to really search for when navigating through it for the first time.
Join the Medi-gang
MediBang is a great program to get started with. While certainly not as complex as other programs, MediBang is a great intro to the world of digital artwork, because let’s face it; digital art at first can seem scary. As someone who was initially iffy about digital artwork, MediBang is a great way to show how simple and fun it can actually be. Even if it becomes your main program and not just a starter, even in its simplicity, great works of art can still be achieved.
Want to learn how to use MediBang more thoroughly? Check out our digital art classes that are taught completely in MediBang, and be sure to check out the Winged Canvas YouTube channel for more Digital Art tutorials!