GIMP won’t let me draw / tools not working

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • GIMP is a great freeware alternative to Photoshop, so it’s no wonder that it has such popularity.
  • Many users reported that GIMP won’t let them draw, but today we’re going to show you how to fix that.
  • If you want to learn more about GIMP, this dedicated GIMP article is the right place to start.
  • Having issues with other software? Our PC Software Hub has all the answers you need.
gimp won't let me draw

There are many great drawing applications, but if you’re looking for a powerful drawing tool and image editor in one, then your best choice would be GIMP.

Sadly, many users reported that GIMP won’t let them draw at all. This can be a big problem, but today we’re going to show you how to fix this issue for good.

What can I do if GIMP won’t let me draw?

1. Make sure you have the correct layer selected

  1. Double-check if you have the correct layer selected in GIMP.
     layers GIMP gimp won't let me draw
  2. Go to Select > None and ensure that you don’t have an area selected on the current layer.
    select none gimp won't let me draw

These are some basic rules that you need to follow, but you’ll be surprised by how many users forget about these types of things.


2. Make sure that you’re not using a Clipboard brush

  1. In GIMP, select the Brush tool.
  2. Now select any other brush except the Clipboard Image brush.
    clipboard image gimp won't let me draw

After selecting a different brush, you should be able to draw without any issues.


3. Check the Brush tool settings

  1. Select the Brush tool.
  2. Now check the Mode and make sure that it’s set to Normal.
  3. As for Opacity, make sure that it’s set to 100.
  4. As for additional settings, be sure to check Size and Hardness and ensure that their values aren’t too low.
    brush settings gimp won't let me draw

These settings affect other tools as well, so be sure to always check them.


4. Make sure that your layers aren’t locked

  1. In GIMP, locate the Layers panel.
    lock layer gimp won't let me draw
  2. Now inspect all layers and make sure that your currently selected layer isn’t locked.

For the layer to be completely unlocked, it’s important that all three icons aren’t selected. However, for drawing, only the brush icon needs to be unselected.

There are several reasons why GIMP won’t let you draw, and we hope that you managed to fix that problem with our solutions.

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