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GIMP paintbrush not working

Can’t use the paintbrush function built-in GIMP? If you encounter the issue “GIMP paintbrush not working”, this post from MiniTool Partition Wizard might be what you need. This post shares several solutions to the issue.

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GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source, and useful image editing program. So, when you seek an alternative to Photoshop because of Photoshop issues like a problem parsing the JPEG data, you can give it a try.

the interface of GIMP

Some people have tried this image editing software but are stuck in the issue “GIMP paintbrush not working”, and a user reported this issue on reddit.com:

First time GIMP user, paintbrush tool not working
Like the title says. A second ago I was able to click and press shift to drag a line, but it wouldn’t put anything down. Now it’s just not showing anything after I press shift. How do I solve this issue? I’m just trying to draw a straight line, never thought it would be this difficult...https://www.reddit.com/r/GIMP/comments/fm085u/first_time_gimp_user_paintbrush_tool_not_working/

GMIP paintbrush not working

This issue seems frustrating, but cheer up if you are also stuck in this issue. Here are THREE solutions that could get you out of it. Now scroll down to see how to fix GIMP paintbrush not working.

Fix 1: Do Some Checks

First of all, do some checks if you find that GMIP paintbrush does not work. The checks include:

  • checking whether the right layer is selected;
  • checking whether the layer is unlocked;
  • checking whether the RGB mode is enabled.

Inside the GIMP interface, look at the Layers panel on the right side and check if the layer you want to work on is selected. If it is selected, it should be highlighted.

the right layer is highlighted

Only when the layer is unlocked, it can be modified. So, next check whether the layer is unlocked. Head over to the Layers panel and see if any of the three icons (paintbrush, position and sizes, and alpha channel) beside Lock is highlighted. If an icon is highlighted, it indicated that the layer s locked, and you need to click the icon to unlock it.

none of the three icons is highlighted

Finally, check whether the RGB mode is enabled. To do so, you need to click the Image menu at the top area of the GIMP interface, then click the Mode option from the dropdown menu, and select the RGB mode.

choose the RGB mode

Now try using the paintbrush tool again and it should make changes to the selected layer.

Fix 2: Choose a Right Brush Tool

If the issue “paintbrush not working in GIMP” persists, make sure that you are using the right Brush tool. GIMP provides so many Brush tools, every tool can work normally, except the Clipboard Image brush. The Clipboard Image brush does not paint anything onto layers.

So, go to the brush selection panel on the right side of the software interface where plenty of brush tools are displayed. Then, select one from the panel and check its name that shows up on the left-hand panel under Paintbrush.

choose a right Brush tool

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Fix 3: Modify the Brush Tool Settings

The last resort to fix “paintbrush not working in GIMP” is to modify the Brush tool settings. For that, you need to go to Brush tool and make the following modifications:

  1. Set the Mode to Normal.
  2. Set the Opacity to 100.
  3. Modify the Size and Hardness to moderate values that are not too low.

modify the Brush tool settings

Now try using the paintbrush tool and see if it can work normally.

Okay, that’s all about how to fix GIMP paintbrush not working. If you think it is helpful, please share it with others by clicking one of the following tabs.

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