Articles, Blog

How an MS Paint artist made this picture

I’ve always been an artist, I’ve always
drawn pictures, and when it comes to digital art and Microsoft Paint, I’ve taught myself
completely. My name is Pat Hines, I’m from Boston, I’ve
lived here my whole life. I’m sure you can hear my accent. The sad thing is I didn’t even know I had
it until I went to college. I’m from West Roxbury, which is a part of
the city of Boston. It’s not the toughest part, it’s not Southie,
it’s not Dorchester, it’s not Charlestown, but it’s definitely a part of the city of
Boston. What got me started in Microsoft Paint and
in digital art was I was working at a nursing home when I was in college. I was working overnights . And this was before
Facebook, or YouTube, or, you know, I didn’t even know if Wikipedia existed back then. I don’t like Minesweeper or Solitaire or
any of that stuff. It was basically Paint or, you know, I slowly
went insane. It was just kinda screwing around with it
at first, but as the years went by, I sort of developed a technique. And what I noticed about my work in Paint
was that I had an identifiable style, which I did not have ever when I worked in physical
media, with pen and pencil or whatever. Whenever I worked in other media, I was always
aping someone else’s style. Usually I start off, ironically enough with
pencil and paper and I just do a little thumbnail of the most basic composition. And from there I open Paint, and I use — it’s
called the pencil tool — and I do a very very rough version of the composition. And this ends up looking like what most people’s
idea of MS Paint looks like, it’s very squiggly. It’s kind of a mess. This is basically my version of layers if
you were working in Photoshop. I don’t erase those original squiggles,
but I go over them. And from there I select the line tool and
that’s when I create the final line art. I know that’s kind of long and involved,
but that’s Microsoft Paint. It’s just the mouse. I tried using a stylus with other programs,
and I tried using it with Paint. Only the line tool allows me to create really
crisp pictures. I’m always striving to have no pixels, like,
bunched up on each other, no right angles, you know? Because if you do it that way it ends up looking
jagged and blocky. At the beginning I was using the spray can
to do a lot of, like, shading and stuff. When you press the spray can, all it does
is spray out a bunch of pixels randomly. So It took a lot of time to quit the spray
can and use the line tool for pretty much everything. Although, ironically enough, in one of my
pictures there’s graffiti on the walls and I couldn’t figure out how to make graffiti
in Paint. And lo and behold I try the spray can and
it works perfectly for it. In terms of illustration, there’s a Russian
illustrator named Ivan Bilibin, I think that’s how you pronounce it. He lived in the 1800s. But if you were to look at his stuff, you’d
see the connection between his stuff and my stuff. There’s a lot of the flat color but there’s
also a lot of detail. It looks so modern that when you find out
this guy lived in the 1800s you’d just be amazed. I love Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish,
he’s another influence. Drew Struzan, he did all the Back To The Future
Posters. David Mazzucchelli: he illustrated Batman:
Year One and some Daredevil comics, really amazing work. My biggest inspiration for my current style
for the MS Paint work is the illustrator Hergé. He created the Tin Tin comic book series. He was a Belgian comic book illustrator. It wasn’t even a conscious thing that I
wanted my stuff to look like his. I guess they call the style “Ligne Claire”
— it means clear line style, you don’t do
any shading with the line art. It’s just all solid lines, it’s a very
clean image, and then you do all the shading with coloring. “The program kind of dictated it, because
I always did like that style. It looked how it looked in my head originally
or it looked even better. From there I go straight into coloring. With coloring, I use mostly either the paint
can where you just press it and it fills in a huge area. Between that and the eraser is where I shade
it, usually holding, like I said, the right click on the eraser. It’s usually just creating very simple gradients. That’s how I always prove to people that
it actually is Paint. Just zoom in on those gradients and you can
see. It’s very uneven, you know, it’s kind
of messy when you zoom into it. But there really isn’t that much mystery
to the coloring process. I try not to use too many different colors. I always start off by thinking, where is the
light source, where is it coming from. I use two versions of Paint. F or the line art I use the old version and
for the coloring I use the latest version, or I guess the last version. I always wanted to see a horror movie set
at a summer camp, because even with twelve or so Friday the 13th movies, I never thought
there was a good one. I couldn’t get the idea of the summer camp
out of my head, and it kinda grew there until I was creating history for it, and weird traditions,
and from there it kind of just kept going. To create the shading, it’s just a matter
of creating a very simple gradient. Say if it’s a skintone, if it’s a white
person, it’ll be a peach color. And from there I just make it a little darker,
color that shaded part in with the paint can, and then repeat that process with a darker
version of that color to make the shadows deeper. It’s very easy for me to kind of to zone
out when I do it, that’s why I say Paint is like meditation for me. I don’t really meditate, but it’s the
closest I come to meditating. People online, say on like Reddit or other
sites, they always say ‘Oh you can do this in Paint, you can work in Photoshop.’” What they don’t understand is I really enjoy
Paint and I’ve never enjoyed those other programs. That’s like my favorite time. Nothing’s bothering me, I’m not thinking
about the outside world, it’s a very enjoyable time. Thank you so much to Pat Hines for creating
this work of art for us. We’ve got more information about his work
down in the description. We also have two seven and a half hour videos
of an MS Paint masterpiece being made — the one that you just saw. So if you want to watch it in real time, make
some extra popcorn and enjoy.


  1. YllwMonky456 Author

    His talent isn’t unique! There are literally TONS of pixel artists who would’ve been more deserving of an interview. There are tons of artists who paint with mouse and smart tablet too!

    His meager talents over the commonwealth don’t make him special. Thanks for making digital artists look like shmucks.

  2. Mkatz Brandt Author

    Cool, nice to see another mspaint artist..I've heard of Pat Hines, and its nice to know that great mspaint art is a reality..I just started a channel and am using mspaint..finished My first timelapse video just today..I liked and subscribed too, thanks!

  3. Sabiki Kasukō Author

    I mean, who's great drawing, will be great drawing with whatever program he has at hand. Paint only gives less tools, but the basics, a pen, a bucket, a eraser, a selector and a zoom tool, are everywhere. The rest is pure, one of the roughest skill

  4. Amelia Huang Author

    There's an entire subculture on doing things on MS paint and anyone who knows how to draw could do it even though it's inefficient and limited
    Vox: this guy

  5. Paskaloth Author

    I get why he uses an old version for the line tool, they really ruined it in the newer version of ms paint, having to click off somewhere every time you put a new line down is hella annoying. This is awesome work!

  6. Diana Alex Author

    This is what they mean by finding your art style. It might take years but someday you’ll end up finding it.

    This is also proof that you don’t need expensive art supplies (copics🤦‍♀️) to create good art.

  7. rockerseven Author

    I still love using MS Paint for basic editing or drawing.

    It's like the Bob Ross of digital art. It doesn't give you much, but over time you find you can actually do quite a lot with the basic tools they give you.

    I once created a profile portrait of my dogs using just the spray can tool.


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