Who would have ever thought that someone can create artwork through Microsoft Paint?
Microsoft has discontinued Paint, the free art program that has come with every copy of Microsoft since 1985. The humble graphics program was the first digital art program for thousands of people and, even though it was primitive at best, skilled technicians could do wonderful things with it.
As Paint gets put out to pasture – although it will still be available to download from the Windows Store – we wanted to celebrate some of the artists who made the most out of Microsoft's software. From the early days, when it could only generate monochrome images, to the latest iteration that included primitive 3D modelling and other fun stuff, clever creators have been stretching Paint's limitations to produce all kinds of crazy artwork. Here are some of our favourite artworks from Microsoft Paint's 32-year lifespan:
1. Hal Lasko
Hal Lasko spent most of his life as a traditional painter, but then he switched over to the digital medium at the age of 90. He quickly became one of the most accomplished and inventive MS Paint artists in the world, depicting a variety of subjects in a visual style that takes cues from French Impressionism. Hal passed away at the age of 98, so at least he didn't' say goodbye to Paint as well.
The spray paint option in MS Paint was one of the program's best tools, a way to add pixel texture to drawings that, if used correctly, could lead to an incredible depth even with just a few colours. The Reddit user Sonofjaay has posted several incredibly impressive illustrations made with MS Paint in 2012, including the portrait of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.
3. James Murray
Working under the Tumblr name "Jim'll Paint It," James Murray might be one of the most accomplished MS Paint artists in the world - and he takes requests. All you need to do is ask and a few times a month he kicks out a bizarre and quirky image, like this one featuring Fox McCloud, Miles "Tails" Prower and Grey Fox hunting down Theresa May while Queen's Brian May and some badgers cheer.
Making delicate blended colour in MS Paint is a tricky proposition, but DeviantArt user Diamonster pulls it off with aplomb in this lovely Venetian cityscape. The artist documented their process with multiple shots, showing just how complex it is to do a digital painting with software so primitive.
The r/MSPaint subreddit is a place where Redditors go to show off their workplace doodles, and the top-scoring submission of all time by a guy named "Khanstant" perfectly sums up the Paint aesthetic. Because the program lets you create canvases of massive size, it was easy to doodle on it like you would a piece of paper and create bizarre landscapes full of goony creatures.
6. Lucas Gomes DeSouza
Truly great MS Paint artists lean in hard to the program's limitations, using the small colour palette and grubby brushes to add texture and character to their images. This evocative portrait of the Joker by Lucas Gomes DeSouza stretches Paint to its limit. We'd kill to see a whole story drawn this way.
Redditor Toweringhorizon is one of the most popular posters on the MSPaint subreddit, and this recent piece is a great illustration why. So many things that are difficult to do in Paint - surface reflections, gradients, et cetera - are on display in this quirky and compelling image. He's truly making the most out of the tools in the program.
8. Dan Jackson
Many artists got their start dabbling with MS Paint before moving on to more advanced programs. Florida animator Dan Jackson recently shared this fan art of Sam Keith's cult classic Image comic The Maxx that he made in 1988, painstakingly laying down dots in Paint one mouse click at a time.
This is slightly cheating because artist Kronomatic did use Photoshop for a little bit of the blur around the green displays (you can't do that in Paint) but the sheer artistry and attention to detail in the rest of the image is out of control. Look at those fabric wrinkles! That's some of the most insane MS Paint figure drawing-style we've ever seen.
10. Pat Hines
Author and Illustrator Pat Hines had a devil of a time getting used to Adobe Photoshop so, to illustrate his novel Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge, he stuck with MS Paint, which he'd been using for ten years while slacking off at a hospital reception desk. Hines's compositions are incredibly detailed and his perspective is off the chain.