How To Paint Tomato

Draw A Tomato

  • Software: GIMP (or any other raster graphics software)
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Subject: Tomato

Digital painting, is not much different than painting in the traditional media. It is almost as good as oil painting with the additional benefit of having nifty digital features like undo, layers, and what not.

Step 1

Start of with a small size canvas – around 420×300 should be fine. Create a transparent layer, and block out the red flesh tomato shape. This would be a medium tone.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 01

Be vary to choose a tone that is not too saturated. Even though a tomato does look quite bright, you should tone it down a bit.

Step 2

Tomato Digital Painting Step 02

In another layer, shape the stem/leafy part of the tomato. Use a dark green color, that is slightly desaturated, and is on the yellow side.

Step 3

Now, decide on where you want the light to be. I choose it to be on the left top, and in between the viewer and the subject.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 03

You do not need to draw a fancy lamp like that. But it is good to mark something out on a separate layer, so that you always have a proper reference of where the light is. This will assist you in the steps to follow.

Step 4

In a separate layer, draw the shadow areas of the tomato.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 04

Try to define the shape with the shadow area.

Step 5

Next, do the same for the green part.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 05

The red shadow layer must be below the layers containing the green parts.

Step 6

Now comes the interesting part.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 06

On a new layer, take a very light, almost unsaturated red color, and mark out the areas where the light would be reflecting. Draw a bit more than exactly where the light would reflect – we would be coming back to the layer again.

Step 7

Do the same for the stem/leafy part on a separate layer.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 07

You may give those finer touches to this layer now, as it is quite small and there wont be much to do for it.

Before you proceed, ensure that the layers are in the following order from bottom to top:

  1. White canvas background
  2. Tomato Color Block
  3. Tomato Shadow
  4. Tomato Highlight
  5. Stem Color Block
  6. Stem Shadow
  7. Stem Hightlight
  8. Reference (light)

Having so many layers for a small subject like tomato may seem like an overkill – but practicing the process helps you keep organized when you are working on larger projects.

Step 8

Tomato Digital Painting Step 08

This is a step where you will be visiting each of the shadow and hightligh layer with the smudge and the blend tool. Work over it with the smudge tool, stroking in the direction of the flesh of tomato. Once you are done with a layer, smoothen it with the blend tool. Having them in separate layers, also helps you work on them one at a time without messing the other layers.

Step 9

To give a sense of depth, you may draw the table. I did not bother to have different layers on them, since it would be a flat surface. I just picked up different shades and painted, lighter near the light and darker, where it is farther from the light.

Tomato Digital Painting Step 09

It has a eerie look to it, as though it is floating. That can be easily fixed by including the shadow of the tomato in another layer between the table layer and the set of tomato layers.

Step 10

Tomato Digital Painting Step 10

Again, while drawing the shadow, be aware of where the light is – and then smoothen the edges of the shadow a bit. There is nothing more than a sharp edged shadow that makes an artwork look unnatural.

Step 11

Not much of a step actually in terms of painting. Just delete the reference layer that contains the lamp scribble and any other reference lines you might have drawn.

Tomato Digital Painting Step Final

First save your work in the native format of your application – XCF in case of GIMP. After that, merge all the layers and save it as BMP, PNG or JPEG.

Do let me know your experience digital painting tomato or something similar.

If you liked this tutorial, and want to be updated when new tutorials are posted, subscribe to KalaaLog feeds.

Tags: , ,

  1. jordanleffl’s avatar

    This is pretty cool :)


  2. Vyoma’s avatar

    Thank you, jordanleffl.


  3. fencepost’s avatar

    Great tutorial! I’m gonna add a link at for our members. Thanks a bunch.



  4. Vyoma’s avatar

    Hey fencepost! Thanks – I appreciate it. :)


  5. fencepost’s avatar

    No problem…the link has been posted!


  6. Daemien’s avatar

    I really like your tutorials, I am new to digital painting, coming from an illustrator background and your tutorials are really helpful.
    Thank you.


  7. Vyoma’s avatar

    Daemien, thank you!

    Since you know Illustrator – it will be a lot easier for you to do digital painting. It is just that the process and tools are different. Just like Illustrator, the basics like form, light and color remains the same in digital painting. Only, the execution differs. :)


  8. amal’s avatar

    thank u for this tutorial and all flash tutorial i like it


  9. Vyoma’s avatar

    You are welcome amal. And by ‘all flash’, I think you are not talking about Adobe Flash.

    I am not sure if we can do digital painting in Flash – it is a vector editor. You can do it in other raster editors though. :)


  10. Yavor B.’s avatar

    thank you so much . I’ve finally configured my Wacom to run under linux, and right now, I can start taking brushing lessons… even tho, there are not that much lessons about gimp , as for photoshop.

    btw, just a question : overall about brushing/painting, do you use the normal GIMP brushes, or other brushes imported from PS?



  11. Vyoma’s avatar

    Yavor, you are welcome.

    Yes, indeed. There are not many tutorials for GIMP as there are for Photoshop – especially for painting techniques. Hence, when I write tutorials, I attempt to make them as general as possible – so that the results can be reproduced by any raster graphics editor.

    Regarding brushes – for most part I use those standard round brushes generally. Lately, I have been working on huge artworks, and so, I just create larger round brushes.

    I have not yet started to use fancy brushes. :) I think I need to explore this a bit.


  12. Jelin’s avatar

    Perfect tutorial. I am a camerist in the leisure time. I have a big improve in the photography.
    Very kind tutorial. Thank you very much.


  13. heday’s avatar

    it’s so great!


  14. Vyoma’s avatar

    Jelin, I am not sure how it helped you with photography. :) Any case, you are welcome.

    heday, thanks!


  15. Jelin’s avatar

    Thank you Vyoma. And you know that after read your tutorial, I had some apocalypse from you. I think there are large relation between digital painting and photography. You are a older in the digital painting and photoshop. So, I will learn more from you later.
    So kind of you!


  16. eross’s avatar

    ahh.. a real ‘artistic’ tutorial with no stencils and generated filters, thanks :)


  17. Vyoma’s avatar

    Hey Jelin, I am not that experienced in digital painting. Thanks!

    Thank you, eross!


  18. khan’s avatar

    good for basic painting… interesting. thnks


  19. joycelyn’s avatar

    i want to learn more from you.


  20. Portlynn’s avatar

    WOAH.(: Thanks that really helped?
    ?// Portlynn


  21. Misti’s avatar

    Great job!
    <3// Misti



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>