How to blend or mix colors in Krita


When creating digital illustrations, many artists start by creating blocks of color like the image on the left side. And then try to blend the colors to make it look more like the image on the right.

Indeed, there are more steps to creating the image on the right than just color blending. You can learn about the whole process in detail in my online courses.

In this tutorial, we will only focus on the color blending techniques in Krita. There are tons of ways to do this. I will try to cover 12 color blending techniques that I know in this video. They are:

  • Gradient
  • Blender blur
  • Textured blender blur
  • Airbrush
  • Brush opacity - basic
  • Brush opacity - glazing
  • Hard brush + 50% Color Sampler
  • Splatter brush - wall texture
  • Splatter brush - water color
  • Wet brush - basic
  • Wet brush - textured
  • Pattern brush - halftone

You should note that each blending technique has unique characteristics that may or may not match your style of illustration. To save time, I will show you the technique on a rectangle, which contains magenta on the left side and light blue on the right side. The challenge is, how can we make the two colors look connected or blend in the middle. Not sharply divided as they do now.


The first technique is to create a gradient. You can use this technique if the color transition is perfectly straight or perfectly circular. For this, you need to activate the "Gradient tool". You can also press the letter G on the keyboard. Then, make sure the foreground color is the first color we want to use. And the background color is the second color. Also, make sure that the active gradient preset is set to "Foreground to Background". As additional step for the rest of the methods, we also need to activate the "Preserve Alpha" button so that everything that we do will always be inside the existing image area.

Now, we can click-drag from left to right while holding the Shift to make it straight.

Blender blur

The second technique is to use the "Blender blur" brush preset. So, make sure you activate the "Freehand brush tool".

To use this preset, you need to adjust the brush size depending on how large the area you want to smooth out. We can increase the brush size by holding Shift, then click-drag the mouse to the right. After we have the correct size, just make strokes on the colors' border area that we want to blend or mix. This is the easiest technique for creating smooth color transitions.

Textured blender blur

Essentially, we are using a brush preset called "Blender texture soft". If you notice, the thumbnail of this brush preset has a small water drop icon, similar to the "blender blur" preset from before. This water drop icon indicates that the brush preset has the feature of blending or mixing colors on the canvas.

If we press the pen hard and drag the pixels from magenta to blue, Krita will cover the blue color with magenta. The reverse also applies, the blue color will cover the magenta color. The point is that this brush will utilize the existing color on the canvas, at the point where we make the first click.

Now, for the colors to mix, you need to reduce the drawing pen pressure. You will see new transitional colors appear in the middle. You can also see that the color transition is more random than the previous technique. Therefore more suitable if you are trying to achieve a more natural brushstroke effect.


Next, is to use a brush preset called "Airbrush". This is a very popular preset, so I probably don't need to explain it in too much detail. Basically, this preset has a circular brush tip, which is opaque at the center, and transparent at the outer border. So we can use it to simulate smooth transitions, just like what we can get from the Gradient tool or Blender Blur brush preset.

Again, many artists don't like overly smooth color transitions like this. But I personally like it, so I use this technique very often.

Brush opacity - basic

The next technique is one that a lot of people use. Essentially, you have to create the color transition manually by applying multiple brush strokes with low opacity levels. So, to use this technique, you need to use a brush preset whose opacity level is controlled by the pen pressure. For example using this brush preset.

Yes, this technique takes more time and energy. But it can create more random or varied color transitions.

Brush opacity – glazing

The next technique is basically the same technique as the previous one. The difference is that instead of using a generic circular brush tip, we use a brush tip whose behavior is closer to that of a real brush. For example, we use this brush preset called "bristles 4 glaze".

You are free to use other brush presets, as long as the opacity level is controlled by the pen pressure. Again, the brush stroke technique is similar to the previous one. So, we need to apply the strokes with light pen pressure. We can sample the color that appears in the middle by holding Ctrl and then clicking on that area. And just apply the brush stroke again gradually. You can see that this technique creates an even more "painterly style" color transition. That is why, despite the longer process, many prefer to use it over the "airbrush" or "blender blur" techniques.

Hard brush + 50% Color Sample

The next technique is more suitable for you if you like the "hard brush" style. What I mean by "hard brush" is a type of brush preset whose opacity level is always maximized at 100%. One example is this "Basic 5 Size" brush preset.

Now, since this brush doesn't have a variation in opacity level, of course, you can't mix the colors by reducing the pen pressure. In order to produce a mixed color between these two colors, we can utilize the "Color Sampler" tool. By default, the "Blend" value of the Color Sampler tool is 100%. This means that the color that we currently pick or sample will totally replace the previously active color. If we change this to 50%. What will happen is that the color we sample will be mixed 50% with the previously active color.

So, for example, if we have the magenta color active. If we click to sample the blue color, now the active color is not really blue, bur rather purple. This is based on 50% blue, and 50% magenta as the previously active color.

Now, that we have the mixed color, we can apply it in the center area. You should note that the settings of this "Color Sampler" tool also affect the color sampling process when we use the brush tool. So, whil using the brush tool, we can hold Ctrl and click on a color to mix it with the active color.

If we want to choose the original color. That is, without any color mixing. We could change the "Blend" setting back to 100%. But that would be inconvenient. What I usually do in this condition is to hold down the Ctrl key, then click and hold, then rotate the mouse cursor around, until the color we sample changes to the color we want to target.

As you can see, this "hard brush" technique has its own unique style. Before continuing, remember to return the "Blend" setting of the "Color Sampler" tool to its default state which is 100%.

Splatter brush – wall texture

The next technique is to use a "splatter brush", or in other words a brush preset that randomly spits out texture images. One example of this brush type is a brush preset called "Texture big". Usually, Krita adds a small icon that looks like a chess pattern on the thumbnail's corner of this brush type.

Since this brush preset uses pen pressure to control its opacity, we apply it to the canvas using the same method as the previous "Brush opacity" technique. So, you don't press the drawing pen too hard. You can see that the color transition looks like smoke or dirt on the wall surface.

Splatter brush – water color

The next technique is basically the same as the previous technique or the same as the previous brush opacity technique. It's just that we use a different brush preset, which is called "Water C special splats". Actually, there are many other brush presets that you can utilize. I only show 2 of them in this video, as an overview of what is possible in Krita. Hopefully, these examples encourage you to explore other brush presets on your own.

As you can see, the color transition looks more like a rusty metal surface.

Wet brush – basic

The next technique is to use a "wet brush". The term "wet brush" is basically brush presets that have the feature of mixing colors with the existing colors on the canvas. Usually, Krita gives the thumbnail a purplish color. And they also have a water drop icon, similar to blender brush presets.

At this point, you might be wondering. So, what is the difference between the "wet brush" and the "blender blur" presets? The difference is that the "blender blur" brush presets cannot contain color. They can only mix existing colors on the canvas without adding new ones. So whatever color is active, it has no effect if you use the "blender" brush presets. Unlike the "wet brush" presets. They will still apply the active foreground color while mixing it with the color on the canvas.

You can see that this technique also produces unique stroke characteristics.

Wet brush - textured

The next technique uses the "wet brush" type also. However, with a more natural brush tip or one that looks more like a real-world brush.

To use it is also the same as before. Use only light pen pressure when applying the brush strokes. Because if we press the pen too hard, it will just overwrite the previous color. If you notice, due to the characteristic of the brush tip, the color transition has a more hand-painted look to it.

Pattern brush – halftone

The last technique is using a "pattern brush". Krita provides several "pattern brush presets". One of them is this "Halftone" or "Screentone" brush. Krita usually put a small icon that looks like a dots pattern at the thumbnail's corner.

Unlike the "Splatter brush" which uses a texture image on the brush tip. The pattern brush uses the "Pattern" feature. To understand this better, if you open the brush editor. "Pattern brush" presets use the "Pattern" parameter below. Krita provides a lot of built-in patterns. And you can also create your own patterns if you want.

If you're interested, I cover this in detail in my Krita online course at the advanced level.

To apply the brush to the canvas, if we press the pen strongly, the area of the pattern will expand. But if we press lightly, the pattern area will shrink.

If you feel that the pattern scale is too small or too big, you can adjust it by clicking this small arrow button. Then just change this "Pattern scale" value. If we move it to the right, the pattern scale will get bigger. Whereas if we move it to the left, the "Pattern" scale will get smaller.

This technique can be useful for giving a manga-like shading effect. Feel free to experiment with other "patterns" provided by Krita if you want.


So those are the 12 color-blending techniques that we can do in Krita. Each produces a different style of color transition.

If you are interested in learning Krita from basic, intermediate, to advanced levels, you should check out our Krita course bundle here. We also provide other courses on computer graphics if you are interested.

I hope this tutorial can be useful. Wassalamu'alaikum.


Widhi Muttaqien

(Expose Academy)


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