Painting with Paint


This lab will introduce Paint to create and edit drawings. Paint is a paint program for simple illustrations. In this assignment we will create a Tessellation with Paint. Tessellations (also often called "tilings") are repeated geometric designs that cover a plane without overlaps and gaps. Tessellations can be traced back thousands of years and illustrate how mathematics and art can be combined.

Paint is a somewhat basic software for image creation and symbol manipulation, keep that in mind as we work through the assignment. Using Paint should make us appreciate additional options that more complex programs such as Adobe products have to offer :)

If you have a mac or can't locate/download paint on your computer, here is a link to an equivalent program (Gimp) for both windows and mac at . The site also has a user manual on how to use gimp.


  1. Open MS Paint by selecting Start / Programs / Accessories / Paint. The Paint toolbar is displayed towards the top of the screen. Use your mouse and move slowly over the icons shown in the toolbar to see an explanation of the tool.

  2. tools

    Paint Toolbar

    Good to know.....

    To draw a circle, use the oval tool and hold down the shift key while dragging out an ellipse, this constrains the form to a circle.

    To draw a square, use the rectangle tool and hold down the shift key while dragging out a rectangle, this constrains the form to a square.

    To draw (somewhat) more regular polygons, hold down the shift key while drawing the form, this constrains all angles to 45 or 90 degrees. This feature is helpful when drawing triangles.

    When cutting and pasting objects, make sure to draw the rectangle only as big as the object and don't go beyond the corners of the object. If the selection rectangle is larger than the original object, the additional selected area is also copied as white space.

  3. This exercise will use geometrical or irregular shapes. Below are some sites you can consult for some ideas of shapes to use for your tessellation.



  5. Practice by drawing some rectangles and triangles. Fill them with color and use the Image / Flip and Rotate features on these shapes.

  6. Set the dimensions for the tessellation. Select Resize / Select Pixels, and make sure to set  width=512 pixels and height=342 pixels.

  7. Decide on your shape and draw the shape on the canvas. It does not matter if your shape is simple or sophisticated. It is usually easier to use the outline mode (the top shape in the options for selected tools box) when drawing the shape and filling the shape with color later. You may want to consider that some shapes can be created by drawing and connecting multiple smaller shapes. For example, a hexagon could be created from triangles. Just remember that there can be no overlaps and gaps.

  8. Save your file as a .gif file. Since Paint is a somewhat basic tool, saving the shape ensures that we always can go back to the original shape.

  9. Fill parts or all of the shape with colors of your choice.

  10. Now copy and paste the shape. Draw a rectangle around your finished shape using the select tool and select Edit / Copy. Now select Edit / Paste.  Move the shape so that it is directly adjacent to the original shape (it is most likely directly on top of your original shape). You may have to flip or rotate your shape by using Image / Flip-Rotate. Please consider that the rotation feature in MS Paint is somewhat limited and allows only 90, 180, or 270 degrees rotation.

  11. Save your file again as a .gif file, but this time use a different file name.

  12. Repeat this process until all of the white space is covered.

  13. Write your full name and section on your artwork. Use View / Text Toolbar to set the font and size of your text. Make sure to select the text tool in the tool palette first (just click on the A) to ensure that the text toolbar is active. Draw a large text box on your tessellation and set the text size to at least 14.

  14. Textboxes can have a white or transparent background. Once you click on the text tool in the tool palette (click the A), two background options appear at the bottom of the toolbar. Click on the option showing the white background box if you like your text to appear in a box with white background. Click on the option with transparent background if you like your text to appear without a box and transparent background.

  15. Save the file using File / Save As and select the .gif file format for this work.

Grading Criteria

Submitting your file

  1. Access LearnOnline and login.
  2. Press Communication > Discussion Board
  3. Select the Tessellations with MS Paint forum.
  4. If you like, browse the other students messages and illustrations.
  5. Press Add a New Thread
  6. Subject: type one line to identify your posting
  7. Message: Describe the shapes you used and how you arranged them. Share your experiences creating this project.
  8. Use the Browse button to select the location of your file. Select the file to be posted.
  9. Press Submit
  10. Check your work


©2020  by Gabriele Meiselwitz
Revision Date: 04/05/17 11:33