How To Paint In Paint Tool SAI

Are you new to digital painting or exploring Paint Tool SAI? This article offers insight into how you can paint, the important required tools, and the necessary steps. 

To paint in Paint Tool SAI, sketch your idea first, then block fill it with the help of a brush, then add your details using the airbrush tool, and blend everything using the watercolor tool. 

For more information, please continue reading. 

Digital Painting

Digital painting is often considered to be an emerging area in art, but the truth is that it has been around for a long time. The primary idea is to use digital tools like a device, software, or an application to paint as per the painter’s preference. 

Digital painting revolutionized the painting scene and made the medium accessible to many. New software keeps emerging to cater to the high demand for tools that can assist with painting digitally. 

For a tutorial on digitally painting in Paint Tool SAI, please watch this video as you read ahead:

Tools Needed

Here are the tools necessary for painting in Paint Tool SAI. 

Brush Tool

The brush tool is one of the most important tools you need before beginning to paint. It allows you to make the strokes of the canvas and comes in several different shapes and sizes. You can control these from the brush settings. 

Moreover, you can control the brush’s texture, the stroke’s opacity, and the way it blends on the canvas. 

For painting, we recommend you pick two to three brushes based on how many you would need. Keep one for adding detail, one for adding bigger brush strokes, and one for adding color blocks. 

Marker Tool

The marker tool works as a felt-tip pen and appears like a marker in strokes. The marker tool in Paint Tool SAI allows you to create strokes that often have a low opacity and are thick. The tool also allows you to vary the thickness, blending mode, opacity, texture, and size of the marker stroke. 

The marker tool is helpful when adding shadows or highlights to your painting. It also allows for painting and filling in the sketch. 

Airbrush Tool

The airbrush tool is a great way to add softness to the painting. It adds a more realistic feel to the painting and provides a good way to transition from one color to another. 

If you use the airbrush tool in Paint Tool SAI, you can control its size, angle, and shape. It also lets you vary the opacity based on your preferences. 

Watercolor Tool

This tool seals everything in and allows you to blend all the colors, giving it a watercolor effect. You can control the intensity and sharpness of the stroke, but this works well to give your painting a cohesive final look in Paint Tool SAI. 

Paint In Paint Tool SAI

Below are the steps you need to take to paint well. 

1. Sketching 

You must begin painting with drawing a rough sketch of what you want it to look like. Make a mental map of what you want and then emulate it on the canvas. 

Use the paintbrush, which has a smaller size than the tip and can also be used for adding intricacies. 

Make sure you complete your sketch before moving on to the next step. 

2. Block Colors

Once the sketch is complete, it is time to add the base color. For this step, create a new layer, use the brush tool and pick the brush with a thicker tip. 

This will make it easier to add color and will not take too long. Fill in the entire sketch, and if you accidentally got the color out of the border, you can choose the eraser tool and clean it up. 

3. Paint Colors

Now is your time to add details with paint to your piece. Create a new layer, select the airbrush or any of the brush tools if that works better, and pick the color you wish to add. Here, you can add shadows and highlights; make your painting as cohesive as possible. 

Now, use the watercolor tool on top of everything to blend everything. 

4. Merge Layers

To seal everything together, create a new layer and make any final adjustments you feel are necessary. Finally, merge all the layers. 

  1. Select the layers you want to merge by clicking on them while holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard. 
  2. Right-click on one of the selected layers to open the context menu.
  3. From the context menu, select “Merge Selected Layers.”
  4. “Merge Selected Layers” will merge all the selected layers into a new layer above all the layers.
  5. Confirm the merge by clicking on “OK” in the dialog box.


Digital painting is not easy, but with practice and adequate guidance, you can excel in this.