The Artist's Guide to GIMP, 2nd Edition

Artist's Guide to GIMP, 2nd Edition

Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers
by Michael J. Hammel
June 2012, 320 pp.

As a full-featured, free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP is one of the world's most popular open source projects. The latest version of GIMP (2.8) brings long-awaited improvements and powerful new tools to make graphic design and photo manipulation even easier—but it's still a notoriously challenging program to use.

The Artist's Guide to GIMP teaches you how to use GIMP without a tedious list of menu paths and options. Instead, as you follow along with Michael J. Hammel's step-by-step instructions, you'll learn to produce professional-looking advertisements, apply impressive photographic effects, and design cool logos and text effects. These extensively illustrated tutorials are perfect for hands-on learning or as templates for your own artistic experiments.

After a crash course in GIMP's core tools like brushes, patterns, selections, layers, modes, and masks, you'll learn:

  • Photographic techniques to clean up blemishes and dust, create sepia-toned antique images, swap colors, produce motion blurs, alter depth of field, simulate a tilt-shift, and fix rips in an old photo
  • Web design techniques to create navigation tabs, icons, fancy buttons, backgrounds, and borders
  • Type effects to create depth, perspective shadows, metallic and distressed text, and neon and graffiti lettering
  • Advertising effects to produce movie posters and package designs; simulate clouds, cracks, cloth, and underwater effects; and create specialized lighting

Whether you're new to GIMP or you've been playing with this powerful software for years, you'll be inspired by the original art, creative photo manipulations, and numerous tips for designers.

Covers GIMP 2.8

Author Bio 

Michael J. Hammel has been involved with GIMP since version 0.54 and was a contributor to the early development of the program. Hammel wrote a column on GIMP for Linux Format for three years and is the author of The Artists' Guide to the GIMP and Essential GIMP for Web Professionals. He is an embedded software engineer living in Colorado Springs.

Table of contents 


Chapter 1: Fundamental Techniques
1.1 Drawing and Painting
1.2 Layers and Modes
1.3 Color Modes
1.4 Selections
1.5 Paths
1.6 Drawing Basic Shapes
1.7 Patterns and Gradients
1.8 Working with Text
1.9 Digital Cameras
1.10 Basic Tutorials

Chapter 2: Photographic Effects
2.1 Soft Focus
2.2 Photo to Sketch
2.3 Antiquing with Sepia Tones
2.4 Color Swap
2.5 Changing Depth of Field
2.6 Reflections on Glass
2.7 Lake Reflection
2.8 Photo Restoration
2.9 Casting Light Through a Window
2.10 Light Streaks
2.11 Miniaturize a Scene
Tips for Photographic Effects

Chapter 3: Web Design
3.1 Gel Buttons
3.2 Metal Buttons
3.3 Tabs
3.4 Website Banners
3.5 Simple Logos
3.6 Icons
Tips for Web Design

Chapter 4: Advertising and Special Effects
4.1 Creative Text Design
4.2 3-D Package Designs
4.3 Reflective Glass
4.4 Popping an Image
4.5 Shiny Emblem
4.6 Wine Bottle
4.7 Gears
4.8 Cube City
4.9 Underwater
4.10 Colored Lighting
4.11 iPod
Tips for Advertising Design

Chapter 5: Type Effects
5.1 Chrome and Metal Text
5.2 Gel Type
5.3 Distressed Text
5.4 Frost
5.5 Neon Signs
5.6 Spray Paint
Tips for Type Effects

Chapter 6: Creative Inspiration
6.1 Fire Girl
6.2 Star Field
6.3 Creamsicle Love
6.4 Mobsterville

View the Index (PDF)
View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)


"A really instructive book that is expanding my knowledge of the program. Users who are looking to get more out of the GIMP might want to check it out."
—Ryan Paul, Ars Technica (Read More)

"All in all I feel this is a brilliant book."
—Jayson Broughton, Linux Journal (Read More)

"For anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with GIMP, The Artist's Guide, either as paper or an ebook, is one of the best resources on its subject available in any medium."
—Bruce Byfield, Linux Magazine (Read More)

"This resource is a solid stepping stone."
—Oma Dial, GIMP Magazine (Read More)

"The design is clear and concise, while the structure of the book will take the reader from a complete GIMP beginner to a confident designer."
—Graham Morrison, Linux Format

"This is a really, really good book. It explains everything well, in detail, without expecting any prior knowledge from you."
—Tony Mobily, Free Software Magazine (Read More)

"A very good book if you want to create your own artistic pieces with GIMP. It's well explained with big photos, good design and it will teach you lot of things covering a wide range of GIMP's uses."
—Ramon Miranda, creator of GIMP Paint Studio

"It's a good book, with decent instructions and engaging projects that any competent computer user should be able to handle, whether or not they have previous experience with an image editing package."
—Phil Bull, author of the official Ubuntu documentation (Read More)

Featured in Photo Technique Magazine

"I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn photo manipulation, advertising style and creating your own web graphics, such as buttons, logos or mouseover menus."
—Ken Hess, The Frugal Networker (Read More)

"The Artist's Guide to GIMP, 2nd Edition was easy for me to read and helped me do exactly what I set out to do in a short amount of time."
— (Read More)

"I would definitely recommend The Artist's Guide to GIMP to those who want an all-round, practical book on how to use GIMP."
—Kevin Unhammer, Software Engineer (Read More)

"Hammel has done an excellent job of creating a number of chapters focused on creating beautiful artwork with GIMP. The chapter on setting up GIMP would be especially useful to absolute beginners."
—Partha Bagchi, GIMP advocate and blogger

"The material is extremely solid, well organized, and pertinent for new or mid-level GIMP practitioners."
—Matt Paddock, Game Vortex (Read More)

"This is what I want from a book."
—John D. Cook, The Endeavour (Read More)


Page 5, 8–9:
The menu path to the Preferences dialog should be Edit > Preferences, not File > Preferences.

Page 19:
"2,563 possible colors" should read as "approximately 16 million colors."

Page 20:
"The existing pixel comes form the current layer and the new pixel comes from the layer below it" should read as "the existing pixel is the composite of all layers below the current layer and the new pixel comes from the current layer."

Page 265:
Under the Further Exploration section, there are three mentions of "GIMP Paint Shop". The correct name of the package is "GIMP Paint Studio".