I am new to GIMP and I do not understand how to change the color of the Pencil tool. The only options I see are:

  • Mode
  • Opacity
  • Brush
  • Dynamics

Where is the option for the color that will be drawn?

  • using mac btw if that matters
    – bmende
    Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 0:49
  • 5
    Questions like this make it clear how difficult is (not intuitive) to do simple things in GIMP... :( Commented May 3, 2018 at 17:43

3 Answers 3


At the bottom of the toolbox you see a black and white square. Those are your foreground and background colors. To change them, just click on the square. Also have a look at some Gimp tutorials, as there is certainly plenty of other stuff left to learn:

  • 1
    There is no tutorial on how to draw a line. BTW: Your answer doesn't work on my system. No matter what I do, the line doesn't show up and that includes swapping background and foreground between white and black. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 16:59
  • In my case, it was due to my having not noticed the creation of a layer and that layer having been the selected one and also having been occluded by the layer I was trying to draw on. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 17:30

Foreground and Background Colors:

tools tooltip

  • To show the menu above in 2.9.8, go to Windows > New Toolbox.
    – KAE
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 11:35

First make sure you set Image/Mode/RGB

Then click on the black/white squares thing.

Click on the corner black for your tool, it represents the 'top' or 'foreground'.

  • There are already two answers from 6 yrs ago that describe this. This answer doesn't add anything substantively different.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 21:09
  • 4
    I put that there and I did it because the answers didn't mention setting mode RGB and I still couldn't get it to work. I find that substantively different. What I don't find substantively different or helpful is your comment. Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 22:10
  • 2
    Well it was relevant for me. And therefore presumably relevant for some others. Like the one who posted somewhere the advice to do it. Hence perfectly valid to post the point. Are you the official policeman of posts, then? Pleased to meet you. 'Bye. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 8:40
  • 2
    @arthurbrogard regardless of comments that assert otherwise, your answer was helpful to me. Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 5:58
  • 1
    This response is indeed useful: I did not realize that my image was in gray, and even with a red foreground color, pencil coloring was grey! Obviously makes sense once you realize that!
    – Matifou
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 23:27

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