Digital Art with GIMP – Creating a Starship

Gimp – Gnu Image Manipulation Program, an open source program that like Photoshop is able to do amazing things with graphics and photo’s. Unlike Photoshop it costs nothing and it’s feature set is still comparable. This is a series of posts I’ve created on how Gimp can be used to help create worlds and give life to your imagination.


This is a project that I have been workin on off and on for ages. It’s a piece inspired by my story The Titan Mystery – one spacecraft that featured in this story with the Tycho, taking Commander MckINley and his crew to the Titan and their eventual fate.

Starting off in Inkscape and creating the wireframe drawing from my pencil sketch, I exported this into a PNG and then imported this in Gimp.


Added base colour using the fill tool.

Gimp filling in


Gimp filling in 1


Adding difference clouds on a different layer to mottle the hull, making this transparent makes this more subtle.

Gimp fill clouds


Adding gradients to give depth, again on a different layer.

Gimp matt and gradient & details

Adding a subtle 3D effect to give further depth and then more gradients to give the hull shape and shadow.

Gimp matt and gradient & details&3D

Once exported I could bring it into some other scenes.


Or even just add it to a starscape with a Red Giant in the background.


Thi is just a summary of what I went through to bring this to life, it should give you an idea of the steps and even now I would like to go further and give more detail to this. But the result is fairly effective.

What do you guys think?


I hope this has given you a little more insight into how Gimp works, each set of features can be used to draw other object , not just what I’ve done here. If there are any suggestions let me know – I’m always learning too and I’m keen to try out new stuff!


Planet Simon



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