Should MyPaint Open Itself Up to Donations?

This is something that has been on my mind for weeks. Should we start accepting donations to help further development of MyPaint? For example the server we use for our community forums costs about $20/month, but if we want to expand the community forums, the server costs are going to go up. We could also use that money to create fund our own bounty system. Another benefit would open the door to hiring a full-time or part-time developers, or at least give them the tools, or hardware they need. We could also use that money to help fund other fellow opensoruce projects, or help pay for some of the expenses for those who represent us or the OpenSoruce Artist Community at Conferences .

So there can be many benefits of opening up donations, but how do we go about it? I mean we could try Patreon. They are geared towards mainly to creators, but there are several opensource projects that are doing pretty well on it. There is also OpenCollective which is actually geared towards development and is designed to be open, transparent, and fluid. We could also just have a donation button on our website too.

There is also the question of who is going to manage all the money? Both systems require a bank account connected, and we would need to declare that we are a non-profit organization. So we would need someone with the financing knowledge.

Basically there will be some hurdles we need to over come and questions that need to be answer. In the end though, I still think MyPaint Community will benefit from this. What are your guys thoughts? Should we start accepting donations? What things should we watch out for if we decided to proceed with this?


I am new here but I would like to say that I am in favor of this system of donations. The Patreon is an excellent choice.
If I’m not mistaken, Krita used Patreon and was successful.
So why not?

I’ll clarify about our community forums server. It is currently being paid for by Altispeed hence why you see a banner for them at the bottom of the webpage. I’m currently prepared to paying for the SMTP(Mailgun) side of our forum, however since we been below 10,000 emails per month, I haven’t had to worry about it. I’m saying that probably in the future when our community grow beyond its initial hardware and service limits it will cost money to expand.

I really like the accountability of the OpenCollective model. But fees of 10% of revenue is quite a lot. I have zero experience myself over the tax or legal side of this however, so I don’t quite get what that buys you.

My personal gut feelings on this are that we probably don’t need something so fancy and also I kinda want to keep monetary incentives out of the development model for fear of distorting what we do. We can get, and have got a long way by leveraging free services. The last thing I want to be doing is running around trying to get donations out of people just to keep the lights on. It would annoy them, and sap my energy.

So, I’m not madly keen on it, particularly as I haven’t observed a great deal of success or speed around bounty-driven related bugs. Developer motivations are pretty weird, and often non-monetary (obviously, I’m speaking as one myself, with a reasonably comfortable job outside of MyPaint developer land).

I am such a terrible lazy cold water-pourer. Sorry :sweat:

Expenses for me are basically a £10 a year payment to Mythic-Beasts for domains and old wiki redirection. Also a $5 a month donation to via BountySource for the translation service which I’m happy to keep paying for while we use it.

Maybe we should approach from the perspective of what it could buy the project. Ad-free forum hosting obviously. Conference attendance. I’m especially interested in ideas for outreach projects too, although I’d probably be terrible at injecting the right kind of energy because I basically suck at the social media side of things.

What plans do we have for expanding the community forums?

If we were to start organizing at the level of a non-profit organization, then it’s probably time to sort out a few other things like what entity owns the keys to the domains, github, forums and other informational assets; and who gets delegated access.

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It would be really cool to have art contests to promote MyPaint and be able to give away stuff like graphics tablets (that work with mypaint!). But maybe that could be done by finding a sponsoring company to provide the free stuff. Here’s an anecdote: I once sent a check to only to have it returned months later with a note explaining that they just didn’t have the people and structure in place to process it at the time. “Mo Money Mo Problems”!

Another way we can go about this is to each contributor handle their own donations. That would mean we would need to create a donation page with the needs of each contributor. That way for example, you @achadwick could post that you need so and so hardware to test a scenario or a feature. Or another contributor can post a fundraiser (kickstarter, indigog, gofundme, etc.) to dedicate time to bring a set of features to MyPaint. The contributor would need meet certain requirements and an accountability system, but it would decentralize donations at least. Plus we wouldn’t have to deal with being a foundation too.

Eventually, I would like to grow the Artist Community, by providing areas for requests, commission, projects, contests, commission etc. Plus expand the feature request part to That would help us get better feedback on MyPaint and where we should go. That is going to require more space, and hardware resources. So eventually we would be bumping our Digital Ocean Droplet from a $20 to a $40 one. I’m doing the best I can with the limited resources I have, but eventually it going to have to be expanded.

Yeah that would be cool. Like if you want to host a contest, you could look into finding a sponsor willing to donate the funds for the prize. That one way we could pull that off.

Along the lines of graphic tablets that work with MyPaint, we could also set up an Amazon Affiliate code with our recomended tablets so we would also get a kickback from those purchases as well.

That’s okay, at least you have people like us who can help you with social media. :stuck_out_tongue:

Speaking of social media, @achadwick who else helps out with the MyPaint twitter account besides you and I?

And yes @briend “Mo Money Mo Problems”!

Yes, yes, yes!!! MyPaint should accept donations!
I’d be happy to contribute, because this is probably my most favorite drawing software- and I’m glad to say that this program’s helped with my own artistic and financial improvement. I’ve done so many quick commissions with it, the least I can do as a long-time user is repay your hard work.

Aside from the costs of web hosting and such, I think that donations should be accepted so that the devs can have access to more testing devices to troubleshoot with. Wacom or not, drawing hardware can get pretty expensive, and I think you all need it. And if you’re uncomfortable with accepting money, the community could always get you the hardware itself, taking out the “middleman” in development. :smiley:
If anything, I would say that the devs/contributors should come up with a “universal” list of devices that everyone should have so you all can diagnose the same issues with the same hardware, maybe? There’s also an increasing variety of affordable Wacom alternatives (non-screen and screen tablet devices) that MyPaint should probably increase its compatibility for. (Artisul, Parblo, XP-Pen, just to name a few)

And I know that, for example, Monoprice has bulk pricing: so the more devices you buy, the less the tablets cost overall. So maybe some other tablet manufacturers do the same. You might even get in touch with some tablet manufacturers so that they can give you models to test? (Worth a shot, right?)
Also with the increase of Penabled Tablet PCs of varying technologies (Wacom EMR/AES, and N-Trig) you’d probably need those devices to test as well. Which cost money.
So basically, maybe every dev needs a spare PC with a specific amount of RAM; a Wacom tablet; a Wacom Alternative; and a Tablet PC? (I probably sound really silly saying this, sorry)

Now as far as financial support:
Just sounding off my unpopular opinion, but I think Patreon, as lovely as it is, might not be the right avenue for supporting MyPaint? From the point of view of becoming a supporter on there, I feel like it’s annoying: You have to set up an account AND your financial info and all that.
Plus, I feel like Patreon has a certain degree of “audience engagement” that might be hard to maintain, but it honestly depends. The easy solution for engagement is to share community posts of art, challenges, and how libmypaint is used in other softwares (OpenToonz, Pencil2D, Krita, etc.) in addition to the actual development progress of MyPaint.
I’m not entirely sure though. There’s other software devs that use it though, and @Igor_Costa_de_Faria just mentioned how Krita did well with it: so who am I to say it won’t work? (shrug) Patreon is a good candidate for a support option, even if I have some reservations. In I believe Paypal and Credit/Debit cards are payment options open to supporters with Patreon accounts.

Paypal was also mentioned, and of course: I have my personal gripes with it (mainly on the User Agreement side of things), but it’s popular and widely accepted. You don’t even need to have a Paypal account to pay someone with it: Paypal has tools so that people can pay you with a card, so you don’t have to sign up for the site- which is the counterpoint to what I feel like is the problem with Patreon support.

Gumroad may be another option: another site where people can pay for your posts/products to support you, but don’t need to make an account to make those purchases. I know the Morevna Project uses it to host downloads of their fork of OpenToonz, which uses libmypaint. It’s “Pay What You Want” style, so people aren’t required to pay for the download, but if they do,it helps the devs out. I feel like the downside is that’d be yet another website where uploading the software for people to download might be a chore to do. It’d also be a potential option for selling digital “merch” like community contributed tutorials, videos, or artbooks that feature the usage of MyPaint.

There’s also Square as an option: you can do online business with it, and do things like payroll for contractors, or evenly dole out funds from one person. But I guess that’s the whole problem with this debacle is that one person would be holding the money. :confused:

I’ve never heard of OpenCollective until today. It looks like Kickstarter, but with actual accountability with the funds :stuck_out_tongue: It looks like a really cool option to me, but I’m trying to figure out how signing up as a contributor works (Chrome keeps glitching when I try to view the site, so I have to wait a bit before I can test it out)

In the meantime: Maybe revitalize some activity on the MyPaint’s social channels: especially art social sites like DeviantART and the tumblr page, and see what feedback the followers on there may have to say in terms of supporting MyPaint financially?
In terms of FOSS groups, I know that Krita has a popular and active dA group, especially when they post journal updates on how the development is going, people actually seem to respond.
Ramon Miranda (TheShock on dA) is a co-founder of the dA MyPaint group, and [Kaerhon] is a contributor. Those are just the names I recognize, but there’s others who contribute, and can basically make journals and let members know that the group is active. So if you’d like to get in touch with someone, maybe they’re a good place to start.

I might just have a limited POV, but it feels like the Free/Open Source software communities are pretty tight-knit: I’m sure there’s some crossover between Krita, GIMP, Drawpile, etc., and MyPaint’s user bases. So I’m sure that with the right campaigning, you’ll get the support you need from those communities as well, if needed.

TL;DR: Check social feedback first: do polls, make sure people know MyPaint’s still alive and kicking, garner old and new peoples’ interest. And if money’s not a viable support option, you could always just request the hardware to test with, and the community can see what they can do for you.

Good luck, and thanks as always for your hard work.
EDIT: WOW, did not realize how long this reply was @_@


Some good ideas here. Here’s another thought. Given how dependent MyPaint is on upstream GTK fixes (particularly for stylus support on Windows), maybe we should promote the support of the GNOME foundation and other important projects that MyPaint depends on:

I know it doesn’t quite feel as good as contributing directly to MyPaint, but it’s better than nothing :-). Maybe we could build a donation page with links to these other projects, and even have a “friends of MyPaint” registry for those that contribute to one of the related projects (on-your-honor type of thing).


Great idea @briend. I’ll gladly accept a Pull Request for donation page for libraries we use on our website at The website it hosted on our Github Reporsitory here:

My personal opinion is that MyPaint should start a donation collection system if the developers and administrators plan to improve this program in the future. I personally believe that MyPaint is one of the best digital painting programs available in the year 2019. I find it ironic that one of the best programs for drawing and painting does not collect donations or charge a fee when others that are not so good will take money.
I used to like Corel Painter back around the 8 and 9 versions, back then you could easily use the program by means of internet or buying a box version with a cd or dvd disc at a retail store with simply a product code key. Find their latest versions too dependent on the internet now for activation something I do not have connected to my desktop workstation for creating graphic arts, painting and drawing. Their Draw Graphics Suite with Photo Paint requires you to be checked up on every 30 days or the Suite will shut down, internet absolutely required for this one. My only way of using the internet to get things is by usb thumb drives at a local community library where you can access the internet on desktops daily for a limited amount of time, yet find this efficient for what I need. I pick up graphic programs this way while on the internet at a library. Many years ago (approximately a decade) I had the internet at home and spent too much time over my 2 year contract commitment drifting around in cyber space wasting time that could have been better spent painting and drawing or learning something about computer technology. Again too much time was also spent on problems related to internet security. Getting back to the core theme here, Corel gets $200 to $400 for one copy of their software Painter and/or Graphics Suite Draw with Photo Paint while MyPaint is free and just as good for digital painting and drawing as Painter. I have made donations to Krita and The GIMP in the past and paid for copies of Corel’s software, would helpfully contribute to MyPaint since it is a very useful program for my personal use.

Ha, I was just spending 30min searching for a way to donate to the project or the individual devs…

So, yes, I think you should do it. Some nice ideas already. Here are my /triggerwarning/ personal opinions:

  • Patreon: I don’t like it. From a creator view and from a supporter view. Patreon makes sense if there is a steady and very frequent stream of content (releases, art, raffles and watherever social stupidityshit). Also, I have the impression that there is a general “saturation” of the supporters. You just don’t want to subscribe to a large amount of monthly payments. So, my impression is, that people are more selective aaaaand start to put stress on Devs like “make a release or I’ll desubscribe!”.
  • Gumroad: I like this as an (art) creator very much. Especially the pay what you want option! But I’m not sure how this model would work for software development. I think hosting the releases there would create more hassle and maintainance problems. Maybe: Get some well done .ora files from Artists (maybe even with how-it-was-made-notes), offer them for free+donation on Gumroad. So users can support you and inspect, stroke-pick, analyze how the work was created. Another option is tutorials, videos and brushpacks on Gumroad. In fact, I have a brushpack on Gumroad for free + optional donations. I’d gladly leave this to you…
  • and similar tipping systems: Might be the easiest option. I never used it though. This could also work for individual Dev support.

Welcome back @AnTi, I hope you’ve seen some of your ideas and code have made it into the MyPaint 2.x alphas. Blue and Yellow will make Green, finally :wink:

After doing some research, setting up a non-profit for MyPaint itself is pretty hard in the US. So I think it really going to depend on the individual contributors to set up their own funding models like libre-pay, patreon, kofi, etc. For MyPaint itself, I have Noah, from Altispeed who is willing and is helping with some of the infrastructure we need like this discourse server. So for now we are good on that side. I do have backup plans in-case the Domains become an issue again.

All-in-All MyPaint still doing good even though things are running slow atm.


Every year I get to the end of the year with my finances above my expectations/needs, I donate some money to free software projects and I’d like to do it to MyPaint since my wife is an illustrator and it’s one of the most used applications.

In Portugal is also hard to create non-profit organizations so I understand your point… Although there’s an option I think you should consider: joining Software Freedom Conservancy ( Is that an option? I don’t know exactly how they work but they are the “umbrella” for many free software projects. Please do consider because you certainly deserve it!