Psykopaint Blog


Giving up? That’s crap!

What is a teacher’s worst nightmare?

Grading papers? (nope).

Parent Teacher Conferences that don’t end? (close, but no).

A teacher’s worst nightmare is having the student who doesn’t give a damn about school. No matter what is tried – positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, contracts, Premack principle – nothing works.  What can a teacher do?

Last year, I had a student just like that in my 8th grade chemistry class. I’ll call him Jack. No matter what I did, or what approach I took, Jack did jack squat. I couldn’t engage him.

Granted this young man came from a troubled home and was given a bum rap at school; he was a troublemaker and had learning issues that were not being addressed.

So, here I was handed this 8th grade boy and told – teach him.

“You teach him!” is what I wanted to tell my administrators… but that would have landed me nowhere.

Now, I ain’t a rookie teacher. I worked with this type of population right out of college for two years. And subsequently I have taught for 15 years. So, suffice it to say I had some experience. My belief is that the most important aspect to teaching is – the students (surprise!). So, for the first three months of school I was like Don Quixote on a quest to conquer the windmill of apathy and disinterest and to dream the impossible dream of lighting the fire under Jack’s butt.

At first, I tried the close proximity trick of regularly checking in with Jack; that only led to my wishing for a lance. Each time, I would see Jack close a window on his Chromebook or just staring off into space. When I would approach him and ask him what he is working on, he would say the same thing, “I am not sure.” While I didn’t think I was teaching Dory from Finding Nemo (you know, the fish with no memory?), I did get the clue that I needed to do something more. I then selected specific tasks that were small and manageable (e.g., just read the first two pages and answer a question; just follow the lab directions and work with this group on the experiment). Nope. That bombed, too. I tried offering incentives such as he could earn playing a game for the last 5 minutes of class if he completed what I assigned him. Guess what? He didn’t play a game because he friggen didn’t do the work.

One day, I sat with Jack almost the entire period, forgoing my attention to my other students; I realize it’s not good teaching practice, but I wasn’t about to give up on this knight of the woeful countenance. That proved so torturesome that I would have prefered a root canal, or a dinner prepared by Aunt who cooked everything until it is 95% carbon. Jack just wouldn’t engage either with the material or me. He offered grunts and one word answers.

I will be honest… I was ready to give up. Over 15 years of teaching under my belt, a masters in special education, a dad… and yet, I couldn’t get Jack to crack.

What a nightmare indeed. What an impossible dream!

Then, one day, Jack slipped. He let me in… just a crack. I finally got a glimpse into this boy’s soul – he drew a picture of an atom. And the drawing was unique. It had color. It was asymmetrical. And had what looked like a tear or drop coming from the nucleus. I casually asked Jack what he drew. He told me it was an atom. I asked him how did he come to the design.

And then the world stood still.

He shared in depth how he came to design it. He took the bits and pieces he learned from class and redesigned the atom. And the drop (which was a tear), well that was the best – he said, “We are made of atoms. We cry. So, atoms should be able to cry.”

Holy crap! This is what is inside Jack?? Such talent and introspection and reflection.

I then did what my gut told me to do and what I knew my principals would hate.

The following day, I pulled him out of class and said, “Your drawing of an atom was awesome.!Do you like to draw?” He said, “Yes.”  “Tell me the reason,”  I said. He replied, “It’s how I think. I am able to share my ideas this way.” I then said, “I know that school is not your thing. I know you have a reputation of sending that message to everyone. But yesterday, your drawing proved that not only do you have a passion but you can use it as a tool. So, let’s forget chemistry for now. Let’s focus on art. How would you like to learn about digital design?”

Jack then gave me “the look”… you know the look that a teeanger gives an adult as though the adult has twelve heads and is speaking Akkadian? Yeah, that look. I told him I was being honest and really meant it – I wanted him to focus on a subject that (a) he was interested in and (b) would crack that shell of his and allow some of himself to come out.

That’s when Psykopaint came in.

I introduced him to this cool site I found referenced on an edtech blog. I showed him how he can take any image and repaint it using the brushstrokes a several painters. He was also able to design his own.

That’s when the nightmare began to end.

The young lad came in to class excited to use Psykopaint. He was fully immersed in learning all of its functions and applications. I had never seen Jack so focused and engaged. He drew beautiful art. He was able to explain to me (and his friends) the difference between the artists’ brushstrokes.

I had hooked Jack! Well, let me be honest… Psykopaint hooked Jack. Jack found his sidekick Sancho.

But wait… here is Act II.

Because Jack was so infatuated with the program, I reached out to its developer, Mathieu Gosselin. It took me a few tries (you know how these artists are!) and eventually we connected. Here was my plea to Pyskpaint’s creator:

Hi Mathieu,

I have an 8th grade student (I teach 8th grade chemistry and physics), who “walks to the beat of a different drum.” When he was younger, he was very much into art and 3D design. Over the years, his creativity and motivation dropped to near zero, due to his homelife being a wreck and his previous teachers quashing his love for the sake of learning “what everyone needs to know.”. As a result, he not only has tremendous gaps in his learning but also he lost his passion for the arts. He internalized everything and is hurting inside and heading down a path that does not lead to anywhere good.

I introduced him to Psykopaint and he was totally enthralled with it. I For the first time in many years, I see his interest and passion starting to ignite.

My question is this – I was wondering if you would be willing to show him how you came to design Psykopaint and how your passion for art brought you to where you are today. I am sure your schedule is busy, but any time that you could give to this young man would make a big difference to him.

Thanks in advance for your help.



Mathieu did not disappoint. He was very willing to speak with Jack. We set up the Google Hangout and Jack Matthieu spoke… and spoke… and spoke. Here was my follow up letter to Mathieu:

Hi Mathieu,

You made Jack’s day! He came out with a huge smile on his face and was telling everyone about the conversation he had with you. I have not seen him this happy and engaged in a very long time. He went right back to his project! Thank you again!!!

What were the magic words that Mathieu said to Jack? I will tell you – in order to follow one’s dreams, one needs to work hard. To learn digital design, one needs science, math, and grit.

Wow… I have never heard those words before… oh wait, I say them all the time until I am blue in the face!

The difference was that Jack finally heard those words. It took someone in the field to tell him that (a) this is what he needs to do to follow his dream (b) science and math are necessary and (c)  someone believed in him.

Having Mathieu say those words to Jack made all the difference in the world. Jack buckled down and learned as much as he could about Psykopaint’s features and began an online digital design course.

Talk about chasing windmills. “Hear me now oh how bleak and unbearable world!”

Now, it goes without saying that I got flack… a lot of flack…from my bosses who felt I was not preparing Jack for high-school. Yet, I didn’t care, for I knew that Jack finally was doing what all his previous teachers tried to do and fail (that list of teachers included the principals) – he was learning. He was engaged in his learning. And he was learning skills that would carry him throughout his life because he was learning a topic about which he was passionate. And so I accepted the flack and knew I was right.

It’s been almost a year since I have seen Jack. He is now in 9th grade, and is doing well in high-school because he had people believe in him. Mathieu and Psykopaint made a difference in Jack- he and it saved Jack. He is now succeeding and following his passion as he takes art classes and digital design.

As to my bosses… well, guess what?  I was the only teacher Jack came up to at the last day school and said, “Thank you for teaching me.” Beat that!

I dreamt the impossible dream and fought the unbeatable foe.

Hillary Clinton stated that it takes a village to raise a child. In today’s global market, I would say that it takes people from all over world who (a) give a damn about kids (b) believe that who they see in front of them is not the be all and end all but rather a canvas with potential to be a great piece of art and (c) who don’t give up. It would have been easy for me to give up on Jack… VERY easy. Yet, I didn’t. And I didn’t let my pride get in the way of trying to solve it myself. I searched out help. With Mathieu’s help (and if you ask him, he will say that he doesn’t deserve the accolades, but he does), together, we were able to help Jack.

To you artists, coders, developers, entrepreneurs – you do have influence on our future – on our students. Here me now for you will be tapped.

,And, to all you teachers out there, do you see yourselves riding on horses to fight the windmills of student apathy and lack of grit? Or, do you simply hold up the mirror to the student to say, “This is all you are?” If you are riding the horse, God bless you and keep up the good fight. Better yet, find yourself a Sancho (as I did in Mathieu) and together, you will help, encourage, foster, and believe in every student becoming a work of art.



Featured User: Ben Leighton

1) Can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a 36 year old User Interface designer. I grew up in Bermuda, but i live in Oxford in the UK now. I did a degree in Design & Art Direction because it seemed a sensible way to get a job afterwards but fine art and music have always been my real interests.

2) How did you find out about Psykopaint?
I really can’t remember. I think I came across it in someone’s social media when trawling through the internet. It caught my eye because I had been learning Corel Painter (and was finding it pretty tricky), and I was up for trying other things in the same vein.

3) Tell us more about your work. What’s your process.

A few years ago a friend of mine who is a professional painter showed me how easy it was to paint from photos using the computer, specifically that the photo actually sits on a layer directly below the painted surface. This takes most of the draughtsmanship skill out of the equation (assuming you’re aiming for realism in that respect). I was impressed, but my immediate thought was that to get more creativity into it one should really mess around with the photos before applying the digital paint. As such, my work is part Psykopaint and part Photoshop. The process is:

– get a photo, either from my own camera of from the internet

– manipulate it in Photoshop. This is everything from removing backgrounds to distorting shapes to complicated photo-collaging. Obviously if it’s other people’s photos from the internet you have to change them as much as you can.

– into Psykopaint! I go back to Photoshop after so for me Psykopaint is all about brushstrokes. I usually cover the entire surface with one brush, then change to another brush and rework the entire surface (leaving some parts of the original brushwork showing), then finish off with a 3rd pass. I frequently change the settings of the brushes (every 4 or 5 strokes).

– Save as a big jpeg then back into Photoshop. I then do a lot of colour adjustments and adding multiple layers of semi-transparent textures. I often use the Liquify tool to distort the shapes one last time.

Pictures I have printed so far I got done as Giclée prints on cotton rag paper. I’m very pleased with the result. It’s a bit odd to see simulated impasto on a very flat piece of paper, but it’s still nice.

4) What are your artistic inspirations?

My Pinterest page for Art is a pretty good summary of what I like.

If someone asked me to say who my single biggest influence was, I’d have to say Goya (after he went deaf/mad). Of course part of what is so impressive about Goya’s personal late work is the date that he painted it; most other western paintings of that time are in many ways very controlled or repressed, either by the person paying the commission or by the system (f.e. the Royal Academy, or the French Salon system), but Goya’s Black Paintings are pure emotion. Stylistically where I’d like to be is somewhere between Goya, Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent.

Aside from pictures of people, I love the work of Turner and Casper David Friedrich. I haven’t tried any landscapes myself yet as I feel like it’s much more difficult to say something meaningful with them. When you paint a person’s face, the picture almost automatically becomes about the human condition. You don’t need to think up a theme if you don’t want to.

The weirder side of my work (the Chimeras on stems from a love of collage and mythology.

5) Something you’d like to share with the world?

If you peak too early in life, everything else will be downhill. I want to be doing amazing work when I’m 80.

Psykopaint goes mobile

Psykopaint is very cool!

I know that’s the lamest self-promotion you’ve ever heard. But It’s true.

Now imagine that it’s 21st century and you’re using a mouse to paint!? Whaaat?

I found my own fingers easier to move than a mouse. Don’t you think?

Well, we’ve been thinking just that and that’s why we believe touchscreens are the logical next step for a painting app like us.

To make it really great, we decided to start from a blank canvas (wink, wink) and to build the whole thing from scratch the result of which is….

Lazy paint!

It will be available on all upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft Surface and all that…

Yeah I know, it’s not Psyko…paint.

That’s because:

1. It works a bit differently :

You can make great paintings so easily that we think lazies will love it.

2. It doesn’t have advanced psychopathic stuff that Psykopaint have.

But Fear not! Even though it’s almost Halloween.

3. We’re working on a fully featured iPad version of Psykopaint and we aim it to be the very best creative app ever made in the universe since Ms Paint

You can have a look at it on the Windows Store already: Click me

Warm up your fingers!

Have a lazy Halloween



Psykosoft Captain



Which Hair color really suits You?

Posted on April 14, 2012

Have you ever wanted to see how your hair would look like in different color?
Sure – you can go to the nearest hair saloon – but that’s hard and you can not just try and revert it back if you don’t like it.

And tools that offer this kind of operation on the internet … are a joke. They simply don’t work.

Pyskopaint happens to be the best online tool for this!

Step by Step

1. Choose an image – make sure the hair is not too bright and not too dark.

2. Open the COLOR tab and select a color you would like and start applying it.

IMPORTANT: don’t close the Color tab. Plus points for playing with the size and transparency of the brush (in the Brush tab).

3. Try MULTIPLY and Overlay blending modes in the LAYERS Tab.

They did some magic in my case! Play also with the opacity slider here to fine tune your choice.

4. Let’s try different colors.

Go to FILTERS (FX), choose the filter “Change Colors” and apply it only to Your Painting (top row).

5. and Voila! Here is our final result – girl with funky hair color styles in just a few minutes ;)

This is just one of the many examples of how you can use some of the new functionalities of Psykopaint. Can’t wait to see what you surprise us with! See you in the Gallery!

Let's paint stuff

Pointillist Brush and Xmas Card

On this update we’re introducing a new brush and help you get ready for the coming holidays with a Christmas Card.

If you are a Mental or Psyko member, you’re in for a treat. We developed an exclusive new brush for
you, the NeoPointillism brush.  As the name suggests it was inspired by a sub-genre of impressionism called Pointillism.

It was made popular by Van Gogh, but Seurat was the one who created and perfected this style of painting.
It’s like painting using lots of little dots instead of long brush strokes. It gives scenery a very dreamy kind of vibe.

Have a look at the video tutorial to learn how to make full use of the brush and take it for a spin.


And since the holidays are knocking on our door we created a Christmas themed card that you can send to your loved-ones as a virtual card or as a REAL postcard.

Here’s how to create a postcard:

1.) Go to
2.) Follow along the tutorial above with your own image
3.) Then Click File => Create a Card => Choose Postcard
4.) Type a little message and fill the addresses of the ones you love
5.) Click the ‘Check Out’ button and enter your bank details in Paypal
6.) Your loved-ones will receive the postcard within 7 days


PS: to send a virtual card just choose E-Card at step 3 and at step 4 insert the email addresses of your loved ones

Featured user: Stoyan Ivanov

Posted on August 18, 2011


My name is Stoyan Ivanov aka By ME. I live in Bulgaria I grew up in Sofia. I’m living with my parents in a house on the outskirts of Sofia.

I live surrounded by mountains and I love nature as you might guess from my paintings.

For now I am a student in High school. I study Architecture. Of all the world I most love my friends and my family.

I am interested in art since I was a little boy. I’ve been to a lot of art exhibitions . So I can say I know which painting are beautiful and original.

Continue Reading

Are you Broke but you want to help?

Posted on August 2, 2011


You love Psykopaint, you come back really often and you love spending time creatively BUT…

You owe your mum lots of money, you have a student loan and you still have to buy your honey stuff BUT…

You have some extra time! Well Psykopaint would be happy to give you tons of free stuff BUT…

Psykopaint is broke too! We don’t have lots resources to hire people to improve and develop things a lot SO…

If you are willing to give us a hand, we’ll give you free mental and psyko memberships!

So how long we’ll give you depend on which task are you willing to do, but we will be very generous if you do good job.


This is a list of things that would help us:

* Create a tutorial article or video (video worth more): reward from 1 month Mental to 1 year Psyko membership depending on the quality

* Write us an email on how you would do if you had to create a software to make people happier : 1 day to 1 year depending on the quality of your ideas.

* Do an article on your blog about Psykopaint (you don’t have to say only good stuff, just be honest) : 1 Mental week to 3 months Psyko membership

* Report a bad painting in the gallery (Naked/Violent/Racist): 1 week mental membership

* Write an article about one of those themes: ‘digital art’,’generative art’,’art and mental health’,’being different’ : Only If it is good enough to be published we give you a year psyko membership! (Not too long, not too short)

Do something unique that helps Psykopaint spread all over the world: 1 month to infinite membership.



Then whatever you have done report it by email at [email protected]

Note: if you have already a membership we will refund or extend your existing one for free ;-)

Final membership Pricing

Posted on July 2, 2011

After the many feedback we got from you, this is the result of the pricing for the different memberships.

The new updated version will come on the 4th of July


We tried to come up with something competitive and we indeed made it very attractive to commit to long term.

To have an order of idea Corel Painter 12 cost 400.00€ and photoshop a 1000€! (Ok those are still really super heavy  stuff)


Ok so that’s almost 29 times cheaper assuming you take the mental membership for a year!

And 11 times cheaper for a Psyko membership for a year. (Other softwares make you pay for upgrades every year anyway! )

Needless to say this is very cheap for the quality that we provide.



* The mental membership (premium) is targeted at regular users who would like to be able to save their paintings with a good resolution and take advantage of more advanced features like the layers, project saving and especially being able to launch Psykopaint straight from the desktop like any other app without being connected to the internet (Work on Mac, Windows and Linux)!


* The Psyko membership (Pro) COMING SOON is clearly targeted for professional who wants to use their paintings commercially. Save in very high resolution to be able to print it themselves. Also we will provide the opportunity for Psyko members to sell the paintings online directly from the gallery.

The offline version will benefit from pen pressure sensitivity that can be assigned to any Psykopaint sliders and a totally unique feature will allow you to set-up waves to modify parameters through time. (Example: assign a sine wave to the size will make the brush size oscillate from big to small)


(If you feel like you need to wait until the Psyko membership. Do not worry, we will provide a discount of 30€ for the Mental members to upgrade to Psyko once it is ready!)




* an ipad version will be coming later this year followed by an android tablet version.

* Psykopaint both offline and online will be updated regularly thought time. So we will keep adding excluse features for members.

* We will add cheaper options for printing, postcards , photos … and add the USA to the list of available countries. And eventually the world.

Note that whichever membership you have the prints on canvas are never scaled down. So even if you have a basic membership your print orders will be in full resolution.



To finish with, if you like to use Psykopaint on a regular basis

and you like what we do

and would like some more

having a membership is the best way to support us (other than all those great complimenting emails you send us) and give us the opportunity to continue working on Psykopaint as well as new stuff!

As our goal completely redefine the software industry from a boring-corporate-flat-emotionless culture to a user-driven-innovative-emotional one!

Software that adapts to you. Not the other way around.


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