Make white part of a drawing transparent, help with GIMP!


I have been drawing mandalas like you see in the picture.

I need to remove the white background and only have the black lines.

I have tried different things in GIMP and seen some videos, but I can’t seem to figure out how to remove the white background.

I really need to have a step by step for only that - can someone please help?


In GIMP I would test with Layer → Transparency → Color to alpha…

It will probably select white as alpha, press “Ok”

Afterwards you can export the image to a format that supports alpha, like png.

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In Gimp 2.10:

  • Make sure you have an alpha channel on the layer (Layer > Transparency > Add alpha channel). Layers without an alpha channel have their name in Boldface in the Layers list, other have their name in regular type.
  • Set the bucket fill tool to Color erase mode, and without a selection, bucket-fill the whole layer with the color to erase.:

But on the whole you should take the habit of drawing the mandala on a transparent layer (itself over a some color/white background). Same visual result, but you can change the color of the background or the mandala very easily:

You can even try various colors for the mandala with a suitable layer structure

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