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A Simple Paintbrush Color Picker

, 24 Jan 2005
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A simple color picker like paintbrush color picker.


The control is very simple but I think it is helpful for beginners in C# programming, especially .NET UserControl programming.


Just like Paintbrush color picker, our color picker must have the following features:

  • An area which shows the current selected brush and pen color.
  • Provides some predefined colors which is divided into two rows. The first row is darker than the second row.
  • User would use the left mouse button to select pen color and right mouse button for brush color.
  • When the user double clicks on a specified color cell, the application would ask the user which color they want to use by using the standard color picker dialog.
  • And the last one, this control should have an event for notifying parent about the changing of brush and pen color.


First, we should create a new user control which contains several labels as Color Cell that you will see when you view the control in design time. After that, we should have a way to store the predefined colors and the selected brush and pen color. The example given below explains in detail how this can be done:

private const int TotalColors = 16;
private Color[] _Colors = new Color[TotalColors];
private int _selPenColor = 0;
private int _selBrushColor = 1;
public Color PenColor
    get { return this._Colors[_selPenColor];}
        this._Colors[0] = value;
        this._selPenColor = 0;
public Color BrushColor
    get {return this._Colors[_selBrushColor];}
        this._Colors[TotalColors/2] = value;
        this._selBrushColor = TotalColors/2;

In the next step, we should have some functions that should take care of drawing:

private void DrawSelectedColor(Graphics graph, Rectangle rect, 
                                Color clrPen, Color clrBrush)
    Brush brushBackground = new SolidBrush(this.BackColor);
    Brush penBrush = new SolidBrush(clrPen);
    Brush brushBrush = new SolidBrush(clrBrush);

    Point ptCenter = new Point(rect.Left + rect.Width/2, 
                              rect.Top + rect.Height/2);
    int cellWidth = 16;
    int cellHeight = 16;

    int XMargin = 4;
    int YMargin = 4;

    Rectangle rectPen = new Rectangle(XMargin, YMargin, 
                                cellWidth, cellHeight);
    Rectangle rectBrush = new Rectangle(rect.Right-XMargin-cellWidth, 
              rect.Bottom-YMargin-cellHeight, cellWidth, cellHeight);

    // clear background
    graph.FillRectangle(brushBackground, rect);

    // draw selected colors
    graph.FillRectangle(brushBrush, rectBrush);
    ControlPaint.DrawBorder3D(graph, rectBrush, Border3DStyle.Raised);

    graph.FillRectangle(penBrush, rectPen);
    ControlPaint.DrawBorder3D(graph, rectPen, Border3DStyle.Raised);
    // draw border 3D
    ControlPaint.DrawBorder3D(graph, rect, Border3DStyle.Sunken);

private void DrawColor(Graphics graph, Rectangle rect, Color color)
    Brush brush = new SolidBrush(color);
    graph.FillRectangle(brush, rect);
    ControlPaint.DrawBorder3D(graph, rect, Border3DStyle.SunkenOuter);

And just attach the implemented function to the standard drawing routing of the owner:

private void ColorButton_Paint(object sender, PaintEventArgs e)
    if (sender is Label)
        Label btn = sender as Label;
        int colorID = Int32.Parse(btn.Tag.ToString());
        DrawColor(e.Graphics, btn.DisplayRectangle, this._Colors[colorID]);
private void SelectColorButton_Paint(object sender, PaintEventArgs e)
    DrawSelectedColor(e.Graphics, btnSelectedColors.DisplayRectangle, 
                                     this.PenColor, this.BrushColor);

As I mentioned before, we should have a delegate to notify the container about the changing of selected pen and brush color.

public event EventHandler    PenColorChanged = null;
public event EventHandler    BrushColorChanged = null;


private void OnSelectedBrushColorChanged()

    if (this.BrushColorChanged != null)
        this.BrushColorChanged(this, new System.EventArgs());

private void OnSelectedPenColorChanged()
    if (this.PenColorChanged != null)
        this.PenColorChanged(this, new System.EventArgs());

And the last one, we should handle the selecting operation of end user:

private void ColorButton_MouseDown(object sender, MouseEventArgs e)
    if (!(sender is Label)) return;
    Label btn = sender as Label;
    int colorID = Int32.Parse(btn.Tag.ToString());
    if (e.Button == MouseButtons.Left)
        this.SelectPenColorID = colorID;
    else if (e.Button == MouseButtons.Right)
        this.SelectedBrushColorID = colorID;
private void ColorButton_DoubleClick(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    if (!(sender is Label)) return;
    Label btn = sender as Label;
    int colorID = Int32.Parse(btn.Tag.ToString());

    ColorDialog dlg = new ColorDialog();
    dlg.Color = this._Colors[colorID];
    dlg.FullOpen = false;
    dlg.SolidColorOnly = true;
    if (dlg.ShowDialog(this) == DialogResult.OK)
        this._Colors[colorID] = dlg.Color;

And now, you can build your project and test your new Paintbrush - like Color Picker.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Truong Pham Dang Khoa
Web Developer
Vietnam Vietnam
I working for Twinstar Systems Inc., a semiconductor company, as Senior Software Engineer.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralYour codes should be better. Pin
johnsuna24-Jan-06 23:42
memberjohnsuna24-Jan-06 23:42 

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