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Painting is a skill career, your sims can register as Self-Employed painters, earning special rewards for selling their work.



There are several paintings available for Sims to paint per level.

Level Small Canvas Medium Canvas Large Canvas TOTAL
0 4 1 2 7
1 3 2 2 7
2 3 2 3 8
3 4 3 3 10
4 5 6 4 15
5 6 8 6 20
6 6 7 4 17
7 5 6 5 16
8 4 7 4 15
9 5 4 4 13
10 4 4 3 11
Brilliant 2 3 4 9
Masterpiece 3 3 4 10
TOTAL 54 56 48 158

Each painting has nine variations, which are influenced by a Sim's personality. That makes a total of 1422 paintings available for your Sims to create on the easel!

Skill Levels

Sims can be anywhere from painting level zero to ten. Paintings come in levels zero to ten, plus two bonus levels of Brilliant or Masterpiece.

Level Abilities
0 "Practice Painting" interaction with easel; can select small, medium, or large canvas*
4 "Practice Painting" interaction changes to "Paint"
5 Still-Life painting unlocked; paintings not sold now appreciate in value; highest level child-Sims can achieve
6 Can paint Brilliant paintings; more still life styles unlocked (depending on traits)
7 Portrait painting unlocked
8 Can "Memorize Scene" with cell phone to later "Paint from Memory"
9 Can paint Masterpieces; "Somber" style unlocked for still-lifes

Note: The Prima Guide states that Sims with no painting skill (0) will "Dabble" with the easel and be unable to select a canvas size; this has not been observed by players surveyed thus far. The interaction is noted in the easel parameters, however. Speculation is that this interaction was a part of the beta only.

Brilliant & Masterpiece

At level six Sims will be able to randomly paint a Brilliant paintings; level nine for Masterpiece paintings.

There are two ways for a painting to receive one of these labels: (1) a Sim paints above their level--for example, a Sim with a painting skill of six paints a level nine painting; (2) in addition, the game also has nine paintings exclusive to the Brilliant category, and 10 paintings exclusive to the Masterpiece category.

Brilliant Painting - Value of paintings is increased by 25%

Variable  % Chance
Base 20%
Perfectionist trait +20%
Proficient Painter achievement +20%
Extra Creative Lifetime Happiness Reward +25%

Masterpiece Painting - Value of paintings is increased by 50%

Variable  % Chance
Base 10%
Perfectionist trait +15%
Proficient Painter achievement +25%
Extra Creative Lifetime Happiness Reward +15%


This is only the basic information on painting speed; in theory there is more to it perhaps?

Note that skill level and number of paintings completed have no effect on painting speed. Mood supposedly does, though specific effects are yet unknown.

  • Large paintings take 480 Sim minutes.
  • Medium paintings take 300 Sim minutes.
  • Small paintings take 180 Sim minutes.
  • Painting a portrait takes 50% longer.
  • The fabled "Dabble" interaction is supposed to take 50% longer.
  • The Perfectionist trait supposedly adds some amount of time. Reports vary.


There are 158 basic paintings. Each painting has nine variations, which can be triggered by a Sim's personality. Basically, EA ran each of the 158 paintings through some Photoshop filters (name included under "Description" where applicable) or added a color layer.

Trait Description Example
Basic Not influenced by any trait Painting basic.jpg
Artistic Painting is somewhat blurry, losing much detail (Paint Daubs filter) Painting artistic.jpg
Can't Stand Art Strokes become thicker and darker (Dark Strokes filter) Painting Cantstand.jpg
Computer Whiz Painting turns into a bunch of tiles (Patchwork filter} Painting Computer.jpg
Evil Everything gets tinted with red Painting Evil.jpg
Genius Painting becomes a bunch of single-colored polygons (Stained Glass filter} Painting Genius.jpg
Gloomy/Grumpy Everything gets tinted with blue Painting Gloomy.jpg
Insane Painting loses a lot of detail (Cutout filter) Painting Insane.jpg
Neurotic Everything gets all neon (Glowing Edges filter} Painting Neurotic.jpg
Virtuoso A slight glow is added (Diffuse Glow filter) Painting Virtuoso.jpg


While there is a degree of randomness to how much your painting will sell for, there are a few basic rules. The basic things that affect a painting's value are canvas size, skill level, number of paintings the Sim has made, appreciation over time (starting at level five), brilliant/masterpiece status, portrait, or the painter's death.

Base Values by Canvas Size

Level Small Medium Large
0 1 10 30
1 3 15 50
2 8 25 80
3 12 40 110
4 21 75 150
5 30 110 220
6 55 150 300
7 100 225 425
8 145 310 600
9 200 400 750
10 280 525 1000

Other Factors

Description Bonus
Experience Contributor Painting number is multiplied by 2, 4, or 6 (depending on canvas size) and that value is added to the painting. For example, if this is your Sim's 6th painting and it is small, 6x2=12 so the value of your painting will be increased by 12 Simoleans.
Random Multiplier The base value and experience contributor are multiplied by a random number between 0.75 and 1.25. Just 'cause.
Appreciation For level 5+ only: Skill level of the painter (at the time the painting was created) is multiplied by 0.5, 0.75, or 1.0 (depending on canvas size) and that value is added to the painting every other day for the remainder of the painting's existence. For example, if your Sim is skill level eight and they paint something medium, 8x0.75=6 so six Simoleans will be added to the value of the painting every other day.
Artist Dies Upon the artist's death, the painting's value increases by 930 Simoleans, and the appreciation rate of the painting doubles. Note that this only applies the first time the artist dies, and does not apply to any paintings painted by Sims who are already dead (ghosts) at the time of creation.
Portrait Value is increased by 40%
Brilliant Value is increased by 25%
Masterpiece Value is increased by 50%
Master Painter achievement  ?


Our subject for our still-life examples: Sleeping Gnome McMulty

The "Paint Still-Life" interaction with the easel is unlocked when your Sim reaches skill level five.

At level six Sims unlock "Paint Stylized Still-Life" and any combination of the three styles (genius, insane, or somber) depending on their traits.

Moodlets can also affect the style of the painting. For example, if you have a Sim paint a still-life while they have the lost a friend moodlet, they may do so in the somber style even if you didn't tell them to.

Similarly, some traits can influence the style of the painting. For example, an overemotional Sim may randomly paint an insane still-life.

Style Unlocked For Influencing Traits Influencing Moodlets Example
Basic Type 1 Stilllife basic.jpg
Basic Type 2 Stilllife basicbubs.jpg
Genius Genius, Artistic Genius buzzed, divine meal, intrigued, honor student, learning quickly, tranquil Stilllife genius.jpg
Insane Insane, Artistic Overemotional, Insane, Neurotic, Never Nude Stilllife insane.jpg
Somber Grumpy, Artistic, ALL level 9 painters Grumpy, Can't Stand Art desolate, disappointed, heartbroken, lost a friend, mourning, bored, embarrassed, feeling unlucky, humiliated, lonely, rejected proposal, upset, buzz crashed Stilllife somber.jpg

Also, starting at level eight Sims can "Memorize Scene" with cell phone to later "Paint from Memory."


There are three different challenges for the painting skill.

Challenge Description
Brushmaster Brushmasters have painted at least 30 paintings, and as a result, paint much faster than normal painters.
Proficient Painter Proficient Painters have proven their worth by painting at least six brilliant paintings. They tend to paint far more brilliant paintings as masterpieces than less proficient Sims.
Master Painter Master Painters have painted at least five masterpieces. Every painting they sell is worth oodles more than the work of normal artists.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Large paintings add an environment bonus from +2 to +40.
  • Medium paintings add an environment bonus from +3 to +30.
  • Small paintings add an environment bonus from +4 to +10.
  • Sims find paintings being looked at by others 50% more interesting.
  • Paintings cannot be swiped by Kleptomaniac Sims, but can be stolen by burglers.
  • When a painting is sold, there is a 20% chance of it being shown in your local art gallery.
Sims 3 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Miscellaneous Issues

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