Photograph of a Meta Quest 2 VR headset, which can be used for virtual reality painting

What is Virtual Reality Painting?

Virtual Reality Painting (VR Painting) is, very simply put, a way of digitally creating a painting. But instead of sitting at a computer with a flat screen, you put on a VR headset and are immediately immersed in a digital environment. Moving your physical body means you are moving your digital body inside this brand new world. And by using two handheld controllers, you navigate the environment and are able to interact with items and elements around you.

There are quite a few VR headsets on the market which include: Meta Quest 2, Valve Index, VIVE, Pico 4, and PSVR 2. Some of them require a capable gaming PC or console, while others are standalone devices like consoles. No matter which one you pick, all of them provide a comparable immersive experience of leaving behind the real world.

I wish words were enough to convey the experience, but to be honest, you need to experience it for yourself. That is, words can’t do the feeling of losing yourself in virtual reality any justice. Thankfully there is a trailer for the Vermillion app that comes close to capturing the experience.

How I paint in virtual reality

To do my Virtual Reality Painting (as seen on my portfolio) I use the Quest 2. I can paint on the standalone version but often prefer painting on PC because of the higher resolution. It also allows me to record and stream my process in an easy to watch format!

I hear you say “But Sanne, isn’t it awkward to paint with controllers?” and to that I respond: not really! It’s true that controllers don’t offer the same grip as a brush, but you don’t necessarily need that to paint well. Painting is typically done by moving the majority of your arm after all. Most art teachers recommend painting from the elbow and shoulder where possible.