The "ellipse tool" is actually the "Ellipse Selection tool" in GIMP:
by using it you create a Selection on the image.
Selections in image drawing programs, including GIMP, are not part
of the visible image per se (they are indicated by the "marching ants" boundary,
but are invisible in any saved or exported version of the image) -
rather, selections delimit areas which can suffer alterations by other
tools and filters, so that one can limit the application of a filter
to the selected area of the image. As in text-based applications, they also denote
the area of the image that will be copied in a edit->copy, paste sequence.
However, GIMP has got a simple command to commit the border of a selection
as part of the image: just hit the
Stroke Selection... option on the
Edit menu. You will be presented by a dialog box where you can fine tune the desired line style, and pressing OK there will actually draw the active selection (an Ellipsis if you had
drawn it with the Ellipsis Selection Tool) into the image.
For more information, please check: http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-selection-stroke.html
I should further mention you can fine tune the paintbrush options and even the Painting Dynamics to fine tune the boundary color to a vast possibilities of painting effects - but simply hitting "Ok" in the dialog that shows up under the
Stroke Selection command will render a nice ellipse, in the current active foreground color.
In time: since you want the letter "Q" you will probably want the extra crossing glyph, beyond the ellipse: I'd say you to use
Selection->To Path to get your ellipse as a Vector stroke, and then use the Bezier tool (a.k.a. Paths tool) so that you can complete the "Q" as part of the same vector that contains the Ellipse. Proceed like this:
- Draw the elliptical selection with the Ellipse Selction tool
- Promote the selection to a path, (
- Unmark the ellipses selection with
- Open the Paths dialog (
- Mark the ellipse path as visible, by clicking at right of the thumbnail of the Path named
selection in the Path's dialog. To do that, you click on the space directly below the word "Lock" - that should make its outline visible on the image, and put an "eye" icon its entry in the Paths dialog, just as it works for Layers. The outline shows up in red color in the image, but just as the selection, it does not belong to the visible image: it is just a marking outline.
- Switch to the Paths tool (click on the tool box, or
- Click on the path outline on the image. The control points used to mark the Bezier curves drawing the ellipsis should be displayed as small translucent circles. You won't need to move them, but they indicate that you can now add more line segments to the same path
- Mark the stroke completing the "Q" by clicking and adding two extra control points in the correct places of the image
- Optionally drag and bend the new line segment until it suits you (
ctrl+Z will undo the latest changes to the path, so don't be afraid to try modifying it as you want)
edit->Stroke path command to actually get the pixels drawn:(Path and Paths dialog shown, after stroking it with "Use a paint tool" option in the Stroke Vector dialog, and selecting the Paintbrush tool, and in its options the "Bristles 02" brush (ships with GIMP) and size 26px)
Make the path you used as guide invisible again, by clicking on the Eye icon in the Paths dialog and pick any other tool than the Paths tool in the toolbox.
(check the Paths dialog and Paths Tool in the manual, if you can't figure out how they work)
After drawing the "Q" as a Path, you can use the command
Edit->Stroke Vector instead of the similar mentioned
Stroke Selection to render the pixels.