As soon as you have some free time, you like to grab a sheet of paper, a pencil and let your creativity run wild. By now your desk is flooded with drawings of all kinds, to the point that you no longer know where to put them. For this reason and to test your drawing skills even on virtual "sheets", you would like to know a program that allows you to draw on your computer, on your Mac, and that allows you to learn digital drawing techniques. Is that so? So I don't see where the problem is: if you want, I'm here to help you and explain how to do it.
If you take a few minutes of your time, I can offer you a series of Mac drawing programs suitable for all needs and for every type of user. In fact, you must know that there are professional software to install on your computer that allow you to draw freehand using advanced tools and techniques, customizing the stroke of the brushes and taking care of every detail of the drawing; others that allow you to learn to draw on the computer with simplicity, providing the basic elements to take the first steps in the digital drawing world.
If you can't wait to deepen the topic, take five minutes of free time and dedicate to reading the next paragraphs. Identify the software that best suits your needs, carefully read the "tips" I am about to give you and I assure you that, in no time at all, you will be able to create all the designs you want on the computer. All that remains for me is to wish you good reading and, above all, have fun!
Among the programs for drawing to consider on Mac there is certainly Chalk. It is free and open source software that allows you to choose from dozens of brushes and set every single detail. It also allows you to use templates for creating comics and manga.
If you think Krita is the most suitable program for your needs, connected to the official website of the software, click on the item Download present in the top menu and presses the button Mac OSX Installer. Once the download is complete, open the file krita- [version] .dmg, drag Chalk in the folder Applications macOS and open the latter, then right-click on the program icon and select the item apri from the context menu to start it for the first time, avoiding macOS restrictions for applications from non-certified developers (subsequently there will be no need to do this).
You are now ready to draw with Krita. Then start the program, click on the icon sheet, scegli l'opzione Custom document, enter the dimensions of the drawing area and press the button Create. Alternatively, select one of the available options (Animation templates, Comic book templates, Texture patterns, Style models etc.) according to your needs and click on the button Use this template.
Once you have created the drawing area or chosen the model of your interest, click on the button Freehand brush tool (l'icona del brush) in the left sidebar and start drawing. Then select the type of stroke you prefer by clicking on one of the options available at the bottom right (Eraser Small, Basic, Basic opacity, Pencil quick shade etc.) and click on the item All to filter the available traits by category (Digital, Paint, Pixel art, FX, Erasers etc.).
If, on the other hand, you want to customize the opacity and size of the stroke, click on the options Opacity e Dimension present in the top menu, while clicking on the figure of brush in use at the top (next to the i four squares) you can further customize the stroke by adjusting options such as spacing, density, ratio, sharpness and much more.
In addition to the brush, you should know that additional features are available in the toolbar: Line tool, Rectangle tool e Ellipse tool to draw a straight line, a rectangle and a circle; Multi-brush tool to draw with four brushes at the same time; Color picker tool to capture a color to use e Fill tool to color a limited area.
Once your drawing is complete, you can export it by clicking on the item Fillet at the top left and selecting the item Export from the menu that appears. Then enter the file name in the field File name, set its format (JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, WebP etc.) by selecting it from the drop-down menu next to the option Files of type e pulsing sul pulsating Save.
Inkist Lite is one of the best free applications for drawing on Mac. It offers a simple and intuitive interface (albeit in English), equipped with all the essential tools for creating a drawing. There is also a paid version (10,99 euros) that supports connection with the graphics tablet.
To download Inkist Lite to your computer, launch the Mac App Store (The White “A” on a blue background present in the Dock bar), type Inkist Lite in the field Research present at the top right and presses the button Submit on the keyboard to start the search. Next, locate Inkist Lite (the icon of a green drop) in the search results and presses the buttons Get e Install the app to download and install it on your Mac.
Now, open the folder Applications macOS (or press the button F4 to invoke the Launchpad) and click on the icon Inkist Lite to start the program and start drawing. Then click on the icon of pencil present in the sidebar on the left, select the type of stroke from those available and set the size by moving the cursor under the item Size.
Also, by double clicking on the chosen stroke, you can set additional details such as smoothness (Softness) and opacity (Opacity). After choosing and customizing the drawing stroke you prefer, you can choose the colors to use using the color palette at the top left, with the possibility of also setting the brightness and temperature acting on the respective cursors.
In addition to the drawing tool, to erase (the icon of the rubber), to create straight lines (la baton) and define the shadows (the Sun and nuvola), proposes tools to rotate the design, to scale its size and to make cuts, all available under the heading Tools. Once your drawing is finished, you can export it in JPG, PNG, TIFF and PSD format by clicking on the item Fillet and selecting one of the items from Export PNG, Export JPG, Export TIFF e Export PSD.
InkScape is one of the best programs for drawing on Mac and is particularly suitable for vector graphics. A simple interface completely in Italian make it easy to use even for users who have less experience with computer drawing.
To download InkScape on your computer, connect to its official website and click on the icon bitten apple, then select the item dmg to start the program download. You need to know that for InkScape to work on macOS, you need to download the component as well XQuartz. Connected, then, to the official website of XQuartz, click on the item XQuarzt- [versione] .dmg and wait for the download to complete.
Now, open the dmg package just downloaded, double-click the file XQuartz.pkg e pulsing sul pulsating Continue three consecutive times, then click on the buttons Accept e InstallI inserted the password of your user account on macOS and presses the button Install software. Wait for the installation to complete and click on the button Close to close the window.
After installing XQuartz, open the dmg package containing InkScape, drag the program icon into the folder Applications macOS and restart your Mac. Start XQuartz (you can search for it with Spotlight), click on the item XQuartz present in the top menu and select the option Pref Renze from the menu that appears, then click on the item Entrance and make sure there are check marks next to the options Enable keyboard equivalents with X11 e Option keys send Alt_L and Alt_R.
Finally, click on the tab Clipboard and, if they are not present, put the check marks next to the items Enable synchronization e Update CLIPBOARD when notes change.
You are now ready to draw with InkScape. Then open the folder Applications macOS, right-click the icon of InkScape e seleziona l'opzione apri from the context menu to start the program avoiding the restrictions applied by Apple to programs coming from non-certified developers (subsequently there will be no need to perform this operation). If the program doesn't start right away, don't worry: only the first start can take a few minutes.
To start drawing, click on one of the tools available in the left sidebar, such as Create calligraphic lines or brush strokes (l'icona della fountain pen) or Draw freehand lines (l'icona della pencil). Then set the brush stroke using the options available at the top (Width, Incidence, Angle, Thinning etc.), while using the color palette below you can choose the color to use.
To save your drawing, click on the item Fillet present at the top left and select the option Save eat from the menu that appears, then click on the drop-down menu at the bottom left, set the file extension (SVG, PNG, PDF etc.), specify where to save the drawing and press the button Save.
If you prefer a more professional solution for vector graphics, Illustration is the program for you. It is developed by Adobe and allows you to create drawings using a wide range of built-in brushes and tools to take care of every detail. It is available in a 7-day free trial version, after which you need to subscribe to Creative Cloud starting from 24,39 euros / month.
To download the trial version of Illustrator, connected to the Adobe website and click on the item Free trial version present in the top menu to start the download. Once the download is complete, open the dmg package containing Illustrator, double-click the file Illustrator installer and inserted the password of your user account on macOS to start the installation.
In the newly opened window, click on the button Log in and enter your Adobe account login credentials. If you don't have one yet, select the option Subscribe, enter your data in the fields Name, Surname, Email address, Password e Birthday e pulsing sul pulsating Registration. Now, click the button Start installing, wait for the installation to reach 100% and that's it.
Now, launch Illustrator and click the button Create new to create a new canvas, then select the option Graphics and illustration and select one of the predefined templates (Postcard, Posters, A4, Letter etc.). Alternatively, enter the dimensions in the fields Width e Height present in the sidebar on the right and presses the button Crea.
To start drawing, click on the button Brush tool (l'icona del brush) present in the toolbar on the left and set the details of the stroke using the options Track, Opacity, Fx (for effects) visible on the right. Instead, click on two colored squares (bottom left) to open the color palette and choose the brush color.
In case of errors, click on the button Eraser tool (l'icona della rubber) to cancel while selecting it Selection tool you can modify the single elements of the drawing and move them to a new position. Once your drawing is complete, click on the item Fillet present at the top left and select the items Export ed Export as to save the drawing in one of the available formats (PNG, TIFF, PSD, JPG, SVG, BMP etc.).
Other Programs for Drawing on Mac
Did the solutions I proposed in the previous paragraphs not completely satisfy your needs? No problem here is a list of other programs for drawing on Mac that you can take into consideration.
- Autodesk SketchBook: is a professional tool for drawing on the computer and is also very popular as an application for drawing on the iPhone / iPad. Developed by Autodesk, the same maker of AutoCAD, SketchBook offers a huge range of features and tools for drawing, such as the customizable stabilizer to make hand drawn strokes uniform. It is available for free.
- GIMP: the famous photo editing program, considered by many to be the best free alternative to Photoshop, also allows you to draw freehand by choosing from numerous brushes and dozens of strokes. To learn more about how it works, you can read my guide on how to use GIMP.
- Corel Painter: is a professional program for digital drawing and painting. In addition to a huge set of drawing tools, it offers advanced features, such as mirror painting that allows you to paint symmetrical figures, the kaleidoscope function and the ability to transform drawings into works of oil painting. It comes in a free 30-day trial version, after which it costs $ 429.
- Paintbrush: it is the ideal solution for those who have no particular needs other than to create basic freehand drawings. It offers an easy-to-use interface and in many ways resembles the Paint program available for Windows. It's free.