6 Simple Drawing Applications for Mac

Mac has long been referred to as the “Creative’s workshop.” The idea that most graphic designers, interior designers, video animators, and architects are more drawn to Mac may hold water to an extent. Mac attracts creatives for either of two reasons – as the traditional tool they’ve always used or its perceived high performance standards. Speaking of tradition, the first version of Photoshop was built exclusively for Macintosh users, giving Mac the first mover advantage.

And while the PC versus Mac might present an interesting discourse, this article walks the safe lines. A list of apps for Mac is all that is being discussed.

The Original MacPaint (1985)

This one’s a bit of a novelty and more about the nostalgia than broad functionality. But if you want you can roll back the years and use the original black-and-white MacPaint that came out in the 80s.

Simple Drawing Apps Mac Macpaint

You can use the Internet Archive to run MacPaint directly through your browser. Just expand it to full-screen and you’re on your way. Then just take a screenshot to save your masterful work.

You can also download the original DSK files for MacPaint from the Internet Archive, at which point you should be able to open it using Mac’s disk utility (Disk Utility -> File -> Open disk image).


This sweet and simple drawing app is certainly closer to Microsoft Paint than Adobe Photoshop on the complexity scale but lets you illustrate things that certainly wouldn’t have been readily doable on Paint. You won’t find any complexities like layers here, but within the one layer, you can do plenty.

Simple Drawing Apps Mac Patina

You can use it for basic things like cropping, rotating and making color adjustments on images, but there are lots of other options here, too, when it comes to transparencies, brush types, sketching and so on.

The elegant interface makes Patina a delight to use, and it’s compatible with a myriad of file types like PDF and Photoshop files, alongside JPGs, PNGs and the other usual suspects.

Markup Feature in Preview

Before going ahead and downloading a bunch of apps you’ve never heard of, you should try out macOS’s secret paint feature, hidden right there in the trusty Mac Preview app.


When you open an image in Preview, click the icon next to the search bar at the top right to open the ‘Markup Toolbar,’ which you’ll quickly find does a whole lot more than just marking up.

This toolbar pretty much functions like a basic paint program, allowing you to draw, scribble, make shapes and annotate the image you’re previewing. There are even some mildly more advanced functions, like Smart Lasso, which lets you accurately pick out shapes in your image.

It’s simple stuff, but it does the job when it comes to everyday tasks.


This Mac drawing holds all the aces when it comes to versatility. Sketch can be used to create professional artwork, draw and design websites and so much more.

Simple Drawing Apps Mac Sketch

Sketch is a vector-based application with several features such as a toolbar, canvas, editable shapes and so much more. I have found Sketch a bit irregular, as it may require a little background knowledge and experience in basic designing.

It’s nevertheless a user-friendly tool, even for newbies. You can blob, warp, and twirl your way into anything.


Paintbrush is a painting and illustrating application for Mac. Paintbrush is quite similar to Microsoft Paint on Windows in terms of functionality and build. Paintbrush offers some of the best freehand art experience in the game.

Simple Drawing Apps Mac Paintbrush

It does not come with the complexity or spec requirements of other third-party applications, but if you need to get a few illustrations made up for occasional doodling, this drawing application tool is all you need to save the day.


ArtBoard is a simple Mac drawing application that enables you to create minimalist and elaborate artwork for professional and personal purposes. ArtBoard offers so much in tools, features, usability components and flexibility. You can use any of its numerous backgrounds and layouts.


ArtBoard lets you work in layers, enabling you to work on different aspects of your drawings simultaneously. One of the most remarkable features of ArtBoard is the option of drag and drop, which allows you to incorporate images straight from import. Although its lack of distortion tools and shortcomings in image conversion between vector and raster is noticeable, ArtBoard remains a top drawing tool for Mac.

If you want to keep experimenting with your Mac, why not try one of these emulators that let you run Android on Mac? For you MacBook users, we have a bunch of the best docking stations to use with your MacBook Pro, too.

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