7 Best Mac Drawing Software Apps 2024 (50 Tools Ranked)

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated February 20, 2024

Expert Verified by Leandro Langeani, BBA

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Today there are 124 different Mac drawing software apps. We spent 78 hours comparing the top 50 to find the seven best you can use to draw on Mac devices.

What is the Best Mac Drawing Software?

  1. Adobe Illustrator — best of the best
  2. Tayasui Sketches — best for simplicity 
  3. Krita — best open source app
  4. SketchBook Pro — best intuitive interface
  5. Inkscape — best for vector graphics
  6. MediBang Paint — best cross-platform app
  7. FireAlpaca — best for beginners

Our Verdict — Best Of The Best

Price: Starts at $31.49/month

Adobe Illustrator is the most versatile drawing software out there. We think it’s the best of the best because of its precise color control, advanced drawing tools, and the fact that it’s vector-based.

The Best Part:

  • It saves you time. There are tons of DFY templates, brushes, and automated actions which will help you create better designs, a lot quicker.

The Worst Part:

  • There’s a learning curve. Adobe Illustrator has so many tools and advanced features that you’ll probably have to spend a few hours getting the hang of everything it has to offer.

Get it if you want the drawing software of the pros.

I recommend you get started with the 7-day free trial, then upgrade to the Yearly plan, charged at $20.99/month.

(7-day free trial)

Best For

Adobe Illustrator is best for anyone who wants to create high-quality drawings.

Top Features

  • It’s vector-based. All of your drawings that you create on Adobe Illustrator can be scaled up infinitely, without ever losing quality. You can even turn regular images into vectors!

  • Precision. Adobe Illustrator has tools like the Pen tool or the Shape tool, which allow you to draw precise lines and shapes, so that your drawings always look razor sharp, in pristine quality.

  • Layer upon layer. Adobe Illustrator works with layering, which means you can add all kinds of images, vector shapes, masks, smart objects, and more, work on each one independently, while you composite your final image.

  • On the go. With Adobe Illustrator’s smartphone app, you can work on your drawings from any mobile or tablet device, easy-peasy.

  • Pro-level shading. Adobe Illustrator's gradient tools will enable you to add depth and character to your designs with ease.

Pricing

Adobe Illustrator offers three pricing plans:

  • Monthly: $31.49/month for design enthusiasts who want a flexible plan with a month-to-month commitment.
  • Yearly — Billed monthly: $20.99/month for professionals who are in it for the long haul but don’t want to commit to a hefty upfront payment.
  • Yearly — Billed upfront: $239.88/year for dedicated artists who want the best bang for their buck with access to all of Adobe Illustrator's features and cloud storage in a single annual payment.

Annual subscriptions provide a 36% discount.

Try Adobe Illustrator today with a free 7-day trial.

Our Verdict — Best For Simplicity

Price: $9.99/month

Tayasui Sketches is an incredibly easy, yet incredibly powerful drawing software. We think it’s the best for simplicity because of its clean interface, great tool selection, and audible feedback.

The Best Part:

  • Clean interface. This app is incredibly clean, with a bunch of virtual sketchbooks, and it works wonderfully with your iPad.

The Worst Part:

  • It may be too simple for some. Tayasui is super simple, which means it won’t have as many tools as pro-grade apps like Adobe Illustrator.

Get it if you want a simple app that is focused making your life easier for drawing.

I recommend you get started with the 7-day free trial, then upgrade to the $9.99/month subscription.

(7-day free trial)

Best For

Tayasui Sketches is best for drawing free hand, simple and easy.

Top Features

  • Brushes, brushes, brushes. Set and edit opacity, sizes, acrylic or oil painting, pencils, felt pen… Tayasui Sketches does an incredible job at emulating real-life experience of drawing.

  • Social media ready. You can record your drawing sessions and share them so that everyone can see your work coming to life.

  • Audible feedback. This is one of the most charming features of Tayasui Sketches — every tool has its own sound, as you work on your canvas. So satisfying!

  • Apple pencil support. If you’re using the iOS version, you’ll get full support for Apple pencil and other styluses, for a smooth drawing experience.

  • An entire suite for your Mac. Tayasui Sketches comes in a suite of 240+ apps, one better than the other. Speed up your Mac, store everything you copy and paste, convert your files, and much more.

Pricing

Tayasui Sketches offers three pricing plans:

  • Mac: $9.99/month for full access to Tayasui Sketches and 240+ other amazing Mac apps.
  • Mac + iOS: $12.49/month for full access to Tayasui Sketches and 240+ other amazing Mac apps, for one Mac and up to four iOS devices.
  • Mac + iOS: $14.49/month for full access to Tayasui Sketches and 240+ other amazing Mac apps, for up to four Macs and up to four iOS devices.

Annual subscriptions provide a 10% discount.

Try Tayasui Sketches today with a free 7-day trial.

Our Verdict — Best Open Source App

Price: Starts with a free plan

Krita is the go-to drawing software app for the casual digital artist who doesn’t have a lot of extra money. We think it’s the best open source drawing tool for Mac because of its powerful brush engines, intuitive interface, and its huge online community of professional designers.

The Best Part:

  • It has the best brush engines. You can use a variety of brush strokes and effects for a more flexible drawing app experience.

The Worst Part:

  • It lacks many professional-grade features. Other alternatives such as Adobe Illustrator include editing tool functions as well rather than only drawing and digital painting features.

Get it if you value versatility and prefer custom brushes for drawing your digital painting and illustration projects.

I recommend you start experimenting with various brush engines and tools to find what works best for you, then use tutorials from Krita’s documentation and online community to master the software and get inspiration.

(free forever plan)

Best For

Krita is best for professional designers and illustrators who want the traditional drawing experience without compromising on the convenience and advantages of digital painting.

Top Features

  • Powerful brush engines. Use diverse effects and brush strokes and go the distance when bringing your ideas to life.

  • An intuitive layout. Customize and easily navigate with a similar interface to that of popular professional tools from Adobe like Adobe Photoshop.

  • Open-source development community. Get constant updates and software development so you can always work with the latest tools.

  • Easily available educational content. Find inspiration and tutorials to get the most out of software features and master them faster.

  • Various file formats are supported. Use Krita to create, edit, and export your work in PSD, PNG, JPG, and GIF, among other formats.

Pricing

Krita offers two pricing plans for Mac users:

  • Free: Free forever, for people seeking access to all Krita software features except automatic updates.
  • Steam: $14.99 one-time payment for professional designers and illustrators looking to support Krita developers and keep using it for the long run, receiving automatic updates for the software.

Try Krita today free for life.

Our Verdict — Best Intuitive Interface

Price: $19.99

Sketchbook Pro is a digital drawing software mainly geared towards sketching. We think it’s the best for artists because of its intuitive user interface that inspires creativity and eliminates distractions.

The Best Part:

  • It has industry-leading pen precision and control. Ideal for experienced digital artists to get the exact outcomes they want when drawing.

The Worst Part:

  • The free version of Sketchbook Pro is only available on iOS devices. You can download the free version on the App Store (compatible with Apple Pencil, with a premium app purchase option), while the paid version is the singular option available for Mac on desktop.

Get it if you want the best pen pressure sensitivity and the most precise digital drawing without spending a fortune.

I recommend you get the $ 19.99 lifetime deal then watch some tutorials to learn how to draw basic sketches with different levels of pen pressure before transitioning into more serious drawing and painting.

($19.99 one time)

Best For

Sketchbook Pro is a dedicated artist tool for graphic designers who want professional-grade graphic design software free of interface distractions.

Top Features

  • Advanced sketching tools and brush controls. Draw the most predictive strokes and enjoy the best pressure detection for your digital art.

  • A very intuitive user interface. Enjoy a seamless and simple drawing experience all while customizing different features based on your needs.

  • Multi-device compatibility. Work on your Sketchbook (Pro) drawings through various iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices.

  • Affordable pricing. You just gotta pay $19.99 one time, then you have access to all pro features and upcoming updates, for life.

  • PSD file import and export capability. Enjoy sharing your Sketchbook Pro work in PSD file format to easily collaborate with other artists and graphic designers.

Pricing

Sketchbook Pro offer a single price plan:

  • Sketchbook Pro: $19.99 one-time payment for individuals who want to always have a great little drawing software at hand.

Try Sketchbook Pro today for $14.99

Our Verdict — Best For Vector Graphics

Price: Free

Inkscape is the go-to open-source digital drawing software for vector graphics. We think it’s best for vector design because of its compatibility with other popular graphics software and its powerful vector drawing features.

The Best Part:

  • Strongest vector image drawing capabilities in the industry. Take advantage of features specifically dedicated to creating the best logos, diagrams, illustrations, and vector art.

The Worst Part:

  • The steep learning curve for beginners. Compared to other Mac drawing software apps, Inkscape is reportedly harder to use at first.

Get it if you want a drawing tool that’s mainly focused on vector graphics drawing capabilities.

I recommend you start with some of the written tutorials to get the hang of the different features and tools by creating simple drawings and observing which work best for your style.

(free forever)

Best For

Inkscape is best for illustrators who want the perfect software app for creating high-quality vector art.

Top Features

  • An assortment of vector brushes and drawing tools. Leverage paths, markers, clones, alpha compositing, gradients, patterns, and clones to create the best vector designs.

  • Great compatibility with vector drawing programs. You can use Inkscape interchangeably with other software like CorelDRAW, Corel Painter, and Adobe Illustrator, as well as seamlessly collaborate with other vector artists.

  • A very active user community. Connect with Inkscape artists on online platforms such as Reddit and Facebook Groups to get support and inspiration.

  • Efficient keyboard shortcuts. Customize programmable buttons to access your most frequently used features and commands.

  • Support for various file formats. Share your work in SVG, PNG, PDF, and EPS formats.

Pricing

Inkscape offers a single plan for Mac:

  • Free: Free forever, for people seeking Inkscape features without any limitations.

Try Inkscape today for free.

Our Top Three Picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:

  1. Adobe Illustrator —best of the best
  2. Tayasui Sketches — best for simplicity
  3. Krita — best open source app

Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:

Tool

Entry Offer

Pricing

Adobe Illustrator

7-day free trial

Starts at $31.49/mo

Tayasui Sketches

7-day free trial

Starts at $9.99/mo

Krita

None

$14.99 on Steam

SketchBook Pro

Free plan

$19.99

Inkscape

None

Free forever

MediBang Paint

Free plan

Starts at ∼$19/mo with cloud storage

FireAlpaca

None

Free forever

Here are the top 50 Mac drawing programs we considered in this review:

  1. Adobe Illustrator
  2. Tayasui Sketches
  3. Krita
  4. SketchBook Pro
  5. Inkscape
  6. MediBang Paint
  7. FireAlpaca
  8. Affinity Designer
  9. Corel Painter
  10. Clip Studio Paint Pro
  11. ArtRage
  12. GIMP
  13. Rebelle
  14. CorelDRAW
  15. Pencil2D
  16. Sketchpad
  17. Adobe Photoshop
  18. SketchUp
  19. ChemDoodle
  20. Epic Pen
  21. Paintbrush
  22. DrawPad
  23. Vectornator
  24. EazyDraw
  25. Paint Pro
  26. GrafX2
  27. Preview App on Mac
  28. Sip
  29. Gravit Designer
  30. Vectr
  31. Paint S
  32. Flame Painter
  33. BlackInk
  34. Canvas X Draw
  35. Calligra
  36. Patina
  37. ArtBoard
  38. Sketch
  39. LibreOffice Draw
  40. Pinta
  41. Adobe XD
  42. Procreate
  43. Kaleidoscope
  44. Adobe Fresco
  45. Astropad
  46. Paintstorm Studio
  47. Adobe Animate
  48. MyPaint
  49. MyBrushes Pro
  50. Apple Pages

Is there a Mac version of Paint?

Yes, there’s a Mac version of Microsoft Paint pre-installed by Apple for your device. The app is named "Paintbrush", and similar to Paint, it’s a basic tool for creating, editing, and saving images in PNG and JPG formats.

It’s a solid Microsoft Paint alternative and could be used in a similar fashion for basic drawings and as a hobbyist app for beginner digital artists.

Paintbrush has a very simple interface making it a walk in the park to navigate. Its main features include but are not limited to: color changing, cropping, resizing, painting, and drawing.

Can you do digital art on a Mac?

Yes, you can do digital art on a Mac. Mac users have access to numerous programs and tools that allow for the creation of digital art.

Your options include but are not limited to programs like those mentioned in this article for drawing (i.e. Sketchbook Pro), Autodesk Maya for 3D design, Autodesk 3DS Max for modeling, Cinema 4D for motion graphics, and Final Cut Pro for video editing.

Is SketchBook Pro free on Mac?

SketchBook Pro is not free on Mac. It requires a one-time subscription fee of $19.99 to download from the Mac App Store. On the other hand, there’s a free version called SketchBook which has limited features and is only available on iPad and iPhone devices.

What is the best drawing software on Mac?

The best drawing software for Mac can vary depending on your exact needs. If you’re a beginner who wants to have a casual design experience, Krita is a great fit to sharpen your digital drawing skills. If you’re looking for a more serious tool that is popular among professional artists across various operating systems, then you can’t go wrong with Adobe Illustrator.

You can check the top seven list a bit further down in this article for more information on what's best out there based on different use cases.

Is Mac better for CAD?

When it comes to computer-aided design (CAD), Mac devices are perfectly functional. However, the answer to the question regarding if Mac is better for CAD would depend on whether the Mac device you own matches the software requirements of the specific app you intend to use.

Is AutoCAD OK on Mac?

AutoCAD and 3D renders can run just fine on Mac devices as long as the specific hardware requirements are fulfilled. You can check out the system requirements for your Mac computer here.

Does Apple have a free drawing app?

Mac computers produced by Apple do come with a free drawing app named Paintbrush. However, since Paintbrush features may be limited, you can always download other free digital drawing software such as Inkscape, Krita, or FireAlpaca to create complex or simple drawings.

What replaced Mac Draw?

MacDraw is a discontinued drawing and illustrator software that was developed by Apple for Macintosh systems. Since MacDraw has been discontinued, excellent alternatives that come to mind are Apple's pre-installed app Paintbrush, as well as other top software drawing and editing apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, and Sketchbook Pro.

Is there a drawing tool in Pages?

Yes, there’s a drawing tool in Apple Pages. You can use it to draw with preset brushes and tools as well as edit or animate your drawings. The Pages tool is mainly a word processor, yet you can also use it to draw and annotate using your finger or Apple Pencil on iPhone and iPad devices, all while being able to sync your work with your Mac and vice versa.

Are MacBooks good for drawing?

MacBooks can be good for drawing, as they come with a variety of software options and displays that can provide high-definition pictures and a detailed view of your artwork. It does however depend on the specific model and inch version you're going for. 

Overall, a large display, long battery life, and a powerful graphics card are what you should be looking for, especially if you are considering designing 3D models and professional artwork. 14- and 16- inch screens are the biggest options you have available if you want the most screen estate.

The Bottom Line

To recap, here are the best Mac drawing software apps to try this year:

  1. Adobe Illustrator —best of the best
  2. Tayasui Sketches — best for simplicity
  3. Krita — best open source app
  4. SketchBook Pro — best intuitive interface
  5. Inkscape — best for vector graphics
  6. MediBang Paint — best cross-platform app
  7. FireAlpaca — best for beginners

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