How to Draw on MacBook with These 5 Apps

Drawing on a Macbook is difficult with the trackpad and mouse, but with the right equipment, you can draw smoothly using macOS.

Whether you’re a professional artist, a graphic designer, or simply someone who is looking to draw for fun, we’re going to look at the various methods and tools that enable you to draw on your Macbook.

Choosing the Right Software for Drawing

The first you need to consider if you want to draw on a Macbook is the software you’re going to use.

This partially depends on whether you’re going to use a tablet for drawing that’s connected to your Macbook. Using an iPad with an Apple pencil makes the process a lot smoother.

However it’s not an essential, and there are still apps that you can use without having to connect to an external device.

There are numerous drawing apps available for Mac, the most well known of which is Adobe Photoshop, which I personally use. Let’s look at the most popular options.

Adobe Photoshop: For Serious Artists

As previously mentioned, Adobe Photoshop remains a top choice for professional artists and designers.

Renowned for its extensive features, Photoshop offers advanced drawing tools, brushes, and layer management.

Its compatibility with various file formats and integration with other Adobe products make it a versatile tool for complex projects.

You can also use Photoshop in combination with Adobe Fresco, which is specifically designed for illustrators and artists.

Though I must add, it’s for more advanced users. Those that are new to digital art and are just looking for a fun drawing app may be better using something else.

Procreate: Bringing the Art Studio to Your Mac

And, that “something else” could well be Procreate. Originally popular on the iPad, Procreate has made a significant impact on the Mac as well.

Known for its intuitive interface and extensive brush library, Procreate appeals to both beginners and seasoned artists.

The app supports high-resolution canvases, multiple layers, and offers an impressive array of customizable brushes.

Affinity Designer: For Precision

Another choice is Affinity Designer, which is a vector graphic design tool that is perfect for illustrative art, logos, and UI design.

Its ability to switch between vector and raster workspaces makes it incredibly flexible. The app offers precise control over curves, shapes, and lines, appealing to those who require accuracy in their artwork.

What I like most about Affinity Designer is that at the time of writing, there are no monthly costs to sign up to. This means that it’s just a one-time payment and you can start drawing.

Corel Painter: Industry Standard

Corel Painter is known for its realistic brushes and textures that emulate traditional media like oils, watercolors, and pastels.

It’s best used with an additional iPad tablet and Apple pencil as it features more advanced techniques with custom brushes and pallettes.

It’s an excellent choice for artists who want a natural and organic feel to their digital artwork. The app offers a vast range of brush options and detailed customization settings.

Sketch: Ideal for UI and UX

Sketch is a vector-based design tool widely used for UI and UX design. Its simplicity and focused feature set make it a favorite among web designers and app developers.

Sketch offers powerful vector editing tools, an extensive symbol library, and easy sharing options for team collaboration.

This is definitely more than just a simple drawing app like Paintbrush (the macOS equivalent of MS Paint). But for those looking for a little more, it’s a solid choice.

My Overall Verdict

Photoshop is renowned for its extensive toolset and versatility – when it comes to advanced graphic design like typography work, Photoshop is great. It does have a steep learning curve though, and I’ve been using it for many years.

An alternative is Procreate, which provides a much more natural drawing experience – you can use this drawing software pretty much straight out of the box and use it to draw shapes, imagery and pretty much whatever you want. It has an intuitive interface, meaning that people of all ages can use it.

For beginners that are completely new to drawing software, simpler programs like Autodesk SketchBook or Adobe Fresco are even easier to use. Consider your skill level and the type of artwork you want to create when choosing your software..

In summary, learning how to draw on a MacBook involves choosing the right software and tools, mastering basic techniques, and then gradually exploring more advanced features. With patience and practice, you can develop your skills and start creating stunning digital artwork on your MacBook.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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