wikiHow to Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac

Five Methods:For KidsRecord and Playback Drawing VideoSimple But EffectiveArtsy FunProfessional Applications

One of the key demographics for Apple's Macintosh line of computers is the artist. Its intuitive interface is part of the reason, as is the early adoption by Adobe and other artist-oriented companies. MacPaint was included with the very first Macintosh sold, and paint programs have found a home on Macs ever since. Which paint program is right for you? We'll take a look at what you want to accomplish, and show you the options that will fit your needs. Read on!

Method 1
For Kids

  1. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 1
    Have fun! Kids have tremendous imaginations, and the right paint program will not just let them play, but will actively inspire them to create and tell their stories. For kids, the main things to look for are easily understood and accessed features, a playful interface, and intuitive enough so that you don't have read a 200-page manual to help them figure it all out. Here are a couple alternatives:
    • KidPix. This venerable paint application has been around since 1989. It started out as a "rubber stamp" kind of paint program. For example, click on the "cow" stamp, then click on your document, and there was a cow. Today, KidPix offers the original 2D version, and a new 3D version with animation and voice recording capabilities—still wrapped in a fun interface. It's not free, but for about $40USD, you can get the 2D version, and for about $50USD, you get the deluxe 3D version.
    • Tux Paint. This is another application targeted towards kids. The interface is easy to grasp, and useful if you want to learn how to use the mouse and draw lines. It features lots of fun graphic effects like "Confetti," which sprinkles the screen with colored dots, "Distortion" which messes up the lines, "Flower," which lets you draw flowers of whatever height you like, and much more. It does it all with a variety of stereo sound effects and the occasional penguin "voice." Best of's free!

Method 2
Record and Playback Drawing Video

  1. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 2
    MyBrushes for Mac. MyBrushes focuses on record the whole painting process and playback the drawing video anywhere, any time. It is known as UNLIMITED Size Canvas, UNLIMITED Layers and UNLIMITED Undo / Redo Steps. There are more than 100 preset realistic brushes to simulate the effect of Brush painting, Watercolor painting, Oil painting, Chinese painting, Drawing, Chinese Calligraphy, and so on. The full version is $9.9 USD. There are also versions available for MyBrushes Pro iPad and iPhone version.

Method 3
Simple But Effective

  1. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 3
    Paintbrush. This is an application that mimics early paint offerings such as MacPaint and Microsoft Paint. It's very basic, very simple, and very easy to learn. Paintbrush is an open source application, and a number of derivations are available in the Mac App Store, where some more modern-looking Microsoft Paint-like apps, such as one called Patina, can also be found.
  2. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 4
    Seashore. Like Paintbrush, this application is very simple, and very easy to use. It is very functional and useful once you learn how to work it, and is somewhat more advanced than Paintbrush; it includes such features as gradient fills (blends from one color to another), configurable brushes that are pressure sensitive for those with drawing pads, and options for every tool. You might even want to read the instructions!

Method 4
Artsy Fun

  1. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 5
    Artrage. Artrage bridges the gap between simple painting applications and more full-featured offerings such as Photoshop and Painter. It offers scalable pressure for graphics tablet users, a unique, clean, and well-thought-out interface, and a variety of useful tools. The "starter edition" has many of these features visible, but inaccessible without upgrading. The basic full version is $30USD, and the Pro version with even more features is $60USD. There are also versions available for iPad, iPhone, and older Macs
  2. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 6
    Beautiful Dorena. Admittedly more interesting than useful, the amazing graphic options and crazy sound effects within this application will keep you entertained for hours on end. One caveat with this is that Beautiful Dorena will not run on Mac OS versions 10.7 or later.

Method 5
Professional Applications

  1. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 7
    GIMP. Free is good, right? Right! GIMP is an open-source application, which means it's free, and open for anybody to add things or change things as they see fit. While it features many Photoshop-like buttons, the interface is not as streamlined, so the learning curve can be pretty steep. With it's feature set and editing power, this is a favorite application for those who either don't have the money for Photoshop, or don't have the desire to follow the crowd.
  2. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 8
    Painter. Painter is an amazing application with tools that mimic their physical counterparts: paper and canvas, brushes, palettes, pencils, chalks, oils, acrylics, and more. For the artist who loves to work with the digital analogs of traditional media, it's at the very top of the list. Retailing at $289USD, it's not the cheapest option going, but for the serious artists, it is worth every penny.
  3. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 9
    Photoshop. If you are into graphics, you know Photoshop. Photoshop, as the say, is the mac daddy of all paint applications. It has grown from a nifty little photo editing tool into an incredible (some may say notorious) digital editing powerhouse that is so ubiquitous it's even become a verb! It features the most comprehensive array of tools available, and still maintains one of the cleanest, most intuitive interfaces of all the applications. It weighs in at $699USD.
  4. Image titled Choose a Paint Program for Your Mac Step 10
    Photoshop Elements. If Photoshop is a little too much for you to take in, you can get much of the power at a much lower price point with Adobe Elements. This is primarily a photo editor, ideal for cleaning up photos from your digital camera, with an array of tools to help you crop, clean, polish, and share your photos. It retails for $99USD, so if you take a lot of photos and want them to look great, Elements is a good option.


  • Always check the system requirements of the program before downloading. To view info about your Mac go to the Apple icon in the top left corner and click "About this Mac".
  • Not required, but highly recommended for artists is a graphics tablet. Wacom is a common tablet, and has ranging from small tablets and stylus for the hobbyist to full touch-sensitive monitors for drawing directly on the screen (priced accordingly, of course!)
  • If an application does not work right away try restarting your computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Mac computer
  • Internet

Article Info

Categories: Mac