How to Start Painting on a Mac

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We spend so much of our working lives on our computers that it’s easy to forget that they can be an artistic outlet as well. But you don't have to be a master illustrator or shell out hundreds of dollars for drawing software just to enjoy some creative recreation. Setapp offers a range of creative apps that turn your Mac into your own private studio, no brushes required.


How to draw on a Mac

Whatever your skill level, drawing a little bit every day has clear psychological benefits. And what better way to get into the habit than to start sketching, doodling, and even painting right on your computer?

Step 1: Choose drawing software and tools

Of course, part of the fun of the digital world is that it can make so many colors, textures, and effects available. You’ll want something that gives you access to this wide range of options without being too complicated.

Tayasui Sketches is a great drawing app for the Mac. It packs a ton of functionality into a minimal interface, letting you focus on your creativity, not on the buttons. Plus, the background and brushes all give the sense of drawing on real paper, not a blank digital canvas. You can start drawing using your mouse, or attach any standard tablet for the flexibility that a stylus or Apple Pencil provide. 

Basic drawing tools to start

The best drawing app can give you a freedom to express your ideas as digital art. It provides a number of tooltip options for its paintbrush tool that mimic the effect of real paintbrushes. Simply select the brush, pencil, or marker type you’d like to use, choose your color, and start painting.

Start  draw a picture - choose your perfect brush and color

The tooltips mimic the physical qualities of different media; markers offer a thick, opaque line while watercolors are semi-transparent on the page, bleeding and fading to different intensities for a looser look. As you work with the Tayasui Sketches, you’ll get a sense of each medium’s opacity and learn how to incorporate them into your unique style.

Brushes in Tayasui Sketches

Building up a drawing

Choose the app that allows to create an unlimited number of layers to draw on. This lets you lay down foundation sketches before you come in with a paintbrush or marker. You can also experiment with different washes and overlays on top of your drawing without fear of ruining it. With layers, you can try out various styles and versions of the same painting, or even delete underlying layers for an interesting effect.

Layers in Tayasui Sketches

Watching your creative in progress

If you’d like to improve your painting and drawing, or show others how to achieve the same effect, you can record your process to review later or share online. Nobody becomes a master overnight, but by referring back to paintings you’re proud of or soliciting advice from other artists on your technique, you’ll know where to focus your effort. Plus, you’ll have the whole record of your improvement in one place.

Tayasui Sketches Community art

Step 2: Painting tips to draw faster

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with drawing and painting, you can use a number of apps to push your work to the next level.

Image color picker

How do you select an exact color to match? The fastest way is to use a color picker. It allows to click on the image to get the color of a pixel. 

Sip lets you add any color you encounter on the web to a set of endlessly customizable palettes. It seamlessly integrates with paintbrush apps for the Mac, including Tayasui Sketches, so you can use colors you sample in your own work. Color picker lets you zoom in and out to select exactly the right source shade, plus its built-in color editor lets you adjust your selected shades as needed.

SIP color picker

Retouching tools

As strong as your painting skills might be, everyone can benefit from a little post-production help. That’s where CameraBag Pro comes in. This robust image editor is set up with beginners in mind. Even if you’re not a PhotoShop pro, you can sharpen, blur, and make small corrections with ease. You might also find that the app’s extensive collection of filters add another layer of complexity to your work.

Step 3: Organize your art

Keeping track of your work can be a challenge, especially when you’re producing variations on the same image. The image managing app Emulsion lets you examine, annotate, and organize pictures in folders and cataloging  your image library using multi-level tags from a single window. You’ll be able to set up automatic tags for different projects, zoom in to the pixel level with its loupe function, and export your work in any image format. Plus, this organizer lets you size, crop, and share your art with ease, integrating seamlessly with dropbox and other cloud hosting services.

Between its flagship drawing and painting tool and its suite of helpful image enhancers and organizers, Setapp can help both beginners and experts get over MS paint once and for all. Make sure you get the right tool (and the right tooltip) for the job.

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