As regular readers know, I am constantly on the lookout for affordable apps for the Mac that can be decent substitutes or replacements for what I call the “big” programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, Painter, etc). I have tried and reviewed many. Some are good and some are awful. Artboard is a vector drawing program available in the Mac App Store that I would definitely put in the good category.
I say Artboard is a vector drawing program, but it is also more. In addition to the drawing tools that I will discuss in a moment it has many Print Shop type of features for those that aren’t really into drawing, but need more than a Print Shop program.
When you open Artboard you are presented with the option to start with a blank page or a series of templates. The templates include business cards, stationary, and more. Once chosen you can make you entire image out of symbols and clip art that come preloaded in the program. No need for a single drawing tool (unless you count the text tool as a drawing tool and you add text to the image).
As for the drawing tools They are great. You have you typical shape tools for easily making shapes of any shape and size and then you have your freehand tools. Drawing curves with Artboard couldn’t be easier and I wish the curve tool would come to Adobe Illustrator. The drawing experience with the curve tool and the other free hand tools are so smooth it is like the program is drawing for you.
The freehand tool for drawing is also a very smooth experience and the vector points are created as you draw. You can then go back and make adjustments as needed. Drawing with a pen and tablet would give the best results, but there is a smooth function for cleaning up the lines. However, it didn’t really smooth the lines as much as I would like. It would be nice to have a slider to control the amount a line gets smoothed for more control.
As you can see in the picture below, I drew the teeth with the freehand tool and went back and used the smooth option. It smoothed it some, but it is still rough and bumpy.
With all that said there is a learning curve. People used to Adobe Illustrator will probably have a harder time getting used to drawing in Artboard. It took me a little while to figure out how to change fill an stroke colors. I imagine those that are not used to a vector drawing program will still have a learning curve, but might have it a little easier since they are not used to another program.
Overall Artboard is a great art program for the value. You get a drawing program and a layout program in on package. I definitely recommend it.
MyMac.com Rating 8 out of 10