Free Paint program for Mac OS X

As most of you might already know, I really like Apple products, especially their shiny new computers with Mac OS X. They keep saying its read out-of-the-box and you can do whatever you want from Day one. no other software necessary. its actually true. but there is one software missing that I can't beleive they did not include. Its a Paint program. There is no paint program shipped with Apple. I suppose its because most Apple user used to be designer and all needed Photoshop. but I don't need photoshop, I don't want to pay for it and I don't want to pirate it either.

So here comes, I have taken a screenshot for my desktop (for my next post) onto my clipboard and I need to paste it somewhere. Holding onto my paste I am hunting down Free Paint software for OSX.

I actually found quite a few.

First google result returns TuxPaint, some kind of kiddish paint program. Probably very good for 3-5 years old kid who wants to learn how to use the mouse and draw stuff. but ain't really what I was looking for.

Then I remembered the obvious The Gimp. Being a Linux user for many years, I know The Gimp as the de-facto imaging program under linux. But The Gimp still requires X11 to run, which is not as slick as I would expect and X11 also prevented me from pasting my image contect onto the gimp. BAD. Good news is that it got much faster than it was last year. anyway, lets move on.

ArtRage another totally different alternative. I could not do what I wanted but I discover what many people might like to play with. The paint tool is a pleasure to use. for all the artistic people within you, try this one out. its something to see going.

more seriously there is Seashore which is a port of the Gimp apparently. Mac-ized. Pretty sweet. I've done what I needed pretty quickly. It also got much stabler that last time I tried it, about a year ago. definitely a good pick.

and The one that is gonna stick into my applications folder. Pixen. just like Seashore I've been able to do what I needed. but it just look slicker. ain't a port of something else. worked perfectly. well actually now that I remember correctly, it crashed on the first paste. but I restarted the application and it worked fine.

so conclusion both Pixen and Seashore are good pics. ArtRage deserve a try for his artistic behaviour and if you got a kid you might want to install TuxPaint, just and only for him ;)

Happy painting ;)

Update: apparently PhotoShop Elements is also very good and inexpensive (ie. cheaper than Photoshop ... $150US) but I have not tried it as I was looking for something Free.

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Posted in , , | Posted on 03 Oct 2006 17:00by somekool |


  1. Claire Says

    Well, I'm 38 and have got Tux Paint on my Mac. Its capable of producing some quite startling results if you know how. I also have Artrage (free version, but going to upgrade once I get paid), and I have Seashore.

    I had a look at Pixen, but it still seems too buggy for me.

    Good to know that I'm not the only one looking for freebies!lol

  2. Nathan Says

    Thanks for this quick run down. Was just being asked by a friend about a free paint program without having to drop even the $$ needed for Photoshop Elements. Great suggestions!

  3. Says

    August 2007 South Wales UK. I use windows paint for resizing pixels for my art site and was considering buying a Mac but - because there was no paint prog I have had second thoughts. I use Paint for dozens of jobs -designing gardens, making maps, designing brochures for my self catering business and can't imagine not having it. So thanks for this information.

  4. todd Says

    I was just on the apple website looking for the same "paint"-like software. they have something called "paintbrush" for free download. Going to try it right now.

  5. t Says

    try paintbrush on apple website.

  6. o Says


  7. Moving to Florida Says

    Thank you for the information. I am transferring from PC to MAC and having a really hard time. When you used to something, it's hard to break old habits. Your post helped me a lot. Now, i am learning the Pixen program.


  8. samantha Says

    Thank you so much for this post! I think I'll try Pixen (the name sounds cute!) When I got my mac I really liked all the fun programs but I was so mad that I couldn't just copy and paste pictures! I just wanted to clip photos and things! I'm so glad you put this information out. It's very helpful :)

  9. leon Says

    thx for sharing also here is a link for screen capture

  10. iQuack Says

    There's also PAINTBRUSH which is good for some things. Simple and fairly intuitive.

  11. TheRandomHERO Says

    thanks alot for this, fulfill'd everything i was looking for.

  12. beginner Says

    Thanks very much, I am a beginner, it is more than I need at the moment.

  13. Zoe Says


  14. Kevin Barrack Says

    Thank you for this very helpful post. Two years old and it's still helping!

  15. Allie Says

    GRACIAS! I needed a fairly simple program similar to Microsoft's "paint" that was free. (there is no way I am spending that much on photoshop!) You gave me just what I needed! thanks again!

  16. Riley Says


  17. dana Wesley Says

    Thanks soooo much for the tips- so helpful! :)

  18. Rob Says

    thanks for the suggestion!

  19. Elle Anderson Says

    I clicked on this because it said that I could download paint. When I clicked on it, I couldn't find where to download it. You need to fix that!

  20. Esther Says

    Super awesome! I was kinda disappointed when I realized that my shiny new Mac didn't come with a simple paint program. Thanks for the suggestions! =)

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  22. Angelique Says

    Thank you so much for your help!

  23. Catherine Says

    hey thanks a bunch. I just tried Seahorse and it's nice!

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    This is the greatest topic I have read today

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    Great blog post, I have been waiting for that

  28. programy Says

    I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic

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  30. Mac Jack Says

    Why don't you just take a screen shot which is saved as a PNG file on your desktop (command-shift-3) and then you wouldn't have to use any specific program at all? Anyways, thanks for your helpful post.

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