There is something about pastels that I find intriguing to the point of emitting comfort. They’re colorful, but not harsh or demanding of your attention. Instead, they’re sweet, soft, almost feminine, yet vibrant enough to evoke a pleasant personality. For Mac users who want to dig into the inner beauty of pastels, there’s iPastels, an inexpensive but feature laden drawing app.
It’s not a paint app in the MacPaint vein. iPastels simulates soft chalk pastels, oil pastels, and excels at color blending to bring out the digital artist in you without the mess of chalk and oil. The app is instantly familiar thanks to a wide array of tools, brushes and color palettes.
For a modestly price Mac drawing app, iPastels has plenty of the features you would expect. You can blend colors using the Smudge or Cotton Swab tools, draw in fullscreen mode, and even hid the toolbar if it’s visually distracting.
Use the Mac’s trackpad or keyboard shortcuts to zoom and pan. Draw either paint or chalk on different layers (limited to foreground, middle, or background).
And, of course, you can create customizable color palettes to save and use again. While iPastels for the Mac is a good way to get yourself into the joy of pastels, either chalk or paint, and it’s free, though there is an in-app purchase to a Pro version which unlocks more features.
There is something of a bonus with iPastels for iPhone and iPad. The iOS version is free and unlocks more tools in the in-app Premium version which costs less than half the Mac version.