Loren Brichter of atebits is a diverse app developer with such winners as Tweetie, Tweetie 2 and Letterpress, but he is also the man behind Scribbles.

Scribbles, as its name implies is a Mac drawing board app similar to Microsoft Paint, but with one main difference: It is powered by OS X, which makes it much more versatile and deeper than the simple MS Paint. Let’s take a closer look at what Scribbles can give you.

The Scribbles Canvas

The opening screen is a blank canvas that is totally clean. The simplicity of the design focuses the user on the four icons on the top right of the screen. This is typical of Brichter, who likes to use clean slates and focus on what is needed. The four icons are representing draw, transform, move, and zoom/scale. At the bottom of the screen, you can choose the color and width of your brush, as well as manage your scribble document layers.

The Basic Canvas

Back to Basics

What makes Scribble so engaging is its simplicity, whether it’s clean screens with minimal clutter, to simple animation and vector formatting. The easy way to resize, scale and export large resolution versions of finished works without reducing the integrity of your quality is amazing. There is a full-screen mode that lets you get right down to the fine details of your drawing; it empowers to go down to pixel level quality.


One of the big issues about drawing with a mouse is control, and we have all passed that frustrating stage at one point in our interaction with different drawing apps. The solution for this is either a pen or to use this app on a graphics tablet, preferably with pressure sensitive screen.

The drawing board provides you with the most basic set of tools and brushes, and you don’t really need more than this.

Drawing Tools

Drawing Tools

To resize your brushes, you need to scroll your mouse wheel or drag the screen set slider. You can select any color from the color picker, and this will enable you to pick a color from anywhere on the screen, or you can use the color palette for precise color:

Picking Colors

Picking colors from anywhere on the screen is a standard Photoshop tool, so this is a great addition for Scribbles.

Managing Layers

One of the best tools yet is the layer manager, this tool enables you to visually place, and re-arrange one layer on top of another. You can also adjust the transparency of any individual layer:

Dealing with Layers

Manipulating Layers

The layer manipulation tool is a bit clunky, so don’t expect to be able to adjust opacity with a percentage of accuracy, the slider is large, and while it is fun to use, it is not delicate enough to provide accurate results.

The Flexible Canvas

The vectorized canvas is perfect for picture manipulation, and since each layer is a vector within the layer of vectors, you can perform some incredible actions. The transform mode opens up a series of circles, one within the other, each circle area represents a different function, and you can scale, rotate and move your vectors from within this tool:

Pan, zoom, rotate and resize

Pan, zoom, rotate and resize

The fluidity of this screen is immediately apparent when you start to adjust the data. You are not restrained by screen size; this means that every action you take will affect the entire project. For instance, resizing your Scribbles window will resize your entire canvas. When you decide to zoom out, the canvas will fill the window as you zoom. The actions are all fluid and very user-friendly.

Presenting Your Work

You can export your finished product in a number of formats including the more popular ones such as PNG, TIFF, PDF, and JPEG, and there are a few more too. One of the nice options you have while saving is the ability to re-scale your work while exporting, and you can choose one of 4 scales; 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x or 16x.

As a member of the Scribbles gallery, (you become one automatically when you register the app.) you get to present your works among the many works presented by other users. You can also browse the gallery and get some ideas:

Scribbles Gallery

Scribbles Gallery


Scribbles is a great new app for OS X driven machines. The use of the OS X core to create such a powerful yet simple drawing device is another win for Brichter. The OS X core empowers the system to render smooth appealing strokes, making even the most rough-edged attempts appear acceptable.

This is great doodling, drawing and sketching app that will appeal to all levels of capability, from a kid to an experienced architect.

Scribbles come in two versions, the free version which is unlimited but with adds and the $19.95 version that is ad-free.