When I stumbled upon the EazyDraw stand at this years Mac Expo in London, I was intrigued. As a long time Freehand user, I had dabbled with Illustrator and earlier this year reviewed Lineform. Finding another alternative drawing and illustration package that claims to 'bring the fun back into drawing' was well worth taking for a spin.
Installation is as simple as dragging the application icon over to a suitable place on your Mac. The version I am reviewing here is 2.1.3 and upon first launch you are asked to enter your license code (or indeed use in demo mode). The interface presents itself with large, colourful icons, and right from the start you know you are in for a treat.
All of the basic drawing tools are available, for creating squares, boxes, ovals, text, bezier curves and the like. The icons within your tool panel are very colourful and almost comic-like in appearance, with each really needing no explanation of what they do. If you do need extra information, hovering your mouse pointer over each tool shows you a text description of the tool function.
Where EazyDraw differs (and adds in that fun element) is in the way you manipulate these objects. Just take a look at my screenshot of rotating an object, this is just superb, you just click and drag to select two control points, release the mouse button, then rotate the object to the desired angle. The function is so well designed and so intuitive it allows even the most inexperienced user to understand what they are doing. For this alone, EazyDraw should be commended.
If you want to dig deeper into the more advanced features of the application, there is a folder of tutorials that you can refer to. The tutorials explain things like creating blends, flowcharts, using grids, and using transparency, the list of topics covered is very thorough. The 'Road and Intersections' tutorial was of personal interest, as I create a lot of maps. It shows you how to create a simple intersection, but also a really neat timesaver in the form of the Ribbon tool. When you cross one road with another, the Ribbon tools creates an open intersection, something I always had to do manually in Freehand. If you need more information about an object in your work area, you simply select it and then click on the Details icon, which shows you the various attributes for the object.
Text entry was a mixed bag for me, mainly because it works a little differently to what I am used to. You have to draw a text box out on the page, making a container for your text. This is OK, except when I then tried to apply a fill to my outline text, it filled the whole container. You can correct this, but I am so used to just being able to click an area on my work area and start typing. So, this is not necessarily a bad thing, just not very intuitive. On a more positive note, EazyDraw offers some great text features. It can spell check what you type on-the-fly, underlining any suspect words. You can also get it to spellcheck a whole text entry after you have finished typing, or even get it to speak back what you have typed. All these extra features are really nice touches and the spellchecking is really useful. Handling of file formats is great too, with all the major formats supported including PDF, EPS, TIFF and JPEG to name just a few, you can also import from MacDraw and ClarisDraw.
Whilst you are using EazyDraw you find yourself drawn into (excuse the pun) the application and actually enjoying what you are doing. Drawing actually becomes fun again and the way many of the features work brought a smile to my face, leaving me thinking "Now why didn't Freehand do it like that". Anything from basic illustrations, right up to very technical drawings can be achieved. EazyDraw is suited to the beginner, at any age, right up to the more demanding user. If you want to use an alternative to the mainstream applications and re-introduce some fun to your work, the you should really check out EazyDraw.
EazyDraw is the work of Dekorra Optics. The application is a universal binary, supporting both PowerPC and Intel based Mac. It retails in various forms, with licenses ranging from $20 for a 9-month version, $95 for a full license and $119 for a CD version.
Supplied by: Dekorra Optics
MSRP: $95 full version