How Do I Use Procreate

Emily Thomas

So you’ve heard about Procreate, the popular digital art app, and you’re wondering how to get started? Look no further – this article will guide you through the basics of using Procreate. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist looking to explore new artistic avenues, Procreate offers a wide range of features and tools that will help you bring your creative visions to life. From navigating the interface to understanding layers and brushes, this article will provide you with the essentials to begin your artistic journey with Procreate. Let’s dive in and discover the exciting possibilities this app has to offer!

How Do I Use Procreate

Table of Contents

Getting Started with Procreate

Downloading and installing Procreate

To start using Procreate, you will need to download and install the app on your device. Procreate is exclusively available for iOS devices, such as iPads, and can be found on the App Store. Simply search for “Procreate” and click on the download button. Once the app is installed, you are ready to begin your artistic journey with Procreate.

Creating a new canvas

After installing Procreate, it’s time to create a new canvas for your artwork. Open the app and you will be greeted with the Gallery screen. Here, you can see all your saved artworks and create new ones. Tap on the “+” button in the top right corner to create a new canvas. You will be presented with various options such as canvas size, resolution, and color profile. Choose the settings that best suit your artwork and tap “Create” to enter the canvas.

Navigating the Procreate interface

Procreate has a user-friendly interface that allows easy navigation and access to its powerful features. Once you are in the canvas, you will see a toolbar at the top of the screen with essential tools and settings. On the left side, there is the Brush Library, where you can choose different brushes for your artwork. On the right side, you will find the Layers panel, which allows you to manage layers and their properties. Explore the various menus, buttons, and gestures to fully familiarize yourself with the Procreate interface.

Understanding Procreate Tools

Brushes and brush settings

Procreate offers a wide range of brushes that can be used to create different artistic effects. To access the Brush Library, simply tap on the brush icon in the toolbar. From there, you can browse through the extensive collection of brushes or download additional ones from the online Brush Library. You can also customize the properties of each brush, such as size, opacity, and shape, to achieve the desired look for your artwork.

Layers and layer management

Layers are a fundamental part of Procreate and allow you to organize and manipulate different elements of your artwork. In the Layers panel, you can create new layers, rearrange their order, adjust opacity and blending modes, and even group them for easier management. Utilizing layers effectively can give you more control over your artwork and enable you to make changes without affecting the rest of the composition.

Selection tools

Procreate provides various selection tools that enable you to isolate specific areas of your artwork for editing or manipulation. Tools like the Rectangular, Elliptical, and Freehand Selection allow you to create precise selections, while the Magic Wand tool can automatically select areas based on color or similarity. These selection tools can be combined with other functions, such as transformation and editing, to bring more versatility to your artwork.

Transforming and warping artwork

With Procreate’s transformation tools, you can resize, rotate, and distort elements of your artwork. To access these tools, tap on the Transform icon in the toolbar. You can then use gestures, such as pinch, rotate, and drag, to manipulate the selected layer or selection. Additionally, Procreate offers the Liquify tool, which allows you to warp and reshape your artwork for unique effects. Experimenting with these tools can unlock new creative possibilities for your artwork.

Crop and resize options

Procreate provides a convenient Crop tool that allows you to adjust the size and composition of your artwork. To access this tool, tap on the Crop icon in the toolbar. You can then drag the corners or edges of the crop box to resize it. Furthermore, Procreate lets you choose a specific aspect ratio or manually enter the dimensions for precise cropping. These options enable you to optimize your artwork for different purposes, such as social media posts or printing.

Text and typography

In addition to creating visual artwork, Procreate also offers text and typography features for adding written elements to your compositions. To add text, tap on the wrench icon in the toolbar and select the “+” button in the Actions menu. From there, you can choose the Text option and enter your desired text. Procreate provides various font styles, sizes, and formatting options to customize the appearance of your text. You can also manipulate and arrange the text using the transformation tools and layer management features.

Using Procreate Features

Color palettes and swatches

Procreate allows you to create and manage color palettes to streamline your workflow and maintain consistent color schemes throughout your artwork. To access the Color Palettes, tap on the Color icon in the toolbar and swipe left to reveal the Palettes tab. Here, you can create new palettes and add colors to them by tapping on the “+” button. You can also import colors from photos or image files by using the Eyedropper tool. Having a well-organized set of palettes and swatches can help you quickly select and apply colors to your artwork.

Using blending modes

Blending modes in Procreate allow you to control how different layers interact with each other and create unique blending effects. To adjust the blending mode of a layer, tap on the layer in the Layers panel and choose a blending mode from the Blending menu. There are various blending modes to choose from, such as Multiply, Overlay, and Screen, each producing different effects when combined with other layers. Experimenting with blending modes can enhance the visual impact of your artwork and add depth to your compositions.

Applying filters and effects

Procreate offers a range of filters and effects that can be applied to your artwork to achieve different styles and moods. To access the Filters menu, tap on the wand icon in the toolbar. From there, you can choose from various categories, such as Blur, Sharpen, and Distortion, and apply the desired effect to your artwork. Additionally, Procreate allows you to stack multiple filters together and adjust their opacity for more precise control over the final result.

Importing and exporting artwork

Procreate makes it easy to import and export your artwork, allowing you to work on your projects seamlessly across different devices or share your work with others. You can import images or photos by tapping on the “+” button in the Gallery and selecting “Import.” Procreate supports various image formats, including JPEG, PNG, and PSD. When it comes to exporting your artwork, Procreate offers options such as saving as a JPEG or PNG, exporting as a layered PSD file, or sharing directly to platforms like social media or cloud storage.

Gestures and shortcuts

To enhance your workflow and productivity in Procreate, familiarize yourself with the gestures and shortcuts available in the app. Simple gestures like pinch-to-zoom, two-finger tap to undo, and three-finger swipe to redo can save you time and make the navigation process smoother. Additionally, Procreate provides customizable shortcuts that allow you to assign specific actions to different gestures or buttons on your device. Exploring and utilizing these gestures and shortcuts will make your Procreate experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Undo and redo actions

In any creative process, the ability to undo and redo actions is essential, and Procreate offers these features to help you rectify mistakes or make changes to your artwork. To undo an action, simply perform a two-finger tap on the screen. To redo an action, perform a three-finger swipe to the right. These gestures can be used repeatedly to go back and forth through your actions, providing you with the flexibility to experiment and iterate on your artwork without the fear of irreversible mistakes.

Mastering Drawing and Painting in Procreate

Choosing the right brush for your artwork

When it comes to drawing and painting in Procreate, choosing the right brush is crucial. Procreate offers a vast selection of brushes, each designed to create different textures and effects. Experiment with different brushes to find the ones that suit your artistic style and the desired outcome of your artwork. A good approach is to start with basic brushes and gradually explore the more specialized brushes available. Remember to adjust the brush settings like size, opacity, and flow to further customize the brush to your preference.

Creating smooth and precise lines

Creating smooth and precise lines is essential in digital art, and Procreate provides tools and techniques to help you achieve this. One approach is to use the QuickShape feature, enabled by default in Procreate. This feature allows you to draw basic shapes and lines that are automatically corrected to achieve smoother curves. Additionally, enabling the StreamLine feature in the Brush Settings can help stabilize your hand movements, resulting in more precise lines. Practice using these features and experiment with different brushes to refine your line work.

Adding shading and highlights

Shading and highlighting give depth and dimension to your artwork, making it more realistic or stylized, depending on your desired effect. Procreate offers various techniques and tools to achieve shading and highlighting. One method is to utilize the Brush Opacity and Flow settings to gradually build up layers of color or value. Another approach is to use the Airbrush or Soft Brush to softly blend colors together. Experiment with different brush settings, layer blending modes, and opacity to find the shading and highlighting techniques that work best for your style and subject matter.

Working with different layer blending modes

Layer blending modes in Procreate allow you to combine layers in unique ways, creating various visual effects and color interactions. Each blending mode alters how the pixels of one layer mix with the layers below it. Experimenting with blending modes can lead to interesting results and allow you to achieve different moods and atmospheres in your artwork. Try overlaying layers with different opacities and blending modes to see how they interact and how they can enhance the overall appearance of your artwork.

Using masking techniques

Masking techniques in Procreate enable you to protect certain areas of your artwork from being affected by edits or changes. To create a mask, first, create a new layer above the layer you want to mask. Then, tap on the layer and choose “Mask” from the options. From there, you can use brushes or selection tools to paint or create a selection on the mask layer. Anything painted or selected in white will reveal the layer below, while black will hide it. Masks can be used for various purposes, such as refining edges, creating subtle transitions, or protecting specific areas during color adjustments.

Exploring different brushes, textures, and effects

Although brushes are a fundamental part of Procreate, don’t limit your creative possibilities to just brushes. Procreate offers a wide range of textures, effects, and additional add-ons that can add depth and uniqueness to your artwork. From textured brushes to custom grain overlays, exploring these additional resources can inspire new ideas and elevate your artwork. Take the time to experiment and discover the many textures, effects, and add-ons available, and incorporate them into your artistic workflow whenever appropriate.

How Do I Use Procreate

Advanced Techniques in Procreate

Creating custom brushes

To truly customize your artwork and achieve your unique style, consider creating your own custom brushes in Procreate. Procreate offers a powerful Brush Studio that allows you to create brushes from scratch or modify existing ones. Within the Brush Studio, you can adjust numerous parameters such as shape, texture, dynamics, and even create layered brushes with various blending modes. Creating custom brushes allows you to have a tool specifically tailored to your artistic vision and can open up new possibilities for your artwork.

Utilizing Procreate’s symmetry features

Procreate provides powerful symmetry features that enable you to create perfectly mirrored or kaleidoscopic designs with ease. To enable symmetry, tap on the wrench icon in the toolbar and select the “Canvas” option. From there, you can choose different symmetry modes such as vertical, horizontal, quadrant, or radial. With symmetry enabled, anything you draw or paint on one side of the canvas will be automatically duplicated on the other side. This feature can be especially useful for creating mandalas, patterns, or symmetrical illustrations.

Using the Liquify tool

The Liquify tool in Procreate allows you to distort and manipulate your artwork to create unique effects or fix minor imperfections. To access the Liquify tool, tap on the Transform icon in the toolbar and choose “Liquify” from the options. From there, you can use brushes or finger gestures to push, pull, twirl, or pinch areas of your artwork. The Liquify tool is particularly useful for correcting proportions, refining shapes, or adding organic movement to your compositions.

Creating and managing custom color palettes

In addition to the built-in color palettes, Procreate allows you to create and manage your own custom color palettes. To create a custom color palette, tap on the Color icon in the toolbar and swipe left to access the Palettes tab. From there, tap on the “+” button to create a new palette and name it. To add colors to your palette, either select them from the color wheel or use the Eyedropper tool to sample colors from your artwork. Organizing custom color palettes can help you maintain a consistent color scheme or create thematic palettes for specific projects.

Animating artwork with Procreate’s animation assist

Procreate’s animation assist feature enables you to bring your artwork to life by creating simple animations directly within the app. To access the Animation Assist, tap on the wrench icon in the toolbar and select the “Canvas” option. From there, enable Animation Assist and choose the desired number of frames per second. Once animation assist is enabled, any changes you make to your artwork will be saved as individual frames. You can then play back the frames to see your artwork in motion and export it as a GIF or video file. Experiment with basic animations to add movement and storytelling to your artwork.

Adding depth and perspective to illustrations

Creating depth and perspective in your illustrations can make them more engaging and realistic. Procreate offers various tools and techniques to achieve this effect. One way is to use the Perspective guide, which helps you establish proper vanishing points and horizons in your artwork. To access the Perspective guide, tap on the wrench icon in the toolbar and select “Canvas” and then “Edit Drawing Guide.” Additionally, using shading, size variation, and atmospheric effects can also help create a sense of depth and enhance the overall composition of your illustrations.

Exploring Procreate Resources

Accessing Procreate Handbook and Tutorials

To further enhance your learning and mastery of Procreate, make use of the Procreate Handbook and tutorials. The Procreate Handbook is a comprehensive guide that provides detailed explanations and instructions for using Procreate’s features and tools. You can access the Handbook by tapping on the “?” icon in the toolbar. In addition to the Handbook, Procreate’s website and social media platforms often provide tutorials and tips to help you explore and understand different techniques and workflows.

Joining Procreate communities and forums

Engaging with other Procreate users through communities and forums can be a valuable source of inspiration, feedback, and learning. Joining online communities and forums dedicated to Procreate allows you to connect with fellow artists, learn from their experiences, and receive constructive critique on your artwork. These communities often share resources, tutorials, and challenges that can foster creativity and growth in your artistic journey with Procreate. Platforms like Reddit, Facebook groups, and Discord channels are popular places to find Procreate communities.

Watching Procreate tutorials online

In addition to the Procreate Handbook, there are countless online tutorials and video resources available that provide step-by-step instructions and demonstrations of various Procreate techniques. You can find tutorials on platforms like YouTube, Skillshare, and Procreate’s official channels. Watching these tutorials can give you valuable insights into different workflows, brush techniques, and artistic styles. Take the time to explore different tutorials that align with your interests and goals, and apply the techniques you learn to your own artwork.

Exploring Procreate’s additional resources and add-ons

Procreate offers additional resources and add-ons that can expand your artistic toolkit. These resources include brush sets, texture packs, color palettes, and more. Procreate’s online Brush Library provides a vast collection of brushes created by both Procreate and the community. You can browse and download these brushes to diversify your options and experiment with different styles. Procreate also allows you to import custom brushes, allowing you to expand and personalize your library further. Additionally, exploring texture packs and color palettes can add new dimensions to your artwork and help you achieve specific looks or moods.

Tips and Tricks for Procreate Users

Using shortcuts and gestures to speed up workflow

Procreate offers various shortcuts and gestures that can significantly speed up your workflow. These shortcuts include actions like undo, redo, copy, paste, and layer adjustments. Familiarize yourself with these shortcuts and gestures to make the most of Procreate’s features and tools. Additionally, you can customize some of these shortcuts in the Procreate settings to better suit your preferences. Understanding and utilizing these shortcuts can save you valuable time and allow you to focus more on your artwork.

Customizing Procreate settings to your preferences

Procreate provides a range of customizable options that allow you to tailor the app to your artistic workflow and preferences. Tapping on the wrench icon in the toolbar lets you access the Settings menu, where you can make adjustments such as interface preferences, gesture controls, and pressure sensitivity for Apple Pencil users. Take the time to explore these settings and experiment with different options to customize Procreate to your liking. Customizing the app according to your preferences can make your workflow more efficient and enjoyable.

Utilizing Procreate’s time-lapse recording feature

Procreate’s time-lapse recording feature allows you to capture and share the process of creating your artwork. With this feature enabled, Procreate automatically records a time-lapse video of your artwork from start to finish. To enable time-lapse recording, tap on the wrench icon in the toolbar and select the “Prefs” option. From there, choose “Time-lapse Recording” and adjust the settings according to your preference. Once you’ve completed your artwork, the time-lapse video can be exported and shared, offering valuable insight into your creative process and inspiring others.

Backing up and organizing your Procreate files

To prevent any loss of your precious artwork, it’s essential to regularly back up and organize your Procreate files. Procreate offers the option to export your artwork as fully layered PSD files, which can be saved to external storage devices or cloud storage platforms. Additionally, Procreate allows you to create custom sets and stacks in the Gallery to organize your artwork into categories or projects. By establishing a backup routine and maintaining an organized file structure, you can ensure the safety and accessibility of your artwork.

Taking advantage of Procreate’s layer blend modes

Layer blend modes in Procreate are powerful tools for creating unique and captivating visual effects. Experimenting with different blend modes, such as Multiply, Overlay, or Color Dodge, can transform the way layers interact with each other, resulting in stunning compositional effects. Don’t be afraid to explore and combine different blend modes to discover unexpected results and elevate your artwork’s visual impact.

Experimenting with different brushes and textures

Don’t limit yourself to a single brush or texture – Procreate offers a vast variety of options to explore. Experimenting with different brushes, textures, and effects can help you discover new ways to express your artistic vision and enhance your artwork. Take the time to experiment and combine different brushes and textures to create unique and captivating effects. Remember, creativity thrives on experimentation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

Common issues and solutions

While using Procreate, you may encounter some common issues or challenges. For example, experiencing lag or slow performance, encountering unexpected brush behavior, or facing difficulties with exporting your artwork. In such cases, it’s always helpful to update Procreate to the latest version, as updates often include bug fixes and performance improvements. If issues persist, it’s recommended to visit Procreate’s support page, online communities, or forums where you can find solutions to common problems or receive assistance from other Procreate users.

Procreate crashes and performance optimization

Occasionally, Procreate may crash or experience performance issues due to various factors. To optimize Procreate’s performance, ensure that you have sufficient storage space on your device, close unnecessary background apps, and restart your device periodically to clear any cached data. If crashes persist, check for updates, as newer versions often address performance issues. Additionally, it’s important to regularly save your artwork to avoid any potential loss in case of crashes or interruptions.

Recovering deleted artwork

Accidentally deleting artwork can be disheartening, but there are some options to recover your lost files. Procreate has an automatic Time Machine feature that periodically saves versions of your artwork, which can be accessed by tapping on the Gallery and selecting the “Time Machine” tab. From there, you can scroll through the previous versions and restore the desired file. It’s important to note that Time Machine will only store versions of your artwork if the piece was saved at least once.

Frequently asked questions about Procreate

Here are some frequently asked questions about Procreate:

  1. Is Procreate only available on iPad? Yes, Procreate is exclusively available for iOS devices, specifically iPads running on iPadOS. It is not compatible with Android devices or iPhones.

  2. Can I use Procreate on a computer? No, Procreate is designed for iPads and is not available for computers or laptops.

  3. Do I need an Apple Pencil to use Procreate? While Procreate can be used without an Apple Pencil, it is highly recommended for the best drawing experience. The Apple Pencil offers pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality, which allows for precise and natural drawing and painting.

  4. Can I export my Procreate artwork as Photoshop files? Yes, Procreate allows you to export your artwork as fully layered PSD files, which can be opened and edited in Adobe Photoshop or other compatible software.

  5. Is Procreate suitable for professional artists? Yes, Procreate is widely used by professional artists and has gained recognition for its powerful features and versatility. Many artists consider Procreate a valuable tool for creating professional-level artwork.

  6. Can I collaborate with other artists using Procreate? While Procreate does not have built-in collaboration features, you can share your Procreate files with other artists for collaborative work. You can export your artwork as a layered PSD file and share it with other artists who use Procreate or other software that supports PSD files.

Procreate for Different Art Styles

Creating realistic artwork

Procreate’s extensive range of brushes, blend modes, and layer management tools make it ideal for creating realistic artwork. Artists can utilize textured brushes, shading techniques, and layer blending modes to bring their digital paintings to life. Procreate’s natural brush behavior and pressure sensitivity with the Apple Pencil provide a realistic painting experience, allowing artists to achieve detailed textures, subtle gradients, and lifelike effects.

Digital painting techniques

Digital painting in Procreate offers endless possibilities for artists to create vibrant and imaginative artwork. Procreate’s painting tools, customizable brushes, and layer blending modes allow artists to experiment with various styles and techniques. Whether it’s creating traditional paintings, impressionistic landscapes, or expressive portraits, Procreate provides artists with the flexibility and freedom to explore their artistic vision digitally.

Cartoon and comic illustration

Procreate’s intuitive interface, extensive brush library, and versatile tools make it a favorite among cartoonists and comic illustrators. Artists can create bold line art, vibrant colors, and dynamic compositions using Procreate’s brush settings, layer management, and perspective tools. With the ability to create custom brushes and access the online Brush Library, artists can easily achieve different cartoon styles and experiment with various textures and effects.

Calligraphy and hand lettering

Procreate offers a range of brushes and tools that cater to the needs of calligraphers and hand lettering artists. With the ability to adjust brush settings, including pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality, artists can create elegant, flowing letterforms and intricate calligraphic designs. Procreate’s layer system and blending modes also allow for easy experimentation with different colors, textures, and effects, enabling artists to create unique typographic compositions.

Abstract and experimental art

Procreate’s features and tools make it a playground for artists exploring abstract and experimental art. Artists can utilize the vast selection of brushes, blending modes, and effects to create innovative and eye-catching compositions. Procreate’s ability to save undo history and record the artwork process through time-lapse recordings offers artists the freedom to experiment, iterate, and push the boundaries of their creativity.

Character design and concept art

Procreate provides a comprehensive toolset for character designers and concept artists to bring their ideas to life. With Procreate’s brush library, layer management, and transformation tools, artists can easily create and refine character sketches, develop detailed illustrations, and explore various design iterations. The ability to organize artwork using layers and masks allows for seamless adjustments and edits, making Procreate an invaluable tool for the iterative process of character design and concept art.

Taking Your Procreate Artwork to the Next Level

Printing and framing your Procreate artwork

Once you’ve completed your artwork on Procreate, you may want to print and display it in physical form. Procreate allows you to export your artwork as high-resolution files, which can be printed professionally or using your own printer. Consider using specialty papers or canvases to enhance the appearance and longevity of your prints. Additionally, framing your printed artwork can add a professional touch and protect it from damage. Experiment with different printing and framing options to showcase your Procreate artwork effectively.

Showcasing and sharing your work online

In today’s digital age, showcasing and sharing your artwork online is crucial for gaining exposure, connecting with fellow artists, and building a strong online presence. Procreate offers various options for sharing your artwork directly from the app. You can export your artwork as image files and post them on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or Behance. Utilize hashtags, tagging, and engaging with the art community to reach a wider audience and receive feedback on your work.

Collaborating with other artists using Procreate

Procreate’s compatibility with PSD files and its popularity among artists make it a great tool for collaboration. You can share your Procreate files with other artists, allowing them to add their artistic touch and contribute to the artwork. Collaborating with other artists can not only result in exciting and unique artworks but also provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s techniques and perspectives. Communicate and plan your collaborative projects effectively to ensure a smooth and productive experience.

Entering Procreate contests and challenges

Procreate contests and challenges are a great way to showcase your skills, gain recognition, and push your artistic boundaries. Keep an eye out for Procreate community challenges or participate in official Procreate contests. These contests often have specific themes or prompts that encourage artists to think creatively and explore new concepts. Participating in contests and challenges can be a valuable learning experience and provide exposure to different artistic styles and techniques.

Seeking feedback and critique for improvement

Seeking feedback and critique on your artwork is essential for growth and improvement as an artist. Procreate communities, forums, and social media platforms provide opportunities for receiving constructive feedback. Sharing your work-in-progress or completed artwork and actively seeking critique can help you identify areas of improvement, discover new perspectives, and refine your artistic skills. Be open to feedback and use it as a tool to enhance your artistic journey with Procreate.

By following these comprehensive and helpful steps, you will be well on your way to exploring and mastering the incredible features and tools that Procreate has to offer. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, Procreate provides the flexibility and versatility that empowers you to create stunning digital art. So dive in, unleash your creativity, and enjoy the endless possibilities with Procreate!