• Gloria Kwan

Introduction to Procreate



Just got yourself an iPad? Getting started on your digital illustration journey? Why not try out Procreate! Procreate is a digital drawing app packed with functions and brushes ready to use. It can even record your entire artistic process, allowing you to share it with the world. In this article, you will learn the basics of procreate and how to get started on your canvas!


Opening a new document

When you first open Procreate, you'll be in the gallery where you can see all the designs you've created. To create a new document, simply click the '+' button in the upper right corner and choose a size! You can either set a custom size for your canvas or select from the presets available. My personal tip is to set the canvas size bigger than you need, as you'll be able to add more details. Plus, downscaling won't affect the quality too much!


If you're looking to:

  • print your work, custom set the DPI to 300.

  • upload your artwork on Instagram, resize your canvas to 1350x1080px, or 1080x1080px for square.

Getting around

Here is a rundown of all the tools that comes along with your canvas. Really quickly, sidebar allows you to adjust your brush size and opacity and undo, redo, and modify your work. In the top menu bar, you'll find everything you need to get started, and on your right - you'll see the brush library, smudge, eraser, layers and colours. On your left, you'll see advance features that enable you to make adjustments to your art.

To move around your canvas:

  • pinch your fingers apart to zoom in

  • pinch your fingers together to zoom out

  • rotate your canvas by pinching and twisting it

  • to remove a layer completely, scrub it off by dragging 3 fingers side to side

Brushes

When you tap on the brush icon, you access a wide range of brushes.

Source: Procreate (https://procreate.art/handbook/5.1/brushes/brush-library/)


The 18 categories of brushes range from sketching pencils to vintage and even luminance brushes. Realistic or experimental, these should be more than sufficient to get you started on doodling and illustrating! 👍🏼 If you are looking for more brushes, you can even make your own in the Brush Studio (just tap the '+' icon at the top right of the brush library). 👩🏼‍🎨 🖌️🎨


You are now free to draw whatever you want but I know, I know... Attempting to draw straight lines and perfect shapes can be frustrating. But fret not! Introducing you to Quickshape, a feature that helps to 'fix' your lines and shapes. Make sure you have this feature turned on by tapping on the Wrench icon > Preferences > Gesture controls > Quickshape. Simply draw and hold, and tada! A perfectly round circle has never been easier, goodbye rulers and compasses!


Besides drawing, you can also select the smudge icon to blend, smooth out, and mix strokes. For a stronger smudge effect, simply raise the opacity slider and and lower it for a subtle effect.


Layers

Ah, layers! This might be my favourite function on Procreate. It works similarly to the layer function in Photoshop and Illustrator, where you can layer content on top of each other, but working on one layer will not affect their entire piece. This allows you to easily separate, organise and expand your work.


You can also access more features by swiping on a layer- lock it, polkadot it... I digressed. I meant to say, you can also duplicate it, or delete it entirely. You might also notice that there is a tiny 'N' next to the check box. By tapping on it, you can find even more (😱) light and colour editing features for that specific layer. The opacity of the layer can also be tweaked, which is incredibly helpful if you are tracing over something!


You can even combine layers by pinching two layers together to merge it, along with any other layers between them.

Source: Procreate (https://procreate.art/handbook/5.1/layers/layers-options/)


Colours

Here, you can choose the colour of your brush and tapping on it reveals the default colour wheel. If you are looking to have another colour for your canvas, simply choose your colour and drag it to the canvas. This will flood-fill your entire canvas!


Have a specific colour palette in mind? Create it! Do so by selecting on the colour you want in the colour picker and add it to your new palette by tapping on the section below history. Take note though, each palette holds up to 30 swatches!


Pro tips!

Finally, here are some handy tips I use all the time, and they have made my Procreate life so much easier and better! 🤩

  • For right-handers, you might prefer having the sidebar on the right. You can change that by clicking on the Wrench icon > Preferences > Right hand interface.

  • To undo, you can simple tap the screen with 2 fingers, and hold if you want to undo multiple things at once! (to redo, just do so with 3 fingers)

  • Match your eraser (or smudge) brush with your painting brush by tapping and holding on the icon. This helps to ensure a seamless style in your piece.

  • Want to mirror something on Procreate? Activate symmetry in Actions > Canvas > Edit drawing guide. Then, select symmetry on the bottom of the screen. Your drawing will be reflected on the other side of the canvas. This tip is incredibly useful and has seriously saved me sooooo much time.

  • Last by definitely not the least, make sure your time-lapse recording is toggled on for your entire creative process to be recorded. Do so under Actions > Video > Time-lapse Recording.

That's it from us for now! We hope that this is a useful tool to get you started on Procreate. Be sure to comment down below if you have more tips and tricks to share with us. Happy drawing! ☺️

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