Procreate is an app exclusive to the Apple iPad that allows users to create detailed digital illustrations. It is a mighty and versatile app with endless creative possibilities.
The greatest thing about Procreate is that it is an affordable solution for digital designs on the go and a valuable tool for professionals and creatives. The app is easy to learn and use yet potent in delivering breathtaking visuals effortlessly.
If you do not know where to start with Procreate, this short guide is for you. We will cover the basics of using Procreate on an iPad and quickly set you up to embark on your journey as a digital artist. Soon enough, you’ll be a master at navigating the app – and perhaps even making your own Procreate Brushes.
How to Use Procreate for Beginners
The best way to get started with Procreate is by experimenting with the different tools and functions on a blank canvas, which allows you to learn the basics and is also lots of fun.
If you combine experimenting with some of the basics we share with you below, you will quickly get the hang of Procreate and be ready to create design after design. Just a quick disclaimer; it can be pretty addictive!
Tools and Files on Procreate
Procreate comes with a set of tool options, which add versatility to your design process. It is essential to know the function of each tool, and learning what each tool does is a significant first step to mastering Procreate.
The main design tools will be on the top right toolbar, where you will find:
- paintbrush (brush icon)
- smudge tool (finger icon)
- erase tool (eraser icon)
- layers (square icon)
- color picker to the right (circle icon)
The paintbrush is the primary tool that allows you to sketch, ink, and paint your ideas. There are various brush types to explore, and another great feature is that you can download and install new Procreate brushes to your liking.
The smudge tool allows you to blend your designs and create different effects. It is useful for blending two colors together to create a smoother design. Learning how to use the smudge tool is relatively easy and it has lots of uses for your designs.
The eraser is for erasing mistakes or, as Bob Ross called it, “happy little accidents.”
If you have used Photoshop before, layers are a familiar addition available in Procreate. For beginners that have not heard of layers before, it is a tool that creates a stack of graphics on top of each other. Layers can then be toggled on and off to edit different depths of a design.
We recommend a resource that explains layers more in-depth for those who are still learning.
The color icon allows you to easily change the colors of your design elements and mix and match them to create color palettes that can be saved for quick access. Palettes combine different colors that go well together to create your design with the desired feel.
To the left, on the sidebar, there is also an important feature. There are two sliders that are used when adjusting brush size and opacity, and there is also an eyedropper tool for sampling colors from within your artwork.
On the top-left corner are editing tools, of which the gallery is the most important. From here, you can select and save your artwork.
The magic wand icon allows you to adjust your image with functions such as Blur, Sharpen, Clone, Noise, and Liquify.
The arrow icon will enable you to manipulate your designs by stretching and moving your elements.
Each tool in Procreate has a variety of in-depth functions, and the more you use the tools, the more you will discover how to optimally implement these tools in your designs.
How to Draw in Procreate
Drawing on Procreate is reasonably straightforward and seamless. All you need to get started is your iPad. Make sure your iPad has a full battery for an uninterrupted creative experience. Once comfortable, you can open the app to create your first Procreate drawing.
The first step should be to open a new Procreate file. There are different file types based on your end goal for your drawing. But in the beginning, it is essential just to get started and have fun, and not worry too much about file types.
Note: We recommend using the stylus for your designs for a much more refined creative experience.
Tip: Procreate has a nifty function for drawing straight lines. All you need to do is draw a line free-handed and press down with the stylus at the end of the line and hold. The line will then transform into a straight line you can move around.
What to Draw on Procreate
Now that you have learned the basics of how to use Procreate, you can jump right in and experiment with the app by creating drawings. If you are wondering what to draw first, we recommend just getting started and experimenting. Do not be too perfectionistic, and let your creative juices flow.
A great way to get some inspiration is to look at other designers’ drawings to see possibilities of things to draw in Procreate.
Final Thoughts on Drawing on Procreate
Now that you have the basics of Procreate under your belt, you will see that practice makes perfect, and this will be evident over time when you compare your drawings to your first one.
There are more intermediate techniques to create stunning Procreate drawings, which you can delve into once you have mastered the basics. Procreate has no limits — except your imagination, which will stretch with every new design you embark on.
Be sure to have a look at our top picks of the best Procreate brushes to help you achieve your creative visions.
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Matt is about 80% nerd, 10% writer, 10% animal lover. His love for PC's started at the tender age of 4 and his love for animation and motion graphics fairly soon after. You can normally find him behind a computer screen or playing with his dog Rusty.