A to Z of Procreate: Tips, Tricks and Hacks! (2023)

A to Z of Procreate: Tips, Tricks and Hacks! (1) Kezz Bracey

Read Time: 11 min

Procreate

The Procreate app for iPad is not just the killer mobile app for artists—it’s genuinely one of the best painting programs ever released.

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So What Is the Procreate App?

In this A to Z of Procreate, I'm going to answer that question with 26 mini Procreate tutorials, as well as Procreate tips and tricks that will demonstrate why it’s so popular among digital artists today.

What You Will Learn

Among the things you’ll learn are:

  • How to add new brushes in Procreate
  • How to install new fonts and style text
  • How to blend and erase while maintaining texture
  • How to change opacity in Procreate
  • Tricks for working with palettes and colors

And if you’d rather watch than read, check out the video version on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube Channel:

A is for Add New Brushes

You can add new Procreate brushes to the default collection by opening the Brush panel and tapping the “+” button:

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Then tap the Import button:

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Browse for and select a compatible brush pack:

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You’ll then see the brush pack appear in the Brush panel:

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You can find over 150 of the best Procreate brush packs in the dedicated Procreate section at Envato Elements.

(Video) A to Z of Procreate: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks!

B is for Blending Modes

Procreate has 26 different blending modes you can apply to layers.

By default, a layer’s blending mode will be set to “Normal”, as indicated by the letter N to the right of the layer name:

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To change to a different blending mode, tap that letter N and a list of all available blending modes will expand for you to choose from:

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Image source: https://elements.envato.com/towels-background-TPCAHTH

C is for Changing Opacity

It’s not immediately obvious how to change opacity in Procreate, but it's easy once you know how. There are two ways to get there.

The first is to open the Layers panel and tap on the blending mode indicator. Once you do that, a space will open up showing an opacity slider at the top:

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Alternatively, you can two-finger tap on the layer and an opacity indicator will appear along the top of the canvas. Slide your finger to the left on the canvas to decrease opacity and to the right to increase it:

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D is for Drag & Drop to Fill

If you’d like to know how to fill in Procreate, it’s super easy. All you have to do is drag your active color from your palette and drop it into the area you want to fill:

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If there’s a little jaggedness around the edges, hold for a moment before dropping the color and drag to the left or right to control how the edge of the fill is placed:

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49 hand-drawn line art graphics: https://elements.envato.com/49-hand-drawn-line-art-U7M2ZRT

E is for Erase & Blend With Matching Brush

When you’re painting with a textured brush, you don’t want to ruin that texture by erasing with a regular round brush.

Instead, erase with a matching brush by tapping the eraser icon twice to open its panel then choosing the same brush you’re painting with:

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Now, when you erase, your textured style will remain consistent:

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If you’re wondering how to blend in Procreate, the process is the same, so you can blend with a matching brush as well:

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F is for Fonts

Procreate makes font installation a simple matter of drag and drop.

Download some fonts for Procreate, and for that purpose you can choose from over 18,000 fonts available at Envato Elements. Any TTC, TTF, and OTF files are compatible:

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Then open up the Files app and Procreate side by side, and just drag and drop the fonts onto the canvas to have them automatically imported:

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Add text to your design by tapping the wrench icon, and under Add, choose Add text:

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Select the text, and then open the Edit Style panel by tapping either the font name or weight:

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Here you can choose from among your Procreate fonts, set a weight, control the sizing, spacing, and opacity, and set the alignment:

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G is for Grouping Layers

Layers in Procreate can be grouped by swiping right on each layer you want to add to a group, and then tapping the Group button at the top right:

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Groups allow you to move and resize multiple layers at once, as well as moving multiple layers up and down in the layer stack at once.

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H is for Harmonies

Selecting colors that harmonize is easy through the Color panel.

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Open the Color panel and switch to Harmony at the bottom. You’ll see multiple reticles, the largest of which is your currently active color. The other reticles are colors that harmonize with the active color. Click a different reticle to set that color as the active one.

(Video) 8 Fun things to do in PROCREATE on your iPad

Switch between five different color harmonies by clicking the current harmony name. Move the active reticle, and all the other reticles will move to maintain the selected color harmony.

I is for Instant Palette

You can instantly create a Procreate color palette from any photograph.

Open the Color panel and switch to Palettes at the bottom.Click the “+” button at the top right and choose New from photos:

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Select a photo, and Procreate will automatically extract colors from it and add them to a palette:

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J is for Just Tap

All you need to do to undo changes in Procreate is tap anywhere on the canvas with two fingers.

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Conversely, you can redo steps by tapping with three fingers.

And a four-finger tap will hide the interface or show it again.

K is for Photoshop Killer?

Procreate can be purchased for an astoundingly low, one-time, flat USD $9.99. That’s the price of a single month of Photoshop.

This massive difference in price leaves a lot of people wondering about Procreate vs. Photoshop. Could you use Procreate as a Photoshop replacement?

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It depends on what you use Photoshop for, but in many cases, yes, you could use Procreate as a replacement.

If you are primarily a digital painter, you could most definitely switch to Procreate. Likewise, if you need software for frame-by-frame animation, photo manipulation or photo-bashing, hand lettering, or even pixel art, there’s a very good chance Procreate will be able to adequately replace Photoshop for you.

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Forest cabin: https://elements.envato.com/forest-cabin-6Z9TWDN

Traditional slate roof: https://elements.envato.com/traditional-slate-roof-in-norway-PHJ5WXT

L is for Line Art

If you are working with line art and don’t want to accidentally make changes to it while coloring, you can take advantage of the Reference function.

Tap the layer with line art on it, and then activate the Reference property.

Now, if you drag and drop colors onto other layers, the fill will stay inside the line art, as though everything was on a single layer:

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M is for Masking and Clipping

To create a mask for any layer, just tap that layer and then choose Mask from the popup menu:

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A mask layer will then be added above. Paint in black on the mask to hide parts of the active layer, in white to show it, and in gray for transparency:

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To use a clipping mask, add a layer above the layer with the shape you want to use for clipping. You can paint on the new layer before or after activating clipping. When you’re ready, tap the layer you want to act as the clipping shape and choose Clipping Mask:

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Anything you paint on the clipped layer will only show if it’s within the bounds of the clipping shape:

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Red sandstone: https://elements.envato.com/red-sandstone-rock-background-texture-valley-of-fi-K7B5N4X

N is for No Line Wobble

To help with your Procreate drawing or line art, brushes have a line smoothing setting called StreamLine. The more you increase the setting, the smoother your lines will be:

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Access the StreamLine setting by selecting a brush from the Paint menu, and then tapping it a second time to open up its settings. The StreamLine setting is located under the Stroke path tab:

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O is for Open the Quick Menu

Procreate has a six-item radial menu called the Quick Menu. To activate it, tap the wrench icon, go to Prefs, and choose Gesture controls:

(Video) Why Your Lines Look Bad In Procreate - And it's Not What You Think (Procreate Tips)

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Go into the QuickMenu tab, and then choose the gesture you want to use to open the QuickMenu:

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Once you open the QuickMenu, you can customize any of its items by long-pressing them and then choosing a different action:

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P is for Paint With Filters

Rather than filters being applied to whole layers, you also have the option to paint the areas in which you’d like a filter to take effect.

Tap the wand icon, choose an adjustment filter, and then tap the pencil option:

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Start painting on a layer, and the filter will affect only the areas you paint, with the intensity determined by the pen pressure:

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Race car: https://elements.envato.com/race-car-speeding-along-highway-TDYC7WN

Q is for Quick Shapes

Procreate doesn’t have dedicated shape drawing tools, but what it does have is Quick Shapes.

Draw out any shape, as roughly as you like, and hold the pencil in place at the end of the last line:

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The lines will automatically snap into perfect straight lines, or curves if you drew an ellipse. From here, you can move the position of your pencil to change the rotation and size of the shape. Before you lift the pencil, if you place a finger onto the canvas as well, the proportions and angles of the shape will be adjusted and can form perfect squares and circles.

R is for Reference Box

You can easily keep your reference images on hand while working by tapping the wrench icon, choosing Canvas, and then toggling on the Reference option:

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A box will appear, into which you can import any image:

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S is for Snapping

When making transformations, activate snapping to get some very useful assistance for moving, scaling, and rotating.

Turn on Magnetics to activate blue guidelines that behave like railroad tracks, giving you some stickiness when you move along those lines and helping you with repositioning:

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Turn on Snapping to snap to the edges and center points of other layers, and of the canvas, as well as snapping for rotation increments:

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T is for Two Brushes

You can mix any two brushes into a single "dual“ brush.

Select your first brush, and then swipe right to select another brush from the same set. Tap the Combine button at the top of the panel:

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You’ll then be able to paint with both brushes at the same time:

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U is for Unstacking and Stacking

“Stacks” in Procreate are a way of organizing your documents into categories within the Gallery.

To create a stack, long-press a document to select it. Optionally, tap other documents to add them to your selection. Then drop the documents onto another document to create a stack. Tap the stack name if you’d like to rename it.

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To unstack documents, first go into a stack by tapping it, and then long-press a document to select it. Again, you can optionally tap other documents to select them too. Then drag the selection up to the top left and hold it over the stack name. After a moment, you’ll be taken out of the stack and into the gallery, where you can release the selection to drop them back into the top level.

V is for Video Time Lapse

Procreate can capture a time-lapse video of your works, with no noticeable impact on the performance of the software.

To activate video recording, tap the wrench icon, go to Video, and toggle Time-lapse Recording on:

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When you’re done with your piece, go back to the same place in the menu and tap Time-lapse Replay to watch your time-lapse video back. Or tap Export Time-lapse video to generate a video file.

W is for Warp and Distort

Procreate has powerful warping and distorting functionality that lets you remold the shape of any layer. To access both functions, tap on the arrow icon to open the Transform Toolbar:

(Video) A to Z of Sketchbook Pro: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks!

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Distort is the third tab on the toolbar and is great for doing things like modifying the apparent perspective of a shape, while maintaining the appearance of flatness:

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Warp is the fourth tab and is excellent for more detailed manipulation that changes the curvature of the shape:

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Cube: https://elements.envato.com/cube-ETXSDLZ

Sphere: https://elements.envato.com/sphere-UKWXBY

Brick: https://elements.envato.com/orange-brick-wall-textured-background-2HQE3WK

Metallic texture: https://elements.envato.com/metallic-texture-4P4P3G7

X & Y are for XY Axis Drawing Guide

Get your lines perfectly aligned into the X and Y axes by using the 2D grid drawing guide.

Tap the wrench icon, go to Canvas, toggle on Drawing Guide, and then tap Edit Drawing Guide:

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From here, under 2D Grid, set the grid size you want, activate Assisted Drawing, and then tap Done:

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Now, all the lines you draw will be locked into precise alignment:

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You can also use the same technique to assist you with drawing isometric lines, perspective lines, and in symmetry:

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Z is for Zoom and Rotate

You can zoom and rotate your entire image by tapping the wrench icon, going to the Canvas section, and choosing using the Crop and Resize function:

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To zoom in on the image, drag the light gray handles of the canvas inward, and drag it around to reposition it. And to rotate the image, tap Settings, and then in the dropdown panel that appears, drag the Rotation slider left or right:

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Wrapping Up

So that’s the A to Z of Procreate: 26 of the coolest features, tips and tricks to help you take full advantage of the software.

And to help you along with Procreate even more, get yourself stocked up with a great big stack of brushes, fonts and other assets to use with it over at Envato Elements.

Did you find this post useful?

A to Z of Procreate: Tips, Tricks and Hacks! (174)

Kezz Bracey

(Video) How to Use Alpha Lock, Clipping Mask & Layer Mask in Procreate - Procreate Tips

Hi there. I'm a designer & coder who works in the areas of web design / development, game development and digital art. In the web space I'm a front end all rounder but I have a particular specialization in theme creation, no matter the platform. I also love finding the latest most efficient, user focused design and dev techniques of the day.In game development I'm addicted to playing with every different engine, toolset and framework I can find. In digital art I love everything from painting to vector work to pixel art to 3D modelling.In short, if it's creative and you can make it digitally, I love it.

FAQs

What cool things can you do on Procreate? ›

12 Cool Things to Draw on Procreate if You're in a Creative Block
  • Watercolor Painting on Procreate. Flowers. Cartoon Animals.
  • Risograph Effects on Procreate. Abstract Art and Prints. Funky Cartoon Illustrations.
  • Gouache on Procreate. Portraits. Handmade Still Life.
17 Feb 2022

How do I improve my Procreate skills? ›

15 Procreate Tips and Tricks For Beginners
  1. 1# Create Perfect Straight Lines and Shapes Every Time. @rheatibbey. ...
  2. 2# Fill Shapes in One Simple Step. ...
  3. 3# Make Your Own Custom Procreate Brushes. ...
  4. 4# Use Liquify to Warp Your Illustration. ...
  5. 5# Alpha Lock Tool. ...
  6. 6# Use Blend Modes. ...
  7. 7# Create Custom Color Palettes. ...
  8. 8# Opacity Slider.
30 Jun 2022

What to draw on Procreate easy? ›

9 Procreate Drawing Ideas For Beginners
  1. Flowers and Plants.
  2. Simple Animated Art.
  3. Recreating Photos Into Digital Watercolor.
  4. Abstract Designs.
  5. Handcrafted Lettering.
  6. Tattoo Designs.
  7. Personalized Drawings.
  8. Water Droplet Drawing.
27 Jan 2022

Can you pose 3D models in Procreate? ›

Now, with the new 2.7 update, 3D models can be easily brought into Procreate for detail and painting.

What should I draw ideas? ›

Drawing Ideas: Imagination
  • Draw an object and give it a face.
  • Create an alternate cover to your favorite book or album.
  • Illustrate a scene from your favorite song.
  • Draw a scene or character from your favorite book.
  • Illustrate your favorite fairy-tale.
  • Invent your own insects.
  • Draw an intricate made up flower.
28 Nov 2018

What age is Procreate for? ›

Minors over the age of 13 can register for and use the Site, but are restricted from viewing any content marked as Mature according to section 4.

Is Procreate for life? ›

At the time of this writing, Procreate is only $9.99 for lifetime access. No monthly subscription, add-ons, or hidden fees. You can buy additional brushes and color palettes to use with Procreate, but you can use the entire app to its full capabilities with just this one purchase.

How long does it take to master Procreate? ›

One month is enough to get fairly decent at a new skill. Committing to a challenge publicly and sharing your progress as you go may help you stay consistent.

Is there a blender in Procreate? ›

In the brush settings, under the DYNAMICS section you will find a WET MIX option. This is where I create my blender brushes. Basically any brush that uses the Wet Mix is a form of blender brush. This section provides more settings to work with than just the simple 0-100 option that the smudge slider gives.

How do you get a 3D body in Procreate? ›

Procreate includes a Model pack full of 3D objects ready for you to paint on. The first time you open the update, or download and install Procreate 5.2 you'll be presented with a welcome screen. Here you'll find a 'Model pack' download button, tap to download the Model pack and access the 3D files from your Gallery.

How do you Procreate 3D shapes? ›

To access 3D Actions open a 3D . OBJ or . USDZ file from Gallery > tap Actions > 3D.

What can a 7 year old draw? ›

By the time they are 7, they will be able to form good circles, squares, rectangles, triangles and diamonds in their drawings. A child usually settles on a certain representation of a person at this age and tends to draw them all with the same basic shape.

Is Procreate OK for kids? ›

Parents need to know that Procreate is a professional-caliber creation tool for digital artists. Tweens and teens will need instruction to fully utilize the app. It's possible that some younger kids will enjoy the app, but it might be better to steer them towards other choices targeted at their age and skill level.

Is Procreate only for iPad? ›

Frequently Asked Questions. Q #1) Is Procreate available for Android? Answer: Procreate is an amazing app that is used for digital drawing and painting. However, it is only available for iPhone and iPad, and not Android devices.

Is Procreate owned by Apple? ›

Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. It was launched on the App Store (iOS) in 2011.
...
Procreate (software)
Developer(s)Savage Interactive
Initial releaseMarch 16, 2011
Stable release(s) [±]
iPadOS 5.2.9 / 26 October 2022 iOS 4.0.7 / 24 October 2022
10 more rows

What is the full meaning of Procreate? ›

transitive verb. : to beget or bring forth (offspring) : propagate. intransitive verb. : to beget or bring forth offspring : reproduce.

Why is Procreate only GREY? ›

If your Procreate color wheel is stuck in grayscale, make sure you haven't imported an image that was created in a gray color profile. Next, make sure you aren't trying to draw on a layer mask. Lastly, do a hard reboot of Procreate to see if you can restore your colorful color wheel.

Should I get Procreate if I can't draw? ›

If you can't draw, you can still use Procreate. In fact, Procreate is a great platform for learning how to improve your drawing skills. Procreate is well suited for artists of all levels, from beginners to expert users. If you're a beginner, the program will grow with you.

Does Procreate have onion skin? ›

The onion-skinning function in Procreate gives you the same ability. It allows you to see an overview of the animation surrounding your current frame. Frames that are right beside your current frame show as almost solid. Frames that are further away from it become progressively more transparent.

Can Procreate do long animation? ›

Generally, the frames will cap out at around 100-120. If you want to create longer animations, you could create multiple animation projects in the program and export them into a video editor to put them together.

Can you make GIFs in Procreate? ›

Did you know you can now make animations in Procreate with the new export to animated GIF feature? In this video you'll learn everything you need to know so you can make awesome animated GIFs in Procreate.

What is the best way to learn Procreate? ›

Top 10+ Online Procreate Courses in 2022
  1. Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate. ...
  2. Illustrating in Procreate: Drawing a Shareable Timelapse. ...
  3. Illustrated Environments: Draw a Stylised Landscape Scene in Procreate. ...
  4. Illustrated Portraits with Procreate. ...
  5. Hand Lettering in Procreate: Fundamentals to Finishing Touches.
26 Jun 2022

Is Procreate easier than Photoshop? ›

The Procreate app is also the best choice for digital illustration and iPad design. However, Photoshop is overall the more robust and advanced program of the two. Photoshop works better than Procreate when it comes to a grid structure; however, Procreate is better for sketching and creating on the go.

Do professional artists use Procreate? ›

Does it make the cut? Procreate is used by professional artists and illustrators, especially freelancers and those who have more creative control over their work. Photoshop is still the industry standard for many companies looking to hire artists, but Procreate is increasingly being used in professional settings.

Is Procreate best for iPad? ›

Procreate is, without question, the best art program available for the latest generation iPad with Apple Pencil. Yet, it is very affordable – only $9.99 (one-time payment) – so if you already have a compatible iPad, you should get this great app.

Which is better Procreate or painter? ›

Reviewers felt that Procreate meets the needs of their business better than Painter. When comparing quality of ongoing product support, reviewers felt that Procreate is the preferred option. For feature updates and roadmaps, our reviewers preferred the direction of Procreate over Painter.

What is the best drawing tool in Procreate? ›

The 45 Best Procreate Brushes for Digital Illustration
  1. Everything Watercolour for Procreate. ...
  2. Master Watercolor Procreate Brushes. ...
  3. Character Drawing Toolkit. ...
  4. 50 Procreate Watercolor Brushes. ...
  5. Procreate Ink Brushes. ...
  6. Dry Texture Brushes for Procreate. ...
  7. Rough & Raw – Procreate Brush Set. ...
  8. Sargent's Oils – Procreate Brushes.

What app teaches you to draw? ›

ShadowDraw® brings drawing lessons to life with interactive tutorials that teach you how to draw. Start drawing great art in just a few minutes! Imagine curling up under a blanket with your iPad and drawing something new and exciting every night. To draw better, you need to draw regularly.

What draw does Apple use? ›

Apple Pencil sets the standard for how drawing, note‑taking, and marking up documents should feel — intuitive, precise, and magical.

Is Apple better for drawing? ›

For most people, then, the Apple iPad Air (2020) is a great choice for digital drawing. And with strong levels of battery life, screen resolution and processor performance, and a couple of good cameras, this is the best value iPad for general use, too.

Which pencil is better HB or 2B? ›

4B and 6B's are preferred for shading. HB and 2HB's are ideal for writing purposes. B pencils tend to produce more 'shine' than H's.

Is 0.5 or 0.7 pencil better? ›

If it's for school writing, use 0.5mm or 0.7mm leads, depending on which you prefer. The 0.7mm leads are thicker, which is better for people who tend to press hard on the pencil when writing. For drawing,use 0.5mm leads, because they're more precise than the 0.7mm leads. Thanks!

How do I get cool text in Procreate? ›

Tap Actions > Add > Add Text. A bounding box containing the word Text will appear on your canvas. The text appears in your currently selected color, and uses Procreate's default font, Eina.

Is it cheating to trace on Procreate? ›

Tracing in Procreate is not considered cheating as long as you don't claim to have made the artwork from scratch. Tracing to save time is perfectly acceptable. It's a lot more educative than most people think.

What is the easiest way to animate in Procreate? ›

Simply go to the wrench icon in the top left corner, click on “canvas,” and then toggle on the Animation Assist feature. This will bring up a new animation toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Toggle the Animation Assist feature under the canvas settings in the actions menu of Procreate.

How do you get shiny letters in Procreate? ›

Select the Soft Brush in the Airbrushing section of Procreate. Make the brush a small size, then tap on your screen once. Expand the glow until it is the size of your lettering. Reduce the opacity on this layer so that it appears as a soft glow in the background.

Is it OK to trace your own art? ›

Once your drawing skills have developed, then tracing can become a tool that saves time. One that you do not have to use. If you have developed your drawing skills and have the ability to draw the subject accurately, then tracing ultimately doesn't affect the resulting work.

How do you steal color in Procreate? ›

How to Use Procreate's Color Picker
  1. Press and hold down with your finger where you want to pull the color from.
  2. You'll see a circle take on your color.
  3. Wait for the color to appear in the color selection tool in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. You now have access to the selected color.
23 Jun 2022

Is it OK to trace over photos? ›

Tracing images is cheating only if you set out to deceive. For most artists, tracing art is a means to an end, merely a shortcut to an outcome. Tracing has been used by artists for centuries to save time and money.

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