A Primer for 2023's Procreate, Written for Novices

Although Procreate for iPad is a fantastic and inexpensive tool for creating digital artwork and animation, it may take some time to become accustomed to if you have previously only worked in a program like Illustrator.  

It will take some time to learn how to use Procreate, but there are some hidden tricks that you can use to speed up the process.

Learning the basics of drawing straight lines and using clipping masks to add shading and detail to shapes will take your Procreate work to the next level. Quickly master the art of making seamless patterns in Procreate.

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A Basic Beginner's Guide to Procreate in 2023

Essential Tools

An iPad, an Apple Pencil, and the Procreate app are essentially all you need to get started with Procreate. However, there are a few things you should think about before making such an expensive investment.

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

Keep in mind that Procreate is currently only compatible with Apple iPads (although a Pocket version is available for use on iPhones).

Pick the iPad screen size that's right for you. The portability of Procreate is a major selling point; you can draw anywhere, from the nearest coffee shop to the comfort of your own sofa. With this in mind, you should consider purchasing an iPad that can fit inside your bag.

However, for drawing, you also want a nice big screen so you can add plenty of detail to your drawings See what options are out there in terms of screen size and determine what works best for you in terms of portability.

For artistic purposes, you'll also require an Apple Pencil. There are minor differences between the first and second generations of the Apple Pencil, but the biggest difference is that the latter can be charged wirelessly while the former must be plugged into the bottom of your iPad or a charger.

Keep in mind that the 2nd-generation Pencil is only compatible with select iPad models.

For a one-time fee of , you can download the Procreate app. For .99 USD, you get unlimited updates and access forever through your iTunes account.

Paperlike is a screen protector for the iPad that makes drawing feel more like drawing on paper, which is especially helpful if you've never used a drawing tablet before.

Formats Supported by Procreate

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

When you create a new file in Procreate, you can customize the canvas size and DPI. You have the option of using a standard size, such as A4, or entering your own dimensions.

Use 300 DPI and a large file size if you intend to print your artwork, but be aware of the constraints this places on you.

You should think about file size and DPI before creating your canvas because these factors affect the number of layers you can use.

It's also a good idea to examine your color profile. While RGB is ideal for digital artwork, CMYK is the preferred color mode for printing because it more closely approximates the colors actually produced by printers.

The time-lapse video that Procreate makes for you to show how your drawings were created can have its settings adjusted as well. When creating a new canvas, you have the option of customizing the video's dimensions and quality.

Disable Touch

You've bought an iPad and a Pencil, installed Procreate, and are ready to start drawing. First things first, there's one crucial step you need to take to make stunning artwork in Procreate.

When you launch the Procreate app, you'll see that you can use either your fingers or the Pencil to draw, and that Procreate still responds to your finger touches even when you're drawing with the Pencil.

When drawing, you may find that you need to be able to rest the palm of your hand or the base of your hand on the canvas without leaving any trace.

Open a canvas and then access the "Actions" menu by tapping the wrench icon. Then select "Gesture controls" under "Preferences." Then, go to "General" and then "Disable touch actions."

Develop Primitive Equipment

Let's take a look at the fundamental options in Procreate.

There are two sliders on a bar on the left (or right, if you prefer to use your dominant hand) side. Adjusting the size of your brush strokes with the top slider and the opacity with the bottom slider.

Select a color from your canvas by tapping the small square in the tool's center to activate the eyedropper.

Useful for choosing a color from a reference image or replicating one you've already used in your drawing. Those are followed by some buttons labeled "undo" and "redo."

To access the "Actions" menu, tap the wrench icon, where you'll find options to import images, copy and paste, resize and flip your canvas, save, email, and share your work.

You can access your brush collection, smudge, eraser, and layers from the top-right menu. It also features a small circle that indicates the current color you're working with. Select the color you want to change to by clicking the circle.

First, ensure that your shape is completely closed before filling it with color. Then, drop the colored circle into position on the top right of your shape.

Some manual edge smoothing may be required if you're working with textured brushes.

In the top left corner, select "Gallery" to go back to the main Procreate screen.

Just Do It

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

The transition from traditional media to Procreate may feel foreign at first, but you'll quickly find your groove. But don't expect a masterpiece from your first attempt at drawing.

Until you get the hang of the app and the Pencil, the drawings you make might not look as good as they would on paper.

To avoid overwhelming yourself at the outset, we advise keeping things basic and taking a step or two back.

Why not practice drawing from life or even just basic shapes? This will aid you in becoming comfortable with the app and its various configurations.

Drawing a Straight Line or a Perfect Circle in Procreate

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

When you first launch the app, you might miss this incredibly useful feature.

Simply draw a line (however shaky), and when you get to the end, hold your Pencil there for a few seconds; Procreate will automatically straighten the line for you. Then, you can adjust the line's length or angle by dragging the Pencil.

Hold the end of your Pencil in place for a few seconds after drawing a shaky circle in Procreate, and it will automatically connect the dots to produce a circle that is even all the way around.

After that, an "Edit shape" button will appear up top, from which you can pick whether to draw a square, a circle, an ellipse, a rectangle, or a polyline. If you're looking for a tool to help you draw geometric shapes, look no further.

Incorporate a Perspective Grid

You can insert a drawing grid into your canvas via the "Actions" menu's "Canvas" option. Invisible in the final product, these lines are essential for achieving accurate proportions and positioning in your drawings.

After inserting the guide, you can modify its size, transparency, color, and style by clicking "Edit drawing guide"; you can even make an isometric grid or use the perspective setting for precise three-dimensional art.

Make Use of Clipping Masks and Layer Styles

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

Click the little "N" on the right side of the layers panel to make changes to the layer's opacity and style. This

The default layer style, denoted by the letter "N," is called "Normal," but you have access to a wide variety of other styles that will have various effects on your work.

The "multiply" mode darkens and transparentizes the layer, while the "screen" mode brightens it.

There are many options available, so feel free to play around with them to see what effects they have.

To access the layer options, simply tap the newly created layer. Here you can give your layer a name, make a copy, delete it, or merge it with a lower layer.

The "Mask" and "Clipping mask" options in this menu are useful when sketching. Details and shading can be added selectively with these controls.

Since you can add as many clipping masks as you like without affecting the layer below, they are frequently used for shading.

Try out the Procreate app's stock brushes.

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

After becoming familiar with the fundamentals of Procreate, you can move on to trying out its various brushes.

There are some great brushes already installed in Procreate, and you can find more to download or buy on sites like Gumroad and Etsy.

All the way from a groovy pattern to a stunningly realistic watercolor, these brushes can do it all. Spend some time exploring the options and thinking about how you can incorporate the brushes into your work.

As time goes on, you'll inevitably develop a small collection of go-to brushes.

Brushes can be used for more than just painting. You can blend the colors in your drawing by selecting the smudge tool (the icon to the right of your brush) and adjusting the brush's shape, texture, size, and opacity.

Many artists rely on it as a shading tool. You can erase layers just like you would with your brush and eraser.

If you select a brush in your brush library, you can make additional changes to it.

Everything about the brush, from its spacing and size to the way its colors blend when wet, is completely customizable here.

This is also where you can fiddle with a feature called "Streamline," which will subtly smooth out your lines' curves so they are less jagged and uneven.

This option could be useful if you're just starting out with Procreate or if you want to draw extremely fine lines.

As you gain familiarity with the brush settings, you'll soon be able to make brushes that are tailored to your specific needs.

Try Out New Typefaces

Learning to Draw with Procreate: Tips for Beginners

Select "Add text" from the "Actions" menu to type directly onto the canvas. This function allows you to change the font, size, and other advanced font properties like kerning and tracking for your text.

You can do a lot of interesting things with the font options in Procreate, so spend some time playing around with them.

To further distinguish your work, you can add custom fonts via import.

Exporting Make something artistic

Finished a masterpiece of a drawing you can't wait to show off? It needs to be saved as an image right now. The "Share" option can be found in the "Actions" menu.

Here, you can choose to export your image in a variety of formats, the most popular of which are JPEG and PNG.

If you wished to bring your image into Photoshop, you could also save it as a PSD file.

To save a time-lapse video of your sketching process, select "Video." To play back your drawing's creation in its entirety, select "Time-lapse replay," and to save it as a full-length or 30-second clip, select "Export time-lapse video."

Those who aren't fond of time-lapse recording can disable it in this menu.

Try Some Cartoons During Pregnancy

New animation tools in Procreate have opened up a wealth of artistic possibilities.

A Although it is not a professional animation tool, you can make some stunning animations and learn the fundamentals of animation, such as how a ball bounces and a character walks.

The website for Procreate includes a comprehensive guide on how to use the animation tools.

Make use of the Context Menu

To activate QuickMenu with a gesture, go to "Actions," "Preferences," or "Gesture controls."

You can speed up your drawing and using of Procreate by activating this menu while drawing on the canvas to gain access to some common settings.

The QuickMenu can be customized to include your most frequently used options.

Constant practice is the key to success.

If this is your first time using a digital drawing program, you won't be able to pick up the basics of Procreate overnight. However, after some practice and familiarity with the app's interface, you'll be able to confidently use its features to create stunning artwork.

If you want to get better at drawing, the best way to do so is to draw from life as often as possible.

Be patient with your progress and know that you will eventually be able to create works that you are proud of using nothing but your iPad, Pencil, and Procreate.

Though it may take some time to get used to Procreate's many menus and settings, the app has helped to make digital art more affordable and accessible to more people.

This article only scratches the surface of what can be accomplished with Procreate.

I hope you've learned enough to feel comfortable using Procreate to make stunning digital artworks.

As of the 30th of January, 2023

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