Procreate Tips & Tricks for iPad
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Did you recently buy a new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and would like to learn how to use the Procreate app to draw digitally? Good news – it is easy, fun and intuitive. Especially if you are already familiar with creative software like Photoshop or Illustrator. But if not, don’t fear, it is easy to learn some tips and tricks to using the Procreate app and getting familiar with your new toys.
How to Use Procreate iPad Pro
When I try something new, my favorite thing is to learn as much as I can on my own and then find tutorials to give me additional help. Here are some of my favorite Procreate tutorials and classes, Procreate add-ons like brushes and palettes, and supplies to use with your iPad and Procreate. I’ll also give you some information about the different options of iPads if you haven’t purchased one already. Let’s get started!
Procreate Tutorials & Courses
The first thing you should do is go through Procreate’s own tutorial for artists, it will show you the basics of the app and how to get started drawing digitally using Procreate’s brushes and your finger or stylus. You can download it here.
Once you read the guide you can start playing around, testing the brushes and getting familiar with the app. But if you’d like additional tips and training from artists, here are some amazing Procreate courses I like.
The first Procreate class you should take is the Introduction to Procreate by Brooke Glaser on Skillshare. She shows you all kinds of Procreate tips and tricks like how to use alpha layers, how to recolor your work, and how to use split screen.
Brooke Glaser now has a second Procreate class on Skillshare too about combining Procreate with watercolor painting. Check it out here.
If you want to learn Procreate illustration techniques check out this class by artist Sandra Bowers. She shows you how to create a gorgeous ink illustration and shares her tips and techniques. This is a wonderful Procreate art tutorial.
Learn some Procreate basics from Marta Berk and create your own floral illustration on the iPad.
Do you love hand lettering? Check out this in-depth tutorial from Molly Suber Thorpe. She teaches a lot of Procreate 4 basics as well as plenty of amazing lettering tips.
Join Stephanie Fizer Coleman as she teaches you some of the basics of Procreate and how to create a digital sketchbook full of details and textures.
If you’re already familiar with some of Procreate’s features and would like to take your artwork to the next level, check out Libby VanderPloeg’s awesome class on animating your illustrations using Procreate and Photoshop. It’s a favorite Skillshare class of many top illustrators and will teach you how to quickly and easily create animated GIFs. Check out her class here.
You can also find many Procreate tutorials on YouTube.
Procreate comes with many brushes. You can customize and adapt them to make them your own.
Some of my favorite Procreate brushes are those in the “Artistic” group. I like how they can make a Procreate drawing appear a bit rougher and more analog. I also like the “Sketching” group, especially the HB pencil and the narinder pencil. If you are just getting started with Procreate don’t be afraid to take some time to just make marks with the many brushes to figure out what they can do. Try using your Apple Pencil or stylus or finger. Try turning the stylus at an angle to see if the mark gets thicker or more messy.
If you tap the “brush” you want to use you can adjust the settings. One setting adjustment that is especially useful is the “Streamline” setting. It comes in handy when lettering or drawing a flowing line.
Once you have played with the brushes included with Procreate you might want to expand your toolbox. Luckily there’s a growing selection of brushes and texture tools that you can purchase to add on to Procreate. Here are some of the most popular ones you might want to consider.
Looking for lettering brushes? Check out this pack of 14 custom brushes by Ryan Hamrick.
The Procreate Essential Painting Box by Eliza Moreno has tons of fun textures in 10 brushes.
Do you love watercolor? You might want to check out the watercolor brush set by PicbyKate that includes 45 brushes. You can buy it here.
Color Palettes for Procreate
Procreate comes with a few palettes built in, and you can build your own with your favorite colors.
I have found that creating palettes in advance is a great way to work. With all the colors of the rainbow available it can get messy and confusing to select a color each time you want to make a mark.
There are many methods to choosing and building color palettes, check out my post outlining how to build your own color palettes for Procreate here.
Apple iPads & Awesome Accessories
I am assuming if you are reading this you already have an iPad and stylus that you like. But if not, here is a quick review of the options.
The iPad Pro comes in three sizes: 12.9″, 10.5″ and 9.7″. If you will use the iPad professionally you might want to go for the larger dimensions, as you can create larger format artwork and simply have more space for drawing. However, I personally chose the smallest size as I prefer something lightweight that I can easily hold on my lap or with one arm when drawing.
In addition to the size considerations you might want to consider the memory capacity. The Procreate artworks can take up storage space but even the smallest at 32GB is plenty of space. You can easily move Procreate files off of the iPad and to your computer or the cloud if you run out of storage. It took me about a year to fill 32GB with moderate use of the iPad and Procreate. But if you like to keep a lot of photos, music and apps on your iPad you might want to consider one of the larger storage ipads.
In 2018 Apple came out with a new regular iPad that was compatible with the Apple Pencil. Before this you had to buy the more expensive Pro version. Check the specs and really think about what you will use the iPad for before you purchase. I’d recommend going with the simplest and least expensive version that will meet your needs. I have had several iPads and many iPhones and find this to be a good method. By the time I want more advanced capabilities a new version of the gadget has already been released that is far superior to the previous top of the line version. Unless you are a professional digital artist the more basic iPad or iPad Pro will probably meet your needs.
You can use your fingertip to draw with the iPad Pro and Procreate, but a stylus will make everything a million times more fun and useful. I have tried an inexpensive stylus and it doesn’t compare to the Apple Pencil, which was designed to be used with the iPad Pro and Procreate.
One of the beauties of drawing with the iPad and Procreate app is that you can grab it and take it anywhere. Sit in bed, curled on the sofa, or on the train. But if you end up using the iPad for illustrating often, you will probably want to be more comfortable when using it for longer periods of time.
Here are a few ideas and accessories for the iPad and Apple Pencil you might like.
Do you find the Apple Pencil slippery or hard to hold? I did. I added a grippy padded guard to mine like these. Here is a similar one that is actually designed for the Apple Pencil. You can also find custom made covers and cases for the Apple Pencil.
Here are a few Apple Pencil accessories you might like:
- Do you worry about losing the cap for your Pencil and the charging adapter? If so you might want to check out these silicone connectors. It also comes with a piece to protect the nib.
- Attach this Pencil holder pocket to your iPad cover to have a place to keep your stylus handy.
- This silicone cover protects the Pencil from scratches and provides a softer grip. This silicone cover is similar but also offers a nib cover.
- Do you find it fussy to charge your Apple Pencil with the USB cord? Is it always rolling off your table? If so you might love this charging dock that charges the pencil and keeps it stored in a convenient upright position on your desk.
- Procreate is designed to ignore the side of your hand touching the surface as you draw. But some people still find that wearing a protective glove is useful. If so, check out this digital artist glove that covers the side of your hand but leaves your thumb, index and middle finger free.
Some people find the iPad’s glass screen to be a bit too slippery for comfortable drawing. Luckily there are some screen protectors that make the iPad’s screen more textured for illustration. Try the Tech Armour screen protection films. If you simply want to protect your iPad’s screen from scratches, be wary of the solid glass screen protectors. Their thickness can lead to wobbly lines when using the Apple Pencil.
Protect your investment in your iPad with a case or cover. You can go for a simple one that just protects the tablet from scratches or go more heavy duty. You might want one that allows you to stand the iPad at an angle or a special iPad Pro stand for artists. Here are a few options and ideas:
- A simple folding cover like this will protect the iPad from scratches and folds to act as a stand.
- Design your own case on Zazzle with artwork you create in Procreate!
- This back cover has a additional area for your stylus.
- This heavy duty case will protect your iPad from accidental drops or bumps. It also has an adjustable stand.
- If you use your iPad for drawing a lot you might notice you are not in the most ergonomic position. Check out this drafting table stand that elevates and angles your iPad putting it in a better position for frequent use. It’s one of the most popular drawing stands for iPad Pro.
I hope this short guide gave you some good information about how to use Procreate for the iPad Pro. Let me know if you find any good Procreate tutorials too!
Have fun playing with your new toys!
Curious about other apps besides Procreate? Check out this class by Pam Garrison on Creativebug that gives some tips about doodling and sketching on the iPad with the Paper app.
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