Using Procreate for Beginners

Gillian Anderson Digital art, iPad, artwork 3 Pieces of Advice Procreate Beginners, With Advice from Professionals:

Using a new program can be daunting, especially when it comes to creating art. Here are some tips to help get you started on your journey with Procreate!  

person letting on tracing paper using mechanical pencil Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

1. Use inspiration

Use sources for inspiration Procreate is a program that has so many features it can be difficult to even know where to start when you open a blank canvas. Youtube is an excellent resource for finding inspiration. Procreate artist Emma-Jane Belford suggests turning to Youtube tutorials as well, “It’s one of the best ways to learn almost anything for free!”. There’s countless tutorials on how to use Procreate in varying ranges of styles. Opting for youtube tutorials is a great way to learn how to use the app because you will learn how to use different tools that you might not have discovered before, or known how to use them if you did. This tutorial from Art By Flo is one of the first tutorials that I followed when I started using Procreate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJQpezkDuCQ. An important tool this tutorial taught me, for example, was how to use the gaussian blur tool. Tutorials are a great way to create new art while learning how to use the app in a productive manner. Pinterest is also a great place to look for art inspiration if you have some ideas in mind but don’t know where to start. Another place to turn is the Procreate instagram account. “If you go on their website and Instagram they offer so many good tips on how to use the program,” says Procreate artist Lynn Alkhouri, “I think these are the most useful resources that I watched.”

2. Create color palettes!

One way to keep your art consistent is to use color palettes. If you have a scene or character that you draw repeatedly, color palettes are a great way to make drawing less tedious and time consuming. It might seem obvious, but it’s a great way to cut down on the time you spend doing menial tasks like searching for the right color. I have a color palette for the character that I draw the most and it saves me so much time when I’m coloring in the sketch. Color palettes are also something that you can find online. A simple google search can help you find a color that you’re having trouble creating for yourself. For example, I was having trouble creating a blonde hair color that I like, so I googled “blonde hair color palette” and a range of options showed up for me. I also once wanted a Ravenclaw themed palette for a Harry Potter themed drawing I did and was able to find plenty of options on google images. These color palettes can give you inspiration for a new character, theme, or style of drawing that you’re trying to accomplish.

3. Play with the brushes

Test out brushes Procreate has tons of brushes already loaded that you can use while drawing. Every brush works differently with the Apple Pencil and how it writes with the pressure that you’re applying. Testing out each brush and just doodling with them can introduce you to new favorites and give you a good idea of how they function. One thing that is important to me when I use brushes is to adjust the streamline feature for what I am trying to draw. The streamline adjusts how smooth the brush draws, which you can adjust depending on the kind of drawing you are doing. For example, when I am tracing I want really smooth brush strokes, so I usually turn the streamline to 100%. However, when I am writing, I still want it smooth but not so stiff, so I usually have a mid to low level streamline. On one of my favorite brushes, the studio pen, I like to leave the streamline on 35% for writing. For coloring however, it’s easier to have no streamlined brush so that you can sketch easily, so I turn it down to 0%. This definitely helps adapt the brushes to fit your needs and create an easier drawing experience overall. Procreate artist and Youtuber Lynn Alkhouri says that she also has started making her own brushes and recommends artists to do the same. “It’s so much easier than anyone might think,” she says, “You just have to get into the settings of the brush and play around with them and create your own brushes”. She mentions that a lot of brushes on the market are expensive and a user could make the same brush on their own. Alkhouri says that you can turn to Youtube to find how to create brushes on Procreate.

Alkhouri says that the advice that she would give is about perseverance. “I would tell someone who is starting now to just keep sketching and sketching,” she says. Alkhouri notes that sketching is how we get new ideas, even if we’re embarrassed of them at first. With that in mind, have fun creating and learning new things as you use Procreate.