For digital creative professionals like us, Procreate stands out as one of the best drawing apps available. However, with the demands of our workloads, delving into a comprehensive Procreate handbook can be challenging. In this article, I’ve compiled a complete guide, sharing some highly effective Procreate tips and tricks to help you work with maximum efficiency. Each tutorial comes with a detailed, step-by-step guide, making it easier for you to craft your next digital masterpiece. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
18 Effective Procreate Tips and Tricks
1. Setting Up the Canvas
Setting up the canvas is important before you start drawing. While you’d find many great options, you can always customize the canvas to suit your taste.
Follow these steps to set up a custom canvas:
Step 1: First, open the Gallery.
Step 2: Next, click on the + icon in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 3: Again, click on the rectangle icon in the top right.
Step 4: Now you can set the custom dimensions & DPI.
Note: We recommend 300 DPI for high-quality printing, 150 DPI for digital art, and 72 DPI for web-only images.
Procreate automatically saves the custom canvas. So, if you want to draw again, then you can simply select the saved custom canvas.
2. Fix Basic Mistakes with Disable Touch Actions
While you work, you can mark up the canvas accidentally. To remove it, simply turn on Disable Touch actions.
You can activate Disable Touch actions following the steps mentioned below:
Step 1: Go to the Actions Menu.
Step 2: Select Preferences > Gesture Controls > General
Step 3: Now, turn on Disable Touch actions.
The best part about this feature is that it doesn’t affect other touch gestures. So, you can get back to your work without worries.
3. Make Your Own Custom Procreate Brushes
You can always modify existing Procreate brushes and design new custom brushes. Here’s how you create your own brush in Procreate.
Step 1: First, hover the mouse over the brush icon, where you’d find the brush library.
Step 2: Click on plus (+) icon to create a new brush. You can make all the necessary adjustments to the brush including shape, taper, color dynamics, and many more.
4. Use Clipping Masks to Modify Your Artwork
Clipping masks in Procreate is a powerful tool that allows you to make changes to your artwork. It gives you the flexibility to work with two or more layers together. With clipping masks, you can recolor, adjust and make other necessary adjustments.
Here’s how you can create a Clipping Mask in Procreate.
Add New Layer > Select the Layer > Select Clipping Masks
You would find the clipping layer (small arrow) on the left side of the layer. The best part about Clipping Mask is that it edits your work without affecting the original illustration.
5. Achieve Smooth Lines in Procreate with StreamLine
Every drawing project is unique. The accuracy of lines is important, especially for technical drawings. No worries, StreamLine is there to your rescue. With its help, you can smooth out edges and curves.
Enable the StreamLine feature in Procreate,
Brush Library > Select Your Brush > Brush Studio Settings > Stabilization
Now, adjust the StreamLine percentage as per your requirement.
We suggest you explore different brush options before beginning your actual piece.
6. Add Meaningful Text Annotations
You can quickly add text to your artwork in just a few steps. Here’s how,
Go to Actions Menu > Add > Add Text
It is imperative to choose the right font for overall graphic balance. If you don’t like the default font library, then you can import the custom font library to Procreate.
Step 1: Select Import Texts from the text menu.
Step 2: Now, select the font file from the Files App.
Make sure the font is clear and legible.
The scribble feature on iPad and Apple Pencil is extremely useful in resizing and editing texts.
7. Have Fun with Colors
Color is essential for creating different effects and adding contrast to your artwork. You would find the ColorDrop feature on Procreate. It brings new life to your artwork.
If you didn’t find the feature on your screen, then, click on the Color Button (the little color circle) at the upper right-hand corner. Choose your preferred color and drag it from the Color button onto the screen.
Sometimes the color may look dim and can leave a white border around the edge.
You can adjust it with ColorDrop Threshold. A thin bar above the artwork represents the threshold amount. To fill less area, drag your finger to the left and drag towards the right to fill more area.
8. Understanding the Importance of Color Theory
One of the most crucial elements of digital art is color theory. The color theory allows us to understand what colors go well together. So, selecting color palettes plays a key role as it can significantly impact your artwork.
Fortunately, we can easily create a color palette in Procreate.
Go to the Color button to open the Color Panel > Palettes > ‘+ Icon’ > New from file or New from photos.
9. Find Missing Layers Instantly
As an artist, working with layers can be difficult at times. Sometimes, layers can accidentally be hidden. So, it’s certainly more efficient if you’re able to control the properties and visibility of your drawings. Layer Select Feature helps you manage and find layers in Procreate.
Open Actions Menu > Select Preferences > Gesture Controls
Now assign a custom gesture to Layer Select. If you’re already using the feature, choosing Layer Select would disable the feature.
10. Structure Your Artwork into a Single Unified Whole
Symmetry can either make or break your masterpiece.
Using the Symmetry Guide in Procreate can help you achieve balance, and order in your compositions.
Here’s how to turn on Symmetry Guides:
Actions Menu > Canvas > Edit Drawing Guide > Symmetry tab > Options
Now, select the guide type. You’d have to choose from Vertical, Horizontal, Quadrant, and Radial guides. If you’re working on a layer that doesn’t need the Symmetry feature, just tap it once and select Drawing Assist.
11. Import Custom Brushes to Procreate Library
There are over 200 default brushes available, but if you want to experiment with a variety of styles and effects. We recommend custom brushes that are useful for easel work.
Here’s how you import custom brushes to Procreate.
Brush Library > ‘+ icon’ > Import > Select the Brush File
12. Combine Two Brushes to Create Limitless New Brushstroke Effects
Now that you have learned how to import custom brushes to Procreate.
Let’s learn how to blend and mix two different Procreate brushes together using the Dual Brush Option.
Step 1: First, open the brush library and choose your primary brush.
Step 2: Next, choose another brush as your secondary brush.
Step 3: Now, as you have selected your primary and secondary brushes, click on Combine in the top right of the Brush Library window.
Step 4: Tap your new Combined brush and make all necessary changes.
13. Draw Custom Shapes with QuickShape
Procreate has another great tool: QuickShape. It helps you draw custom shapes into perfect forms.
This feature can be activated by a gesture. For this,
Go to Actions > Preferences > Gesture controls > QuickShape
We recommend the “Draw and hold” gesture as it is one of the easiest of all the provided taps.
Procreate responds to simple gestures to make daily tasks quick and easy.
14. Display QuickMenu for Quick Access
Boost your workflow with Procreate’s QuickMenu. The quick-access menu offers handy shortcuts that can increase your productivity.
You can easily enable QuickMenu from the Preferences tab of the Actions menu. You’ll also find numerous options for how to activate the Quick Menu.
Once it is enabled, you can also create menu profiles for brushes, colors, and more.
To set new action on Procreate,
QuickMenu > Press and hold the action > Choose any action from the Set Action menu.
15. Work with Procreate Snapping Tool
Snapping is an important setting in Procreate. It helps you align graphic elements with one another.
To activate snapping, follow these steps:
Transform tool > Snapping button > Toggle on Snapping
This tool is great if you want to enhance the alignment of your illustration.
16. Export a Time Lapse Video
This is probably one of the best features of Procreate. You can export a time-lapse video. To access this feature, proceed as follows,
Actions > Video Menu > Export Time-Lapse Video
17. Move Elements and Lines
If you want to move objects and lines in Procreate,
Open the Transform tool. This will select the objects or lines that are on the layer you currently have selected.
Now, you can drag your finger around your canvas to move objects and lines.
18. Fill a Shape with Color
Filling color in Procreate is very easy. You can simply drag a color from your palette to fill in a shape. Choose your preferred color from the Color Wheel and drag it in to fill any element. If you want to add more than one color, then create separate layers for each color.
Recommended: 7 Best Procreate Alternatives for Windows 10
Procreate is a great tool, which allows you to draw anytime, anywhere possible. With just 12.99 USD, you can get Procreate from the Apple App Store. Specially curated for Apple iPad, you can use Procreate for painting, sketching, and illustration.