Procreate how to

I’ve been using procreate on the ipad a lot recently, it’s a fun little program for painting/drawing on the ipad – it has a bunch of natural texture tools for drawing with, and compared to practically any art app on my iMac (a 2.6Ghz Intel Core 2 duo with 4Gb of RAM) it runs like greased lightning (actually, comparisons are unfair, it actually runs like greased lightning regardless of what you compare it to – it’s a blisteringly fast natural media drawing program, that’s dirt cheap and if you have an ipad you should buy it right now).

Pretty much the only limit is that the images – while big for an iPad – aren’t really print sized (I imagine in another couple of iterations of the iPad, it’ll be practical to actually use it to colour art for pro print – in fact, it’s probably possible now if you use it smartly).

Anyhue, here’s my process:

First, I’ll start with a fully inked sketch, which I’ll then photograph and import that photo into procreate – you can take a photo directly from within procreate using the ACTIONS drop down (tap the icon that looks like a wrench).

Then I’ll set that layer that the photo is on to “MULTIPLY” – this means any layers below that layer will show through (though textures / colours from the photo will impact on the colours on the layers below). Usually the photo has a bit of grain, and, depending on lighting conditions, will have a bit of colour on it.

Next I create a layer BELOW the lineart layer (I’ll refer to the photo layer as lineart from here on out, for clarity).

I have a special brush set up called “Inning Brush” (I think the name is a typo, but I have no idea what my original intent with the name was!). This brush was created from a simple circle shape and a simple flat grain (it’s very easy to create your own brushes in Procreate, and it’s worth playing about with) the shape and grain are mixed to form a naturalistic brush – this flat, simple brush, is great for blocking in a layer of colour.

I’ll block in one pure colour on each layer, setting the layer to an ‘ALPHA LOCK’ – this means any subsequent painting on that layer can only happen within the precoloured layers – it’s basically, a very simple masking function.

I’ll set a colour/layer/mask for each individual element of a picture (for example, face and hands might get a single layer combination). Procreate limits you to 16 layers though, but as I’m only using it for sketching this has usually been more than enough.

Once I’ve blocked out my layers, next I’ll start colouring and adding texture. For this, there’s a few brushes I use all the time, they are:

  • Splatter – a grungy splattery effect, part of the Procrate “Spraypaint” set (and additional 69p for the set).
  • Charcoal Block – a thick, charcoal like brush tool – part of the “Charcoals” set (again, 69p for that set)
  • Round Brush – a gloppy brush, part of procreates “Painting” tool set (free with procreate)
  • 6B Pencil – part of the procreates “Pencil” tool set (again free with procreate)

I’ll dip in and out and use all of the other brushes occasionally, but those are pretty much my go to set. I’ll lay out large blocks of colour with the round brush then add texture using the charcoal or the splatter and finally highlights/thicken lines with the 6B pencil.

Working layer to layer, I’ll paint over the blocked in colours to add texture to the actual layer. Rotating work and shrinking/enlarging to add get a birds eye view/work details.

It’s a nice way to unwind while watching telly.

Here’s some of my pics from Procreate (which, if you follow me on instagram you’ll see more of!)

(I intend to do a much more indepth tutorial on this for free ipad / emagazine “Infinity” in the next issue, so if you want to ask questions here, fire ahead and I’ll gather ’em up for the mag…)

Author: PJ

PJ is a Belfast based comic artist, and has been for some time.

3 thoughts on “Procreate how to”

  1. Thanks for pointing this program out, its the art app I’ve been looking for, for my new iPad.

    Question, do you have a stylus recommendation? I bought a cheapy Walmart stylus and its kinda fat and hard to see what you’re drawing.

  2. Did you see the new update? You can now make much larger canvases, and it’s added a little to make it better with a pressure sensitive stylus like the Jot Touch or Pogo Connect. The best iPad art app keeps getting better.

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