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iPad Lettering: Complete Procreate to Illustrator Workflow

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Read Time: 13 min

In this course, we'll look at Procreate for hand lettering, as well as how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator. Create your own design with this iPad lettering tutorial.

What You'll Learn

  • How to use Procreate for hand lettering
  • How to use different tools for lettering in Procreate
  • How to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator
  • How to do hand lettering in Illustrator
  • What is the difference between calligraphy and hand lettering?
  • What is raster art? What is vector art? How are they different?
  • How to find hand lettering inspiration
  • What is type anatomy, and what is its role in hand lettering?

About Your Instructor

Linus Boman

1. Intro to How to Create Hand Lettering Projects

1.1 iPad Lettering Tutorial Introduction

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

Welcome to the course! Follow along, step by step, as we create some beautiful hand-drawn lettering in Procreate and Adobe Illustrator. This course assumes some familiarity with these two programs. It's a perfect choice if you're looking for an iPad Procreate lettering tutorial, but it's also a great fit if you're looking to learn about Adobe Illustrator lettering. You get a taste of both.

However, if you don't have an iPad with an Apple Pencil, you can still follow along with pencil and paper—many of these skills are transferrable across media. For example, calligraphy on Procreate is a digital take on the same process, by hand. 

"Learning the art of lettering can help you to bring words to life on the page or on the screen."

1.2 What Tools to Use 

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

In this course, we'll use the following tools to create our hand lettering project. This course is part iPad procreate lettering tutorial and part how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator:



  • This software is available for the Apple iPad (model compatibility may vary).
  • An Apple Pencil is typically used for drawing in Procreate on the iPad.
Adobe IllustratorAdobe IllustratorAdobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

  • Adobe Illustrator is professional vector art software, available for both PC and Mac.
  • A 7-day free trial is available if you'd like to try it out.
Many artists prefer working with a screen protector on their iPad, to simulate a more paper-like tooth on their drawing surface. You may want to also seek out a similar screen protector if you prefer a more textured surface.

Again, if you don't have an iPad or an Apple Pencil, you can also use a traditional pencil and paper. The ideas here are similar, and you could still transfer your work to Adobe Illustrator if you'd like to. 

1.3 Hand Lettering Terms (Glossary)

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

It can be difficult to dig into hand lettering if you don't understand the ins and outs of letterforms—even if you prefer digital media, like Procreate for hand lettering or Adobe Illustrator lettering.

So let's begin with a look at some important terms to know and understand. 

What's the Difference Between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering?

calligraphy vs hand letteringcalligraphy vs hand letteringcalligraphy vs hand lettering
Stock photography from Envato Elements


  • Typically has a specific process, guidelines, and conventions.
  • Usually uses nibbed or pressure-sensitive instruments to draw.

Hand Lettering

  • A broader umbrella term for letters that are drawn by hand. 
  • Doesn't necessarily utilize or require pressure sensitivity. 

We'll also look at Raster and Vector artwork:

  • Raster Artwork relies on pixels and is a specific size. This is the kind of work often created in Procreate.
  • Vector Artwork is more mathematical in construction. It can be scaled to any size, without loss of quality, because it's not pixel-dependent. This is the kind of artwork typically created in Adobe Illustrator.

Both have their benefits, and we'll get a taste of them both in this course. 

In addition, we'll review some typography anatomy and terminology in this lesson, so you get a solid feel for how letters really "work". Knowing these type terms will be helpful throughout this process.

Want to Learn More About Type Anatomy?

We'll explore some type anatomy basics in this course.

However, you can learn even more in this video lesson from Envato Tuts+. Tune in to push your lettering and typography skills even further!

2. How to Get Started With Hand Lettering

2.1 How to Choose a Hand Lettering Phrase

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

What will you choose to hand letter? I recommend that you choose two to six words for your project. Try to choose something of interest—something engaging and interesting to illustrate. 

Try to avoid a word with many descenders sitting directly over a word with many ascenders. This can make for a difficult or awkward composition to work with.

2.2 How to Find Hand Lettering References and Inspiration

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

References can be a valuable resource, especially if you're new to hand lettering. Let's take a look at some ways you can find visual inspiration.

Social media can be an amazing source of visual inspiration. Try checking out hashtags associated with hand lettering to discover specific visual styles.

Looking for even more references and ideas? Check out these guides from Envato Tuts+. They're full of added insights and inspiration to help as you explore hand lettering.

3. How to Get Started in Procreate

3.1 How to Sketch in Procreate

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

In this lesson, we'll look at how to sketch in Procreate. Thankfully, it's easy to jump in and start drawing—Procreate can be a really user-friendly tool, even if you haven't customized or collected any Procreate lettering brushes yet.

However, don't worry if you're not sure where to begin—we'll look at all the essentials you need to experiment with lettering in Procreate.

iPad Lettering TutorialiPad Lettering TutorialiPad Lettering Tutorial

3.1 How to Set Up the Canvas in Procreate

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

Next, let's look at setting up our canvas together in Procreate. Keep in mind that these are recommendations, designed to help you get started. You can work at any size best suited to your project. Ready to get started? Let's dig in.

Procreate canvasProcreate canvasProcreate canvas

3.2 How to Sketch a Thumbnail in Procreate

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

In this lesson, we'll start our design process with thumbnail sketches. Why? Thumbnails are your opportunity to experiment and try things out. Make some quick sketches to figure out how you'd like your composition to look. Whether you're here for an iPad procreate lettering tutorial or you're drawing by hand, this is an essential step.

Procreate Thumbnail SketchProcreate Thumbnail SketchProcreate Thumbnail Sketch
Thumbnail Sketch ProcreateThumbnail Sketch ProcreateThumbnail Sketch Procreate
Procreate Hand Lettering SketchProcreate Hand Lettering SketchProcreate Hand Lettering Sketch
Don't worry about perfection at this point in the design process. It's time to experiment and figure out your creative direction.

3.3 How to Create Drawing Guidelines in Procreate

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

Guides can help you further map out your composition. This is especially helpful with lettering in Procreate (and digital calligraphy on Procreate too) because it can take some of the guesswork out of drawing. For example, if you want to draw on a particular baseline, a guideline could help you with that. 

iPad Procreate guidesiPad Procreate guidesiPad Procreate guides

2.5 How to Work With Layers in Procreate

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

In this next lesson, we'll explore working with layers in Procreate. Layers are a wonderful tool for so many different reasons—from organization to keeping our content separate. They're easy to create and easy to work with. Ready to get started?

Procreate LayersProcreate LayersProcreate Layers

Need some extra help with Procreate layers? Check out this free tutorial, here on Envato Tuts+. It walks through all the ins and outs of working with Procreate layers.

2.6 How to Create a New Layer in Procreate

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

We'll take what we've learned so far and start cleaning things up in this part of our iPad lettering tutorial. Again, layers can serve so many purposes in our composition. This time, we'll work with a clean, new layer, and start to polish things up. Let's get drawing.

Procreate LetteringProcreate LetteringProcreate Lettering

4. How to Create Hand Lettering in Procreate

4.1 How to Use Procreate Brushes

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

Whether your goal is calligraphy on Procreate or Procreate for hand lettering in general, the brushes can really make a big impact on your work. We'll use some Procreate lettering brushes in this iPad lettering tutorial.

Procreate BrushesProcreate BrushesProcreate Brushes

Want to learn more about Procreate brushes? Whether you need help installing your Procreate brushes or you'd like to learn to create Procreate brushes of your own, there's plenty of extra help here on Envato Tuts+. Learn how to customize your brushes and more with these helpful walkthroughs:

You can also find Procreate lettering brushes on Envato Elements. The entire collection (hundreds of brushes!) is available for one low price. 

4.2 How to Add Flourishes in Procreate

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

Flourishes can be such a fun, beautiful addition to hand lettering—especially simulating calligraphy on Procreate—but where do you start? Let's explore that together in this lesson. We'll create some test flourishes and experiment with ways to get our design just right.

Procreate FlourishesProcreate FlourishesProcreate Flourishes

4.3 How to Intertwine Letters When Hand Lettering

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

In our next lesson, let's take our lettering and flourishes and experiment with intertwining them using our Procreate lettering brushes. While you don't necessarily have to do this in your composition, these visual relationships can prove to be really interesting, engaging, and unifying. This lesson concludes the iPad Procreate lettering tutorial portion of this course. 

Procreate letteringProcreate letteringProcreate lettering
The lettering in Procreate we've created here would be perfect for sharing online or on social media—but we'll push onward to create some vector art, perfect for merchandise and print.

5. How to Create Hand Lettering in Illustrator

5.1 How to Export Procreate to Adobe Illustrator

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

Now, on to Adobe Illustrator lettering! So we've created raster artwork in Procreate. How do we export from Procreate and get our work into Adobe Illustrator? In this lesson, we'll walk through how to take our lettering in Procreate and export it for use in Illustrator.

Procreate export to IllustratorProcreate export to IllustratorProcreate export to Illustrator

5.2 How to Set Up Adobe Illustrator

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

Let's explore how to do hand lettering in Illustrator in this next lesson. Our first step is to set up our new document. Follow along to get your work set up and ready to try out Adobe Illustrator lettering.

Adobe Illustrator Set UpAdobe Illustrator Set UpAdobe Illustrator Set Up
Remember, you can always choose different specifications—work with document sizes and specs that suit your design project and goals.

5.3 How to Trace the Letters in Illustrator

Watch video lesson (4 mins) ↗

Adobe Illustrator lettering is a very different process from drawing in Procreate. Let's explore how to do hand lettering in Illustrator. There are a number of tools and techniques that can take the guesswork out of how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator too. Let's get started.

Adobe Illustrator trace lettersAdobe Illustrator trace lettersAdobe Illustrator trace letters

5.4 How to Trace the Flourishes in Illustrator

Watch video lesson (1 min) ↗

Your flourishes might sometimes warrant some different considerations than your letters. Check out the tips and tricks in this lesson for getting just the right result as you draw your flourishes in Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator FlourishesIllustrator FlourishesIllustrator Flourishes

5.5 How to Refine Lines in Adobe Illustrator

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

This lesson focuses on additional insights for getting your lines just right in Adobe Illustrator. You'll likely want some variation in line width, for example, and there are a number of ways we could achieve that. Follow along in this lesson to try out these recommended techniques.

Illustrator refine linesIllustrator refine linesIllustrator refine lines

5.6 How to Interweave the Letters in Illustrator

Watch video lesson (3 mins) ↗

Check out our progress so far—looking great, right? Let's push our work even further in this next lesson. It's time to interweave our letterforms and push our design even further. The techniques in this lesson will help with this finishing touch in how to do hand lettering in Illustrator.

Illustrator Hand LetteringIllustrator Hand LetteringIllustrator Hand Lettering

5.7 How to Add Color and Export in Illustrator

Watch video lesson (2 mins) ↗

Congratulations—you've made it to the finish line! In this final lesson, we'll look at adding color as we finalize our hand-lettered composition.

We'll also cover exporting our work in Illustrator, so you can use your design in a variety of different ways. 

hand letteringhand letteringhand lettering
Remember, if you need some extra design help, you can always turn to the collection of professional design resources on Envato Elements. You can download brushes, fonts, templates, and more!

Learn More About Procreate

Want to learn more about working in Procreate? Check out these other free video lessons, and continue learning more about Procreate today.

Learn More About Adobe Illustrator

There's plenty more to learn about Illustrator on Envato Tuts+. Check out these amazing, free resources you can take advantage of today.

Illustrator for Beginners

Learn Adobe Illustrator for free with our Illustrator for Beginners course. It's a perfect primer for those completely new to the software, but it's also a great resource for those looking to freshen up their skills. 

Check out this free course today.

Free Illustrator for Beginners Course 

Learn Even More About Adobe Illustrator Today

There are even more Adobe Illustrator videos to check out on Envato Tuts+, all of them free. So why not tune in and push your Illustrator skills further today?

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