- What You'll Learn in This Drawing in Procreate Tutorial:
- What You'll Need
- How to Use Layers in Procreate
- How to Use Brushes in Procreate
- How to Sketch in Procreate
- How to Use Colours in Procreate
- How to Shade in Procreate
- How to Edit in Procreate
- How to Export in Procreate
- And We're Finished! You Learned How To Draw In Procreate!
- 5 Amazing Procreate Brush Sets From Envato Elements
- Discover More Helpful Procreate Tutorials and Resources
Procreate is a digital painting app that gives the feel of real-world drawing with the power and capabilities of digital art. But how do you use it?
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to draw on Procreate using all of the basic tools as well as covering the full Procreate drawing process—from reference and sketching to colouring, shading, and finishing touches.
Do you prefer video tutorials? Check out the video version of this tutorial over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
What You'll Learn in This Tutorial on Drawing in Procreate
- How to draw with Procreate
- How to use layers in Procreate
- How to use brushes in Procreate
- How to sketch in Procreate
- How to use colours in Procreate
- How to shade in Procreate
- How to edit in Procreate
- How to export files in Procreate
What You'll Need
For this tutorial, you'll need to find a reference photo. A reference photo provides a starting point for a drawing and gives the artist something to refer back to when completing tasks such as shading, choosing colours, or drawing anatomy. For some drawings, you may find you need multiple reference images for different parts of your drawing, but in this tutorial I will be drawing from one image.
You can find a large library of high-resolution reference photos in the Envato Elements library. Here is the image that I selected:
Envato Elements is home to a huge library of digital resources, including photographs, fonts, brush packs, graphics, and much more. In this tutorial, I'll use this Procreate Chalk Sketch Brushes brush set, which is perfect for creating textured sketches and line art.
1. How to Use Layers in Procreate
In this tutorial on drawing in Procreate, I'm using an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and the Procreate 5.2 app.
First, we need to create a Canvas. Open Procreate and press the + icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
Then press the + icon in the top right of the New Canvas menu to create a custom size.
I’m going to be using a 3000px by 3000px canvas size. I find this works well for square pieces that are high quality whilst retaining a larger number of Maximum layers. You can see the Maximum layers for your canvas size at the bottom of the table. Then hit the orange Done button to launch your canvas.
Now, let’s look at using the Layers panel. The panel can be found by tapping the double square icon in the right-hand corner of the screen.
To create a new layer, tap the + icon in the top-right corner of the menu.
You can switch layers by tapping to select the layer you’ll be drawing on. If you keep drawing on a single layer, you’ll notice that all of your shapes will move together.
You can move objects on a layer by tapping the Transform tool icon.
If you would like to separate your lines, make sure to select a separate layer to draw on. You can now move your shapes separately from one another.
You can move layers around by pressing and holding on a layer and dragging it. Moving a layer behind another one will place that shape behind the shape on the other layer.
You can hide and reveal layers by tapping on the checkbox at the edge of each layer.
2. How to Use Brushes in Procreate
If you want to learn how to draw in Procreate, next up we'll look at brushes. The Brush Library is opened by tapping on the Brush Library icon at the top of the screen.
Here you'll find a variety of default Procreate brushes, organised into the categories shown on the left. There's a mixture of both traditional and digital style brushes, as well as textures and stamps.
To select a brush, simply tap on it, and it will now be ready to use.
You can adjust the size of the brush by dragging the Brush size slider, which is located to the left of the screen. Dragging the slider upwards will increase the brush size, whilst dragging it downwards will decrease it.
You can save a brush size by holding the Brush size slider with one finger, whilst tapping the plus icon on the menu that pops up with another finger.
Repeat this process and tap the - icon to remove the marker. To select the saved brush size, simply drag the slider over the marker.
The bottom slider controls the opacity of the brush. The lower you drag the Brush opacity slider, the lower the opacity of your brush will become.
3. How to Sketch in Procreate
Next up in how to draw with Procreate, it’s time to begin sketching! First, I’m going to open my reference photo.
One way of doing this is to open the Actions menu, tap on Canvas, and then turn on the Reference switch.
This will open a Reference box, and you can move this by holding and dragging the top of the box.
You can use the Canvas setting to use existing drawings on your canvas as a reference. This is helpful if you’d like to reference another part of your canvas whilst being able to zoom in on a different section.
The Face option allows you to take a reference photograph, which could be helpful if you want to recreate an expression, for example.
The Image option allows you to import an image from your photos library. Here I’m going to add the image I downloaded earlier by tapping the Import image button to import my photo.
The image will now appear inside the Reference box. To close the Reference box, tap on the x icon in the top-right corner.
Another method of working from a reference photo is to split the screen between two applications. This is my preferred method.
Simply open your reference image, and then swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen to open the shortcut menu.
Tap and hold the Procreate icon, and drag it to the left of the screen.
With a half split screen, some of the Procreate menu bar items are hidden, so I prefer to work in 3/4 screen by dragging the divider in the middle to the right slightly using my finger.
You can now use both applications simultaneously, allowing you to zoom and move around both parts of the screen using your fingers and a pinching motion.
Now it’s time to sketch! First, I’m going to map out the rough shapes of my drawing. I’m using an Airbrush for this because I just want to create loose guides.
I begin with a circle for the head, and I continue to use shapes and loose lines to mark out the rough proportions of the drawing. I’m not going to add any detail at this point—I’m just marking where the main shapes and features will go. This will serve as a guide before I begin the next stage of sketching and adding more detail.
Once this sketch is complete, I’m going to increase the size using the Transform tool set to Uniform, which means the shape will hold its current proportions.
Now it’s time to create a more refined and detailed sketch layer. First, I’m lowering the opacity of my initial sketch to make it easier to draw over.
To lower the layer Opacity setting, tap on your layer to open the menu, and drag the slider.
I’m then creating a new layer above this to draw on, before selecting my sketch brush.
I’m going to edit this brush slightly by tapping on it to open the Brush Studio.
You can change a variety of settings here. I’m increasing the StreamLine setting to the maximum. This makes the brush create smoothed lines, which is very helpful when sketching as it steadies your outlines. Press Done to confirm your changes.
Next, I'm going to begin to create my refined sketch with this brush.
I create all the separate elements of my drawing on different layers to make them easier to edit, but you could draw on a single layer if you prefer to work this way.
Once I'm happy with this sketch, I'm going to Flatten the multiple layers into a single image and layer. To do this, I will first need to select all of my layers.
You can select multiple layers and group them by swiping each layer to the left and then tapping Group in the top-right corner of the menu.
The layers are now grouped.
Tap the group and select Flatten from the menu that will open to the left. This merges all layers from the group into a single layer.
Before we move on, let's look at a few more helpful tools which can assist you whilst you sketch.
To flip or rotate a layer, select the Transform tool and tap on the rotation you would like to perform using the menu at the bottom. Here, I tapped Flip horizontal to reflect my layer.
With the Transform tool selected, you can use the guidelines that appear whilst moving an object to help you align it.
To erase, tap the Erase tool in the top-right menu. This will allow you to erase any drawings on your selected layer.
You can edit your Erase brush to create different eraser effects using the Brush Library. To do this, tap the Erase icon and select the brush of your choice.
I like to flip my canvas regularly whilst drawing as it helps me to spot any issues with proportions that I might have missed.
To do this, open the Actions menu and tap Flip horizontal or Flip vertical depending on your needs.
Once I’m happy with this sketch, it’s time to create the final line art.
First I'm going to lower the Opacity of my sketch layer to make it easier to draw over, and then I'll create a new layer above it.
Now I’m drawing over the sketch with my line art brush to create the lines that will be used in the final drawing.
You can skip this step if you don’t use line art, or you could choose to do this at the end instead. I create each part on a separate layer to make it easier to recolour later.
As you can see below, some of the lines from the dress layer are overlapping the flowers in front of it. To solve this issue, I'm going to create a Mask over the dress layer.
To create a mask, tap the layer and select Mask.
This creates a mask above the selected layer that allows you to erase things on the layer, but as this mask can be switched on and off, the changes can be reversed at any time by switching off or deleting the mask. This is a great tool to use if you're unsure about permanently erasing something, or if you just want to test out how it would look without risking losing anything on your original layer.
Now that my line art is complete, I’m going to select and Group all of these layers to keep them ready for later.
I’m then going to Duplicate this group and Flatten it into one layer, so that I can use this as a guide for adding the flat colours.
You can Duplicate a layer by selecting it, swiping over it to the left, and tapping the Duplicate button. This will create a duplicate of that layer or group, which can now be selected and moved.
4. How to Use Colours in Procreate
To continue learning how to draw in Procreate, now we'll cover colouring.
First, I want to prepare my guide layer.
I'm going to select the flattened line art layer and tap on the layer to open up the Blend Modes.
Blend Modes can have different effects on the colours and opacities of your layer and how it interacts with other layers and objects.
I’m going to be setting my layer to Linear Burn mode, which produces a darkening effect over the base layer. This will help the colours of my guide layer to match better with the colours I will be adding beneath it, making it easier to see the outlines.
I’m turning the Opacity of the layer down so that I can see the outlines of the shapes I will be drawing beneath it. This ensures I can create clean edges around my base colours.
The effects of the Linear Burn mode are demonstrated here. As you can see, the line art layer becomes a darker version of the colour on the layer below.
Increasing the opacity of the layer will increase the darkness of the lines.
Before we begin to add our base colours, let's look at how to use the Colours panel in Procreate. To open the Colours panel, tap the circular colour swatch in the top-right corner.
The Disc is the first option on the menu for selecting colours. You can drag the swatch around the colour wheel to pick the colour, and then drag the swatch in the middle section of the wheel to control the depth of your selected colour.
Next is the Classic option. This contains settings to control the Hue, Saturation, and Brightness of the colour. These can be adjusted by dragging the three sliders, and the depth of the colour can be edited by dragging the swatch around the square at the top.
Next is the Harmony option, which can be used to find complementary colours. Dragging one of the swatches will automatically move the other three swatches into complementary colours for your selected swatch.
Then we have the Values option. Here, you can input specific colour values for RGB or CMYK colour codes, depending on the colour mode your canvas is set to.
Finally, at the end of the menu, you can find the Palettes option, which contains saved colour Swatches.
To select a Palette, simply tap on a Swatch within that Palette.
To create a new Palette, select your chosen colour, open the Palettes menu, and tap the + icon in the top-right corner.
There are a few options you can use to create Palettes from. I’m going to select Create new palette to make an empty one.
To add Swatches, simply tap on any grey empty square within the palette, and your swatch will now be saved.
Now let’s add the flat colours. I’m selecting an ink liner brush so that the edges of my shapes will be slightly grainy.
On a layer behind the guide layer, I’m going to start to outline the first shape, which is going to be her face. The most important thing here is to ensure that there are no gaps in the outline.
Once the shape is outlined, there are two ways of colouring it. You can either colour by hand if you prefer the look of this or enjoy this process, or to speed things up you can use the ColorDrop tool.
To do this, drag the colour Swatch from the top-right corner into the centre of your shape, and keep the Apple Pencil held down.
You can adjust the level of fill by dragging the pencil across the screen to adjust the ColorDrop Threshold slider at the top.
Now I’m going to draw the rest of the base colour shapes by creating new layers for each of them and using the same process.
Keeping them on separate layers will allow you to edit the colours more easily if you change your mind, and it will also help when shading later on. Here you can see how my drawing is looking with all the base colours filled in.
5. How to Shade in Procreate
When drawing in Procreate, it's important to know about this technique. Now it’s time to add some shading.
To begin, I’m going to create a new layer above the shape I want to shade, tap on the layer, and select the Clipping Mask option.
This creates a Clipping Mask around the layer so that you can only colour inside the shape the mask is created on top of.
I’m going to add some blush to my character, so I’m choosing an airbrush and shading under her cheeks.
You can see how the colour is contained within the face shape due to the Clipping Mask.
You can add additional Clipping Masks by creating a layer above or below the current mask using the + icon and setting it to clipping mask.
Clipping Mask layers layered above or below each other will become masks of the same base layer beneath them.
You can colour pick any colour within your drawing to set your current swatch to this shade.
To do this, hold your finger over any part of the drawing to launch the Eyedropper tool, and the colour beneath will become selected. You can hold and drag your finger around until you find your desired shade.
The selected colour will now match the shade you collected using the Eyedropper.
Now I’m going to show you how you can use Blend Modes to assist with shading and adding highlights to your drawings.
I’m adding the iris and pupil colours as Clipping Masks over the eye base layer as I want to shade over all three, and I’m creating another Clipping Mask layer above these to shade on.
I’m then going to select the eye base colour and create a deeper and warmer version of it, which will be used as the base colour for my Blend Mode.
Next I’m going to open the Blend Mode menu and set the layer to Multiply mode. This mode darkens and increases the saturation of the colour the brush is set to, as well as the base colour beneath this layer.
I’m adding the shadow to the top of the eyes, and then once I’m happy with this I can play around with the Opacity to adjust the darkness of the shadow.
Now I want to add some highlights, so I create another new Clipping Mask layer above the rest and this time set the Blend Mode to Add.
This brightens the base colour and can have a glowing or shiny effect at higher opacities.
If you struggle to find good shading colours, here is a tip using the Multiply Blend Mode.
First, create a clipping mask above your layer and set it to Multiply mode.
Then, use the Eyedropper tool to select the base colour of the layer you’re shading over, and drag the colour wheel to a less saturated version of this colour.
This should now have created a shading colour that complements the base layer and that can also easily be adjusted using the Opacity slider to control the depth of the shadow.
And here is how the character looks after adding the rest of the shading! Now it's time to add some line art back in.
First, I am switching off the guide sketch layer and then dragging the grouped line art that I created earlier above all of the other layers and switching it back on.
I can now go through each layer and recolour the lines by creating darker versions of the base colours using the Eyedropper and dragging the swatch to fill them with the ColorDrop tool.
6. How to Edit in Procreate
Once all the line art is edited, my drawing is almost complete! But first, let's add some finishing touches.
I'm going to begin by adding a simple background.
I’m creating a layer behind everything else, and selecting my background colour.
I can then drag the Swatch into the background to fill the canvas.
Next, I’m going to draw a circle behind my character. To create a perfect circle, simply hold the pencil on the screen after drawing your shape, and then press the Edit Shape button that will appear at the top of the screen.
Tap the Circle option to create a perfect circle.
Your shape should now be in proportion. You can also do this for a variety of other simple shapes.
I'm going to fill the circle with a solid colour by dragging the Swatch in the top-right corner into the centre of the circle using the ColorDrop tool.
I want to centre my circle, but as there are so many layers, the guides are getting a little confused. To fix this, I want to Flatten my character into one layer, so I’m going to select all of my layers and make a group.
Before I Flatten the layers, I want to make sure I have a backup of them. I can’t Duplicate the group due to the limited number of layer numbers on my canvas, so I’m going to Duplicate my canvas instead.
I can do this by heading back to the Procreate Gallery, pressing Select, tapping on my drawing to select it, and finally pressing Duplicate to duplicate my drawing and back up my layers.
I can then go into the Duplicated version and Flatten the layers without worrying about losing them.
I can now use the guides easily to centre my character and the circle behind her.
Adding a shape behind a character is a really easy way to help it stand out against the background.
Now I’m going to select my character layer and add a special effect from the Adjustments menu. There are a variety of colour edits and special effects within this menu, so this is where you can really play around and have fun!
I like a grainy effect on my drawings, so I’m selecting Noise.
I’m going to set this to 3%; you can edit the percentage by dragging your finger across the screen.
Let's look at making final colour adjustments. I’m going to select Curves from the Adjustments menu, which controls the levels of various colours within your drawing.
To edit the levels, drag the lines to create a new point on them. You can instantly see the effects of doing this on your selected layer. I don’t usually like to edit these much, but it can be a really helpful tool for quickly editing the tone of a drawing.
7. How to Export in Procreate
Finally, it’s time to export the finished drawing. Open the Actions menu and tap on the Share tab. You can now choose your preferred file type. I’m selecting JPEG and then pressing Save Image to add the file to my photos app.
And We're Finished! You Learned How to Draw in Procreate!
Our character is now complete! Thank you for following this tutorial with me, and I hope you have lots of fun trying out these brushes for yourself.
5 Amazing Procreate Brush Sets From Envato Elements
Now you know how to use Procreate to create beautiful works of art. If you use Procreate on a regular basis, why not check out Envato Elements to expand your brush library and take your art to the next level?
If you'd like to discover more premium Procreate brushes, here we have five amazing options:
1. Texture Brushes for Procreate (BRUSHSET)
Take your art to the next level with the beautiful textures in this Procreate texture brush set. Containing a variety of textures made from natural materials such as sand, cardboard, paper, and sugar, these brushes will add dimension to any flat shape.
2. Procreate Pencil Brushes (BRUSHSET)
Check out this must-have Procreate pencil brush set, containing 24 amazing textured pencil style sketch brushes. They're perfect for doodling, sketching, colouring, and more, so release your inner child and let your imagination go wild!
3. Procreate Lettering Brushes (BRUSHSET)
Take your lettering to the next level with this amazing Procreate lettering brush set. Every lettering artist needs to have this set in their brush library. The set contains textured, monoline, calligraphy, and signature brushes to suit all of your needs.
4. Graphite Pencils for Procreate (BRUSHSET)
Do you want to use the freedom and capabilities of digital art, but miss the traditional look of pencil on paper? Then this is the perfect brush set for you! Containing 16 realistic graphite style brushes, this is the perfect set for replicating traditional methods in the digital realm.
5. Pattern Brushes for Procreate (BRUSHSET)
Check out one of the coolest pattern brush Procreate sets on Envato Elements. This set contains 36 unique pattern brushes to help you speed up your drawing process and add a sprinkle of fun to your designs. The brushes are also perfect for creating seamless patterns.
Discover More Helpful Procreate Tutorials and Resources
If you enjoyed this drawing with Procreate tutorial, make sure to visit these other helpful Procreate tutorials and resources from Envato Tuts+:
- How to Use Chalk Brushes in ProcreateLauren's Scribbles22 Apr 2022
- How to Paint Watercolor in ProcreateMaria Dimova03 Jul 2022
- How to Blend in ProcreateAkanksha Rawat06 Nov 2021
- What Is Procreate?Nathan Umoh19 Oct 2022
- How to Make a Flower Brush in ProcreateLauren's Scribbles29 Jul 2022
- How to Color Fill in ProcreateNataliya Dolotko02 Dec 2022
- How to Do Symmetry in ProcreateNataliya Dolotko21 Oct 2022
- How to Use ProcreateAndrew Blackman08 Jun 2022