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How to use Procreate: a tutorial for beginners

Learn the basics of this popular app

Procreate tutorial for beginners

 

Procreate has become one of the most popular digital design tools. This app allows you to create beautiful illustrations, edit your photos, and create graphic compositions. If you learn how to use it correctly, you will be able to use it as professional software. That is why we are including some articles about Procreate in our growing Ultimate Graphic Design Guide.

You can download Procreate in the App Store. The download is not free: you have to pay $9.99 to install the app on your device. The good news is that once you’ve installed it, you won’t have to pay for it anymore.

You might have noticed that we did not mention Google Play. This happens because this app is only available for iPad. If you have a different tablet and you’d like to draw with it, here you have a post with the best alternatives to Procreate.

In today’s post, we’ll guide you through six essential aspects to get started with the software.

On this article:

How to create a new document in Procreate
How to use brushes in Procreate
How to use the finger tool in Procreate
How to use the eraser tool in Procreate
How to use the layer panel in Procreate
How to use the colors panel in Procreate

How to create a new document in Procreate

 

how to use procreate

 

The first thing that you’ll see when you open Procreate is your library. This interface shows all the projects that you have stored in the app. To open them, you just have to click on them.

If you want to import a project that you didn’t save in the app, click on “Import.” If you’d like to edit a photo with Procreate, click on “Photo.”In both cases, you’ll be able to browse and open the file you want to use.

To open a new file, press the “+” icon that you can see at the top right corner. A dropdown menu with different canvas sizes will appear. Select the one you prefer to get started.

 

how to use procreate

For this tutorial, we decided to open a full-screen size canvas. On the image above, you can see how a brand new canvas looks like when you open it.

How to use brushes in Procreate

 

Brushes are essential tools in Procreate. These elements will reproduce in the canvas all the strokes that you trace on the screen with the stylus. By default, Procreate incorporates a big collection of brushes. You can also install third-party brushes, or create your ones. We’ll explain that on this other tutorial. By now, let us introduce you to the brushes library and its essential features.

 

how to use procreate
These lettering brushes are not included by default. If you’d like to try them, you can find them here.

 

To open the brush library, tap on the brush icon that you’ll find at the top-right menu. Procreate will display a dropdown menu with different brushes. In the left column, you can choose the category (e.g.: inking brushes, charcoal, sketching tools). In the right column, you’ll find the brushes from the type you have selected. Press one of them to select it.

 

 

When you select a brush, Procreate will display the Brush studio. This interface allows you to edit the properties of your brush before you start using it. You can check the new aspect of your strokes by tracing some in the drawing pad.

Pay attention to the property that is called “Streamline.” This value is the automatic correction that the software applies to your strokes. If you’d like your drawings to be 100% natural, set it to 0.

Once you have finished editing these parameters, press “Done” to go back to your canvas.

 

 

On the left part of your screen, you’ll see two bars. The top one is to change the size of your strokes. Swipe up to make your strokes bigger. Swipe down to make them smaller.

 

 

The lower bar regulates the opacity of your strokes. Swipe up to increase opacity. Swipe down to increase transparency.

 

As you can see in the images above, there are different types of brushes. Some of them emulate traditional drawing tools, others try to replicate some textures so you can add them to your drawings. Our advice is that you take your time to try most of them and decide which ones can be more useful for you.

 

How to use the finger tool in Procreate

 

Besides the brush icon, you’ll see a small hand pointing at the paper. This is the finger tool, and it allows you to create shadows and blend the colors in your drawing.

The mechanism is straightforward. On the left image above, we have pulled the white space into the orange strokes. On the right image, we have pulled the orange color into the white space, generating some shadows that fill the shapes.

You can use this tool with the stylus. The final results will vary depending on the brush you have chosen. You can change the brush by pressing the finger icon. A dropdown menu with all your brushes will appear, just as when you press the brush icon.

How to use the eraser tool in Procreate

 

The eraser tool allows you to delete the strokes that you have traced in the current layer. You can modify the size and the transparency of your eraser in the left bar (just as you would do with a brush).

You can use this tool with the stylus. The final results will vary depending on the brush you have chosen. You can change the brush by pressing the eraser icon. A dropdown menu with all your brushes will appear, just as when you press the brush icon.

How to use the layer panel in Procreate

 

In digital design, we use layers to separate different elements of an image. Every layer hosts a single component of the complex composition. This system is frequently associated with software like Adobe Photoshop. In Procreate, you can use layers to structure your drawings and modify their elements separately.

 

 

To open the layer panel, press the icon with two squares in the top-right toolbar. A dropdown menu will appear. Here, you’ll be able to see all the layers of your composition. Note that the background counts as a different layer (so, if you want it to be transparent, you’ll have to remove it).

If you swipe right on a layer, you’ll see three options. If you select “Lock,” you won’t be able to modify that layer (unless you unlock it). If you choose “Duplicate,” you’ll create an identical copy of that layer. If you select “Clear,” all the elements on the layer will disappear.

 

 

how to use procreate

 

If you press on a layer for more than two seconds, a menu with different actions will appear on the left side of the layers panel.

 

how to use procreate

 

We recommend you to rename your layers, so you can quickly identify them. If you want to hide a layer, undo the checkbox on the right side of the menu.

 

how to use procreate

You can group different layers by sliding one into another with your stylus.

 

How to use the colors panel in Procreate

 

Color is an essential element of graphic representation. That is why Procreate includes a robust menu to manage color parameters properly. Let’s look at it in detail.

 

As you can see in the images above, Procreate offers five different color menus. You can choose if you want to pick colors from a disc overview, from a classic interface, from a harmony palette, or a values menu.

 

how to use procreate

 

The last interface is a palette menu. Here, you can store, create, and install different color palettes. This resource is useful for those who want to use some limited colors for their compositions.  If you’d like to find some palette inspiration, check the ones we have at Creative Fabrica.

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