15 Procreate Tips & Tricks: Level Up Your Procreate Skills!

15 Procreate Tips & Tricks: Level Up Your Procreate Skills! main article image
Posted on August 3, 2021 by Becky Louise
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Our lives are becoming more digital all of the time, and there are some ways in which we can really use this to our advantage, especially creatively. Art created on our computers or tablets is on the rise, particularly with programmes like Procreate becoming more accessible. It’s a fantastic platform for expressing our creativity, it’s also extremely versatile and has a lot of great features.

With Procreate, we can create pretty much anything we want, either from scratch or by using downloads such as clip art and add ons. Why not check out Creative Fabrica’s great range of downloadable graphics here. There are a lot of cool things to do on Procreate!

Due to the number of great features in the programme, there’s a lot to explore and there are definitely hints and tips which can help everyone. So, whether you’re brand new to digital art, or already have some experience, keep reading for some handy tips and tricks you can use on Procreate.

Contents

Before we get started with some handy hints and tips for Procreate, you might want to check out this article which covers some really great topics if you’re starting from scratch!

Procreate Shortcuts and Gestures

There are a number of shortcuts you can use in Procreate which are quicker than using the tools or menus. Once you get used to the programme, these shortcuts can really be a lifesaver! Personally, I discovered a couple of them by mistake, however, below is a full list of gestures and shortcuts for Procreate. They may take a little getting used to, but they are super handy once you master them.

Zoom In
Pinch two fingers outwards, the same way you’d zoom into a photograph on your tablet or mobile phone

Zoom Out
Pinch two fingers inwards, the opposite to zooming in

Rotate Your Canvas
Twist the canvas with two fingers

Undo
Tap the screen with two fingers

Redo
Tap the screen with three fingers

Continuous Undo
Hold down on the screen with two fingers

Continuous Redo
Hold down on the screen with three fingers

Colour Eye Dropper
Tap and hold one finger on your desired colour

Erase Layer
Wiggle three fingers on the screen

Full-Screen Mode
Tap with four fingers

Make Your Canvas the Regular Size
Pinch two fingers closed.

See the Copy, Cut, and Paste Menu
Swipe downwards with three fingers

Those listed above are default gestures which are presets in Procreate. If you want to edit or customise these you can do this by going to the settings tool and selecting prefs and then gesture controls.

Procreate actions menu showing different options

Procreate Gesture Controls menu

You can also click here for even more gestures alongside some great examples of how to use them.

Brush Library Essential Tips

Procreate has a great selection of preset brushes which come included with the programme. There are many projects you can do by using only presets, however, a great advantage of Procreate is that you also have the choice to download extra brushes too.

If you surf the web for Procreate brushes, you’ll find a wide array of designs and something to fit every requirement. You can usually download either brush sets, where all fit a certain theme or individual brushes.

Be sure to check out Creative Fabrica’s selection of Procreate brushes to download here.

In this section of the article, we’re going to look at how we can best utilise the Procreate Brush Library and its most useful features.

Duplicating and Renaming Brushes

As we’re able to edit our brushes, it’s always advised to duplicate the original so that we can go back to it. This rule applies to most things in Procreate, especially layers! Always safeguard your work to minimise losses in case of errors.

To duplicate a brush, open the Brush Library and swipe left on your chosen brush, then select duplicate.

Duplicating a brush in Procreate.

Unfortunately, you can’t rename Procreate’s preset brushes, however, you can rename ones that you have created yourself or downloaded. To do this, click on it to open the brush studio, and then go to the menu option about this brush, tap the title and rename how you wish.

How to rename a custom or downloaded brush on Procreate.

On-screen Brush Adjustments

On the left-hand side of your canvas, you’ll see two sliders. The upper slider controls the brush size, and the lower one controls the brush opacity.

All brushes have different sizes, so if you adjust one’s size to 100%, this won’t necessarily be the same as a different brush.

You can see in the below example how big the difference in 100% brush size is from one brush to the next!

Comparison of difference in brush sizes in Procreate.

Using the Test Drawing Pad

Before we get started with some Procreate tips and tricks for the Brush Library, it’s important to note that we can experiment with our brush settings within the Brush Studio.

You’ll see that the right-hand side of your screen is a blank canvas, and you can use this to test out your chosen settings. By tapping on the drawing pen icon at the top of this area, you can choose from a few basic colours (I find that using a bright colour helps me see a little easier!), clear the drawing pad or reset all brush settings.

You can also adjust the preview size if you would like to make the brush smaller or larger, or have a closer look.

Brush Studio and drawing pad options in Procreate.

Additional Brush Sizing and Opacity

Although the on-screen brush size and opacity sliders generally do whatever we need, there may be times when we need that little extra to make a brush slightly larger or smaller. In some cases, it is possible for us to exceed the ranges set out on the sliders.

To change size limits, go into your Brush Library and tap on one to open the Brush Studio. On the left-hand side menu, scroll down to properties.

As mentioned earlier, we’d advise ensuring you have a copy of any brush before you edit it.

Within the properties section, you’ll see some sliders under the title Brush Behaviour. If you amend these, you can alter the minimums and maximums and obtain a smaller or larger brush. Draw on the canvas to the right-hand side to experiment with your changes.

Procreate's Brush Behaviours setting within the Brush Library.


Stroke Path and Properties

Within Procreate’s Brush Studio, you’ll notice that there are lots of settings that we can play around with. The one you’ll probably use the most is the Stroke Path.

Within the Stroke Path menu, we can adjust the Spacing, StreamLine, Jitter, and Fall Off. Until you know what these all do, the words don’t really mean anything, so keep reading for a quick explanation of each function.

Spacing

This option decides how many times your brush shape appears on the path that you draw. The more space you add, the further away your brush “stamps” will be from one another, i.e. the higher the spacing, the bigger the gap. If your spacing is set to zero, your brush will draw all as one line. You generally will need the spacing set to zero for drawing.

Below are three examples of the spacing set to 0%, 50%, and 100% – notice the difference!

Example of brush spacing at 0% in Procreate.

Example of brush spacing at 50% in Procreate.

Example of brush spacing at 100% in Procreate.


StreamLine

A super handy tool – this one does exactly what it says on the tin. The StreamLine tool smoothens out your lines and removes any bumps or wobbles. It’s perfect for creating text or drawing shapes. The higher your streamline slider is, the smoother your lines will be and vice versa.

Below are examples of the StreamLine being set at 0%, 50%, and 100%.

Example of brush StreamLine at 0% in Procreate.

Example of brush StreamLine at 50% in Procreate.

Example of brush StreamLine at 100% in Procreate.


Jitter

This is a tool that you may use if you need to create a random scattered effect when using your brushes as stamps. Rather than stamping in a uniform line, with the Jitter turned up, your stamp will be randomly offset. So, to keep all of your stamps aligned and ensure a smooth edge to your stroke, turn your Jitter down to zero. If you’re looking for a rough edge to your brush, or a more scattered approach to a brush as a stamp, turn it up.

Below are examples of the Jitter being turned to 0%, 50%, and maximum.

Jitter on Procreate brush set to 0%.

Jitter on Procreate brush set to 50%.

Jitter on Procreate brush set to maximum.


Fall Off

The Fall Off tool is a way to create a gradual fade out on your brush, it begins your stroke at full opacity and decreases it from there. So, turn this tool down for no fade at all, and turn it up to make your stroke turn invisible towards the end.

See below for an example of how the Fall Off tool works – even set to just 29%, rapidly decreases the end of the brush stroke. This is a great tool to use if you’re creating a realistic watercolour effect; you can make your brush strokes “fade out”.

Example of fall off tool in Procreate set to 0%.

Example of fall off tool in Procreate set to 29%.

For some more awesome inspiration on how you can use brushes in Procreate, try browsing Instagram or checking out Procreate’s official YouTube channel.

Procreate’s Colour Palettes

In Procreate, you can quite literally choose any colour you want for your artwork. Sometimes we find great combinations and want to save them for future use. You can also download and import colour palettes and swatches from third-party sources.

When you tap on the colour icon in the top right-hand corner of the app, you’ll see five different views of the colours within Procreate’s Colour Panel, indicating how you can choose your colours.

By selecting the last option, palettes, we can then see and create our own colour combinations. Procreate actually has some great preset palettes too.

Set a Palette as Default

By tapping on any of the swatches within a palette, this sets it as our default colour. If you want to set a palette as your default, click on the set default option on the top right-hand side of your chosen palette. This will then display the palette in all five menus of the Colour Panel.

Example of the Procreate palettes menu.

Creating a Customised Colour Palette

Creating your own custom colour palette is super easy. The first step is to go into the Colour Panel by tapping the colour circle in the top right-hand corner. Choose the palettes option and then click the + on the top right-hand side of the Colour Panel.

Tap the first option, create new palette.

How to create a new colour palette in Procreate.

A blank palette will appear, named “untitled”. If you want to rename this, tap on the title.

How to rename your colour palette in Procreate.

To select colours from the colour chooser and add them to our palette, we now need to view the colours in a different format. Click on disc, the first option from the colour menu.

Find your desired colour, and then simply tap one of the squares in your brand new palette!

Add your own colours from the disc to your new colour palette in Procreate.

Creating a Colour Palette From a Photo

If you have a specific photo or design you want to create a colour palette from, Procreate has a pretty cool feature to do this.

In the Colour Panel, after pressing the +, select new from photos. This will then take you to your tablet’s photo gallery.

How to create a new colour palette from a photo in Procreate.

Choose a photo and select it, you’ll then see a palette appear using the photo’s theme!

Below is the photo from which we’ll create a colour palette and then the resulting palette.

Photo of Copenhagen which we'll use to create a custom colour palette.

Colour palette created from our image of Copenhagen.

To close the Colour Panel, tap anywhere outside of it.

Further Tips for Colour Palettes

Delete a Colour Palette
Simply swipe left on the palette and select delete.

How to delete a colour palette in Procreate.

Delete a Swatch
Hold down on it, and then select delete swatch.

How to delete a swatch from a colour palette in Procreate.

Fill With One of Your Swatches
Drag one of the colours from your palette into an area on the canvas, to fill it with your chosen colour.

Reorder Swatches
Sometimes it may be helpful to organise our swatches, so, to move a swatch from one of your palettes, tap on it and drag it to a new position. Lift your finger from the screen once the swatch is in your desired space.

Replace an Existing Swatch
If you have no empty spaces in your palette, you can replace an existing one by tapping and holding, and then selecting set current colour.

Reorder Palettes
To rearrange your palettes, press and hold on the palettes’ title and then drag it to a new position in the list.

For some inspiration, why not check out Creative Fabrica’s range of colour palettes available for you to download!

There are so many features in Procreate, which means so many tips and tricks! The possibilities with this app truly are endless and there’s a lot to learn, such as blend modes, adding text, and using clipping masks.

We hope that you found the above helpful, feel free to add your own Procreate drawing tips or ask any questions in the comments below.


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