Procreate Tips You Need to Know

Procreate Tips You Need to Know main article image
Posted on November 3, 2021 by Becky Liddle
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Procreate is a fantastically versatile program available on iPad which allows us to create practically any sort of digital art we like! It’s packed with useful features which can be used to create anything from realistic portraits to edgy graphic designs. In this article, we’ll look at some hints and tips to enhance your experience on Procreate.

We published an article back in August containing 15 handy tips and tricks for Procreate, but the program has so many features, that it’s impossible to fit them all into one post! To check out the original post, click here. We’d recommend you read the first article as it covers the following Procreate basics:

  • Shortcuts and gestures
  • Using the Brush Library
  • Using colour palettes

If you’re brand new to Procreate, we’d advise taking a look at this beginner’s tutorial which will get you off to a flying start with the program.

In this article, we’ll cover the below topics:

  • How to use Procreate’s Layers Panel
  • Quickshape and Quickline Features
  • Adding and Editing Text

How to use Procreate’s Layers Panel

An essential part of creating digital artwork is to utilise the layers feature. These allow you to stack elements or text on top of each other without affecting other elements. You can move and edit them without the risk of altering the rest of your work. It’s an essential way to mitigate errors.

To open the layers panel, tap on the two squares icon in the top right-hand corner of the app, next to the colour chooser. Below is an overview of the Procreate layers panel:

To add a new layer, tap the + on the top right-hand corner.

You can also see a small thumbnail preview of your layer. This is handy for choosing your layer if you’re moving various elements around.

When a layer is highlighted blue, this means that it’s selected. Any creative actions you take now will appear on this layer only.

You’ll also notice a small checkbox next to each layer. When this is ticked, it means that the layer is visible. Tap it to uncheck it, and your layer will become invisible.

The small N next to the checkbox is where we amend blend modes. In this section, a really useful tool is the opacity slider. Toggle this to the left, to make your layer more opaque – slide it to the right and your layer is 100% visible.

You’ll also see a list with options for the layer, which we call blend modes. These are all ways in which layers work together and allow you to create different effects. We’ll go into these in-depth in a future article.

The first (and bottom) layer in your list is the background colour. This is automated with any Procreate canvas, you can tap on the layer thumbnail to set this.

A super handy feature for if you want to export your artwork as a PNG, which has no solid background, is to hide the background colour layer. This will give your element or artwork a transparent background.

Tap on the layer thumbnail to show the layer options menu. In this, you can use basic functions such as renaming your layer, select, clear, copy, or fill. You can also use the masking tools; click here for a guide to these.

Quickshape and Quickline Features

We all know that it can be really difficult to draw exact shapes or lines by hand, but fortunately for us, Procreate can do this automatically!

To draw an exact straight line in Procreate, choose your desired brush and colour, and roughly draw a straight line – you really don’t have to worry about being exact at all.

Hold your stylus on the screen and press down more firmly than you usually would to draw, you’ll then see that the line snaps and becomes straight!

You’ll then see a message pop up along the top which you can tap to edit the shape.

After selecting edit shape, you’ll see a transform node at each end of the line. Move these around as you wish, to resize or reposition your line.

You can do the same thing with circles too. Draw a rough circle on your canvas, and hold down your stylus to allow the shape to snap to an ellipse, which is slightly oval-shaped.

You can again, use the nodes to reshape your ellipse. If you want an exact circle, you can choose the circle option from the pop-up menu at the top of the screen.

You guessed it, you can do the same with a square! Draw your rough square and hold down on the screen. It’ll then snap to a straight-lined shape.

Use the options along the top of the screen to select your chosen shape.

Adding and Editing Text

A great feature of Procreate is that you can add text, and incorporate this into your work.

To add text, tap on the settings tool (which looks like a wrench) and then tap add text.

You’ll then see the keyboard pop up – type in your desired wording.

To then open the text editor, tap on the Aa symbol to the right-hand side of the keyboard, along the top of the menu.

To go back to the keyboard, tap on the small keyboard symbol in the text editor above the font title.

In the text editor, we have many options for amending our wording. On the left-hand side, you’ll see that you can select your font.

For a guide on how to install fonts, click here.

Next to this, you have the font style options, with enhanced versions of bold and italic.

Tip: double tap on the text to highlight it, you’re then able to edit.

You’ll then see the design section, where you can change the size and direction of the font. See below for an explanation of these options:

Size
Does what it says on the tin, amends the size of the text.

Kerning
Amends the space between selected letters – highlight the ones you want to amend first.

Tracking
Changes the space between each letter of your text.

Leading
Adjusts the space between each line of your text.

Baseline
Moves your text up and down by amending its starting point.

Opacity
Changes how transparent your text is, the same as your layer and brush opacity tools.

The last section is attributes, where you can change parts of your text such as adding underlines and outlines. You’re also able to toggle capitals and align your text.

For a comprehensive overview of these tools, check out Procreate’s official handbook.

As you can see, there are a lot of things to explore within Procreate’s text editor, it’s worth spending some time exploring all of the options to maximise your creative potential!

We hope that you found these handy hints and tips useful, let us know your favourite Procreate feature in the comments!


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