Intro to Procreate :: Learning to Draw on the iPad

Intro to Procreate :: Learning to Draw on the iPad

Hi, I’m Lisa Bardot and this is Intro to Procreate: Learning to Draw on the iPad. Procreate is an iPad app that lets you draw anytime, anywhere, with the world of art media literally at your fingertips. Procreate is a powerful and intuitive painting and drawing app for the iPad and can be used to create extremely detailed and advanced artwork, but it is also perfect for beginners because it’s so intuitive to use. Procreate enables you to have every type of drawing and painting medium and limitless colors anytime, anywhere. It’s perfect for helping you establish a daily art making practice. I’m Lisa Bardot, an illustration artist as well as photographer, maker, and all-around creative person. I am an avid believer that creativity is essential and fundamental to all humans and the enabling of creativity and others is a big part of my work. I’ve been using procreate for over five years. I use it for illustration work as well as lettering and sketching, and I am the owner of Bardot Brush one of the leading brush creators for Procreate. Let’s jump right in and learn about the best hardware to use with Procreate. The dream team for using Procreate is the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. You can draw in Procreate with your finger or a third party stylus, but no other tool matches the responsiveness and control of the Apple Pencil. This is how the Apple pencil normally looks. Mine just looks a little special because I put stickers on them. As of this recording, the Apple pencil only works with the current iPad Pro released in late 2018, as well as all previous models of iPad pro, and The 9.7 inch iPad released in early 2018. I recommend getting as large of a screen size as you can afford. I use the 12.9 inch iPad pPro and I love having a large area to work on. If you have less of a budget to work with, the 9.7 inch iPad is a great option because it’s the only non-Pro iPad that works with the Apple pencil. I also highly recommend getting a matte screen protector for your iPad. The glass screen of the iPad can feel a little sticky or slippery, so a matte screen protector is going give you a nice smooth feeling when you draw. In this tutorial, you’ll get a crash course in the Procreate app. You’ll learn the basics, tips, tricks, and everything you need to get you drawing as quickly as possible. Let’s get started! The gallery view is the first thing you’ll see when you open procreate. Here you can browse and open all of your artwork as well as start new pieces. Tap the plus sign to start a new file. You’ll see a variety of canvas size templates and you can easily create your own. I like to use a high-resolution canvas when I work in Procreate. It gives me the option to print my work later on, plus a lot of the brushes I use are optimized for a high-resolution canvas. Let’s create a canvas that is 5,500 by 4,000 pixels This is my favorite size to work with because it takes up the entire iPad screen. When you’re getting set up, I’d also create a vertical canvas that is 4,000 by 5,000 pixels and a square canvas that is 5000 by 5,000 pixels. Let’s name this canvas “High-Res Horizontal”. Tap “Done” and that takes us right into the canvas interface. The first thing we’ll do is take a look at the brushes. Tap the paintbrush in the upper right to access the brushes panel. Procreate comes with a variety of pre-installed brushes covering a range of mediums and styles, but the real magic of Procreate is that you can install or even create your own custom brushes. If you tap on a brush you’ll see that each brush has dozens of settings that manipulate a texture and a shape. You don’t need to get to know these settings right now, but just know that they exist. Tap the arrow to exit the brush settings here. In my brush list I’ve got all the brushes I’ve ever created sorted into sets. To start off, play around with the different brushes. Each brush has different abilities so experiment with different levels of pressure, the speed of your strokes, as well as the tilt of your Apple Pencil to see what different effect each brush can produce. The sliders on the Left allow you to control brush size, and Opacity. You can pinch and spread to zoom in or out and rotate your canvas. Do a quick pinch to have the canvas go back to filling the screen. If you make a mark you want to undo simply tap with two fingers anywhere on the canvas. Tap with two fingers and hold to undo multiple. Tap with three fingers to redo. Tap and hold with three fingers to redo multiple. Use three fingers to “scrub” off the screen and clear all. Let’s take a look at the eraser tool. I’m going to color in a portion of the screen then select the eraser, which is right here. The cool thing about it is you can use any of your brushes as an eraser. Let me undo that. If I look at my brush, I can see that I’m using this one. Now if I tap and hold the eraser, it will automatically select that brush to use as an eraser. Now I can erase and have my eraser marks match the brushes and it will look seamless. Let’s talk about my favorite thing in the world: color! Tap the circle in the upper right and you will see the color picker. Use the outer ring to select your hue, and use the inner disc to fine-tune the lightness darkness or saturation of the color. Let’s lay down a few colors. You can quick select a color by tapping and holding on the screen to invoke the eyedropper. It lets you easily select a color that’s already on the canvas. Let’s save these colors we’ve made. Open the color panel and tap “Palettes”. Tap the plus sign to create a new palette – make sure it’s set to default. Tap back over to disc and we have a new empty color palette to fill up. Select the yellow. To save a color, just tap a square in the palette. Let’s add all these colors to the palette. You can reorder the colors. Just tap, hold, and drag. To delete a color, tap & hold, then tap “delete”. This little finger icon is the smudge tool. It can smudge, smear or soften, or combine brush strokes and colors. The opacity slider controls the strength of the smudging. This can be useful for things like creating smooth color transitions in your drawings. Moving on to layers. Layers are very powerful, and one of the most useful elements of Procreate, and are packed with a ton of amazing features. Tap these two squares in the upper right to open the layers panel. At the bottom is the background color. By default it is white, but tap it to select any color as your background Let’s stick to white. Double tap the color disc near white to automatically select a pure white value. This double tap feature works in nine points on the color wheel and can help you find ideal color values. Back to the layers panel. Tap the layer to access the layers menu. You’ll see several options: rename, select, copy, fill, clear, and more. Tap “clear” so we can start fresh. Let’s select yellow from our palette and draw a banana shape. To fill this area with color quickly, tap the color circle and drag it into the shape. For the details of the banana, we’re gonna put those on a new layer. Tap “layers” and tap + to create a new layer. Now I’m gonna select a blackish-brown and a different brush and draw my details Because I’m working on a new layer, I can edit and erase and the banana layer remains unaffected. Tap this checkbox to hide and show layers. I want to add more texture to this banana. That looks pretty crappy. Undo that. Go to that layer and swipe right with two fingers to enable Alpha Lock. The layer will look like it has a checkerboard pattern behind it. You can also tap and see that alpha lock is enabled. Now when I draw the new color only appears where I’ve already drawn on that layer. Let’s add a new layer. I’m drawing a half circle shape and erasing a bit off the top to give me nice sharp corners. To do the inner orange sections, I’m going to create a new layer. Tap it and turn on Clipping Mask. This is a function similar to Alpha Lock where what I draw will only appear within the confines of the art on the layer below. But this time I can draw in a new layer. I can even turn on Alpha Lock on that layer and add texture and details. Select multiple layers by swiping right with one finger on each layer. Reorder layers by tapping, holding, and dragging. Change the opacity of a layer by tapping the “N” on that layer and adjusting the slider. You can merge layers by pinching them together. You can also duplicate a layer or delete a layer. There are a lot more layer options so play around and see what they do. Here’s another really awesome feature. Can’t draw a straight line to save your life? Have no fear, quick line and quick shape are here! Draw a line, But don’t pick up your pencil. Voila! Perfect line. You can move it around. or put another finger on the canvas to make it snap in 15 degree increments. Tap Edit Shape at the top to edit further. You can also do ovals or circles, rectangles and squares, triangles, or weird crazy polygons. Okay, let’s clear all that away we’ll draw some perfect circles. Oh that’s really bad. But that’s okay. And then well go ahead and fill them in and then I’m gonna add a new layer. Okay, we’ll draw some stems. The Quick Shape feature also works with arcs too so we’re gonna use that here. And then I’m just gonna add a little bit of texture to those cherries just like we did before with Alpha Lock, a little bit darker red. Let’s take a look at the selection tool. It’s the “S” shaped icon in the upper left. Tap it to enable Selection Mode. This menu pops up at the bottom, so I like to zoom the canvas out a bit to see everything. There are several types of selections but the one I use most often is Freehand. You can tap, tap, tap to make a polygon selection or just draw a selection shape freehand. You also have the option to feather or soften the selection edges and clear the selection. You can make rectangle selections, and ellipse selections. Okay, now I’m going to show you the transform tool. Let’s make a new layer and we’re going to write the word “fruity”. Nothing fancy, but I am gonna take the eraser tool and just kind of clean up the edges as I like to have nice sharp corners on my letters. Perfect. Well, maybe not perfect. Let’s fix that F. It’s kind of over too far. I’m gonna first select the F and then tap the arrow to access the transform tool. This is what you use to move elements around the canvas. You can use the options at the bottom to flip, rotate, you can also grab this little green handle and rotate. If you turn the magnetics off you can kind of move freely and you can resize any which way you want. If you have magnetics on you’ll get little guides when you move around, and If you resize, you’ll maintain the uniform shape. Another way to resize objects is by pinching and zooming. And no matter what when you do this, it will always maintain that same size ratio. If you need to zoom in while in Transform Mode, hold down the arrow icon with one finger and spread out to zoom. Tap, tap, tap in any direction to nudge your selection pixel-by-pixel. And we’ll zoom back out. If I tap the transform arrow without making a selection, that’s gonna select the entire contents of that layer. The distort function allows you to manipulate like this if you drag on the corners, or if you grab the edge, it’ll kind of make a shearing effect, and then there’s also the warp option, which you can really get crazy with. You can even, like, fold over, grab in the middle, and move it around and just get really weird with it. I’m gonna reset that. Well, maybe just do something fun like that. And move it over. Perfect. You can select and transform multiple layers at a time. We’re gonna go ahead and select all of our layers by swiping right on each one and then let’s just make a selection here and you can see we can transform just that part. If you need to go back and edit your selection, once you’re in transfer mode tap and hold the selection icon. Before we move on let’s add another fruit to our canvas. Make a new layer, draw a little lime, Add a little bit of texture using Alpha Lock. Okay. Let’s now look at the Adjustments menu, which is the little magic wand icon. I would take some time to go through and see what each option does. Let’s look at the Blur tool. Slide your pencil across the screen to increase the amount of blur. As you can see, the blur is only happening within the confines of this shape, That’s because we have Alpha Lock turned on on that layer. Turn it off and You’ll see it blurs the whole object. Let’s reset that. I also want to show you Liquify because this is a really cool feature. I recommend you just play around with each option and setting and get to know what they all do. But as you can see you can push, twirl, pinch, expand, and more until you have no idea what the hell you are even drawing in the first place. Tap reset to get back to the original shape. Hue Saturation and Brightness is something I use a lot. Use the sliders to adjust the color, saturation, and brightness. And we can turn this lime into a lemon. let’s reset that and go back. The last menu I’d like to show you is the Actions menu. It’s the first icon in the toolbar and it looks like a wrench. Tap add and then insert a photo. Bring up your camera roll and let’s choose this picture of a strawberry that I saved. We’re gonna resize it. Right there And then we’re gonna add a new layer. This is really handy because you can take a photo and just trace over it and then just turn off the layer with the photo. Let’s add some texture to that. And some nice stems. Next is Canvas and One useful tool is Crop and Resize that allows you to change the shape and size of your canvas. Let’s reset that. Drawing guides can be really useful and fun. To show you this feature, let’s quickly create a new canvas. Turn on the Drawing Guide and tap Edit Drawing Guide. There are a few different guides like a 2d grid, isometric grid, a perspective guide, and one that is super fun, which is the symmetry feature. Tap Symmetry and then tap Radial and then make sure Assisted Drawing is on, and then tap Done. Now just draw. It’s actually pretty therapeutic to spend time just kind of doodling this way and having fun. Okay, let’s go back to our fruity piece. Tap Video under the Action menu. One of my favorite things about Procreate is the ability to play back everything you’ve done in a timelapse replay. It’s really satisfying to watch the whole process. You can even export your time-lapse video to share or post. And then there’s a whole load of preferences that you can customize to your liking. Finally let’s tap Share. You can share your artwork in a variety of formats. The two I use most are PSD and JPEG. PSD is a Photoshop-compatible format that maintains your layers. It’s great if you need to finish up a piece on your computer. But the one you’ll probably use most often is JPEG. Tap that and you can save the file to your device, or share it in a number of ways. Now that we’re all done learning about the canvas interface, tap gallery to exit back to the gallery view. I think it’s always a good idea to give your pieces a name, so let’s call this one “Fruity”. Just tap the title, and type it in. Swipe left on a thumbnail to access the same sharing options. You can also duplicate a file or delete it. You can reorder your files and organize them by grouping them into stacks. Tap “Select” at the top, then select the files you want to group, and tap “Stack”. You can rename your stack as well. Let’s call this one “Learning Procreate”. I hope you found this tutorial useful and it got you excited about drawing in Procreate. Please be sure to subscribe to learn even more about drawing, illustration, and of course, working in Procreate I’m a big believer in the benefits of spending time each day Making Art. if you’re not sure what to draw, I’ve got some helpful resources. Visit for daily drawing prompts, tutorials, and motivation to help you overcome creative fears and establish a daily art making practice. I’ve also created a really fun random idea generator at And for high-quality Procreate brushes that inspire you to create go to Thanks and happy art making! If you liked this video, please subscribe for more awesome tutorial. And check out one of my other videos. Have a great day!

100 thoughts on “Intro to Procreate :: Learning to Draw on the iPad

  1. When I saw the video and realized that it will take 20 minutes, I told myself that I don’t have 20 minutes. But as soon as the video started I was glad that I watched it
    It is very helpful and easy to follow, I’ve watched it then I watched it again to follow up with my ipad.
    Now I understand the difference between Alpha clipping and clipping mask. Thank you so much I am really happy that I found your video. Liked and subscribed

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! Still can’t get my head around this and miss my paper and pencils…but I will keep trying

  3. Ok for real though I’ve been trying to find a good intro video that’s concise, but effectively goes over how to use the most basic functions on Procreate and you did a great job! I’ve always struggled with 2-D art (I’m a ceramics nerd), and all these inktober posts that I’ve been seeing has really sparked my curiosity. I can’t wait to watch your other videos/tutorials!

  4. I'm looking for something like photo shot but I think I like this better. I wanted to know if I could just get a picture from the internet and fix it the way I want it… or draw on it… oh yeah does it have Text? to right on the picture? thank you

  5. Me: alpha lock doesn’t work ☹️☹️☹️ stupid iPad

    Realizes I have to use two fingers to swipe: stupid ipad stupid me

  6. Thanks for the great tutorial
    My iPad is arriving this week! The screen protector you recommend isn’t available… do you know of another good one? I’ve heard paperlike is good too but I’m concerned about dimming my screen too much as I will be doing other things on the iPad than just design. Any feedback/guidance is appreciated

  7. i have the first ipad ever made, its super old, but it still works, does that actually work on that? because i dunt have moneh for a new one

  8. Do you need to have a specific generation of the Apple Pencil in order for it to work on the new iPad Pro? Or can I just use either?

  9. What a wonderful review and demonstration of Procreate! This is the best demonstration of features I've found here on Youtube. Perfect! Thank YOU 🙂

  10. Can you tell me what matte screen protector you used? I keep hearing about the paperlike protector. Which would you recommend?

  11. Hi. I've drawn and painted for years, ,but have never used an app or a tablet for art before. I bought an Ipad to do some really clean transparent pieces and had no idea that it was so difficult to learn. I feel like I'm on a train that never stops at the station long enough for me to get off. As a rank beginner in digital art, this is way too fast.

  12. Hello, Thank you for the Video. It really helped. I have a question though. I just bought an Ipad pro 12.9inch and let the store staff add a panzer glass screen protector. Is it okay to put the matte anti glare on top of it? Will it affect how I draw? 🤔

  13. Another iPad version is the new iPad 7th gen for people who are wondering. This video came out before the 7th gen iPad.

  14. I usually avoid tutorials like the plague because I think I can figure it out myself.

    But thanks for this tutorial, I honestly needed it.

  15. Wow I thought I had seen good beginner tutorials for procreate! I was dead wrong this one is amazing to a whole other level. Need to see your other videos ASAP

  16. This was amazing! Can’t wait to watch your other videos and check out the other info you suggested too. Thanks for making it look so simple and fun!!!

  17. Hey, I'm thinking about getting myself an iPad Pro 11'' for Christmas so I can take notes in uni and draw. Is it really worth the price? I really want one, but I'm scraed I might just have an expensive toy laying around after a while. Also, what kind of matte screen protector can you recommend/did you use?

  18. You also don't need an apple Pencil. I use a $25 dollar stylus that works and looks like an apple pencil. It even works like the apple pencil with the pressure and stuff.

  19. BB you're awesome but too fast with gestures. Also my interface looks different from yours and sometimes I can't replicate your actions.

  20. Thank u so much for this. Just got my procreate and urs was the first video I saw. Really amazed and excited to work on my Procreate

  21. Just bought an iPad wasn’t sure how I would feel about drawing on it but with this app and your help it has motivated me even more ! Thanks !!!

  22. i’m going to start saving for the ipad with a 9.7 inch display. it’s $799… oh boy, that’s gonna take awhile… wish me luck!

  23. I’m getting an iPad in a few months, along with an Apple Pencil. And after watching this I guess the plan of getting an iPad Air won’t work because it doesn’t work with the Apple Pencil lol

  24. Thank you so much for this comprehensive and engaging video! I just got myself an iPad a week ago & have zero experiencing drawing, but after your excellent tutorial I feel like I have the tools to start my journey! You rock!

  25. Wow! Thank you Lisa! I came across your excellent how-to video researching Procreate. My new iPad Pro + pencil arrive this morning. You video was SUPER HELPFUL! Thank you + subscribed! -Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *