One of the most used creative apps is Procreate, and many Procreate artists use it to draw, paint, animate, create custom lettering, and more.
There are many things I keep discovering about Procreate that blows my mind, and recently I was blessed to collaborate with over 30 best Procreate artists. Because I keep discovering things in the app, I asked each Procreate artist “What is one Procreate tip you wished you knew before you started using the app?”.
As I collaborated with more and more top Procreate artists, I noticed that each of the artist’s responses fit into one of these categories:
With that said, I have organized all the responses into one of these categories, as well as give a brief description of each within their section.
Other related Procreate and Drawing topics you might enjoy:
- 18 Must-Know Procreate Tips for Beginners
- How to Use the Procreate Animation Tool
- 50 of the Best Free Procreate Brushes
- Over 80 Sketchbook Ideas to Make Your Drawings Interesting
- Top 20 Art YouTube Channels You Do Not Want to Miss!
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Whether it’s Procreate’s shortcuts, configuration, or the ease of working in the app, here are some of the best Procreate artists that love the workflow in Procreate!
I have so far had a great experience with Procreate! I have always been slow with learning new programs, and when I first started using Procreate, I had only had experience making digital artwork on Photoshop.
A big part of my creative process is an efficient workflow so that I can manage all of my projects for school and other work, and I was worried that working with Procreate would slow me down, or take too long to learn.
Because of this, I was initially very nervous to start working with a completely new program, but it turns out that I didn’t need to worry! Procreate is a very intuitive and easy tool to learn, and I found that after a bit of troubleshooting and watching a few tutorials, I was able to quickly get a handle on how to make the type of art that I wanted to without having to go through weeks of struggling.
I also didn’t realize how advantageous it was to work on an app that used an iPad. I didn’t realize how convenient it was to be able to work on artwork anytime, anywhere, be it on a plane, riding a bus, sitting at a tiny coffee shop seat, or even lying in bed.
That also helped me get a lot of work done faster because I was no longer inhibited by only being able to do work sitting down at a desk at a computer and tablet.
My only frustration is that Procreate has not yet come up with a feature to allow me to work on files that are larger for things like production artwork, which requires a very high resolution and a lot of layers, but for many of the smaller personal projects that I work on in-between work and school, it works perfectly!
I’d say it took me a while to realize the practicality of shortcut gestures. Getting comfortable with them can help to maintain the flow better. And that is essential. So knowing they are there, and then getting comfortable with them in the early stages could go a long way.
The one Procreate tip I wish I knew when I started was how to create straight lines and finer curves by pressing down the pen, it took me a fair while to figure that out 😂.
I’d never drawn on an iPad or used digital software for my work before so taking some time to personalize my pencil setting made the transition from paper to iPad really natural. Even now, years later, I switch between paper and Procreate, but my process is the same. Really simple pencil, one layer, lots of hours.
I wish I had known how smooth the workflow was. I never really worked digitally much using a tablet and Photoshop because I didn’t really enjoy the workflow. It didn’t feel very organic.
In Procreate, though, the user interface is so intuitive and fluid that I can generate tons of ideas or designs without constantly having to click shortcuts with my non-drawing hand. I actually prefer it to working traditionally, now.
I’ve always wished for an app like Procreate! Being able to draw and paint in such an artist-friendly app on a mobile device has changed my entire workflow for the better.
Procreate is an ever-evolving software, one that I’ve been using since week one of its release. I’m still constantly amazed by new tricks and tips people figure out. For the longest time, I didn’t know you could scale an image and move the canvas at the same time (holding down the little arrow button, then you can scroll around).
I find that exploring what the community has to offer with brushes and watching timelapse videos that artists make to see their workflow has definitely accelerated my learning. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed seeing, all the things people have accomplished with Procreate. From industrial design to, now, animation.
Hey! So I think what I wished I knew before using Procreate was just how easy and intuitive it is. I put off digital art for a long time since I felt like the technical aspects would make the process harder but it’s the exact opposite that happened. Procreate is very easy to pick up, and became an essential part of my workflow very fast.
I guess the one Procreate tip I wish I knew was when you draw a line or a shape you can tap and hold to make it perfectly straight or a smooth/ uniform shape. It took me a long time to accidentally find that one out and now it seems like such a simple fundamental feature.
Here are top Procreate artists whose responses tie into one of the app’s amazing features.
In my artwork, I use scanned textures that I import to Procreate. At first, I erased everything of the texture that I didn’t need, maybe changed its levels or saturation.
The problem was that sometimes I needed parts of the texture that I already erased. I had to import it again, erase what I didn’t need, and do all the changes in the color and levels again. Imagine my surprise when I found out about masking 😂
I wish I had known about the color drop option. You can drag the color circle to fill an area, and adjust it accordingly. That really saves time during the process.
I wish I knew how much I’d love timelapse replay and how convenient it was. With just the tap of a button, I could go back and watch the whole process of my artwork and it’s an experience every time going through 12 hours of painting in 5 minutes.
Well, Procreate had many features that I didn’t know before! Like a quick menu! Or quick shapes I think if I said the right name!
Here’s an answer from someone who has used it from the beginning, read every user guide, and beta-tested multiple versions of the app: I wish I’d known that Procreate would introduce animation tools so intuitive to artists like me who are used to the later stack environment that they would make me feel like an animator almost immediately.
Knowing that would have saved me a lot of money on other, less intuitive animation apps. It also would have made me study animation more in anticipation of the new tools. Animating in Procreate 5 is a dream and I wish I had more time for it. Maybe I’ll MAKE time for it. 🤔
One Procreate tip I wish I knew before I started using Procreate was Procreate! I spent several years doing illustrations with Photoshop and Handmade. These are totally fine, but there were many jobs that only required digital and Procreate is so much easier and fun to use.
I also wish I knew more about animation because I don’t have much time to learn right now, and back then I did.
I also forgot to mention, Procreate allows me to complete my illustrations faster than my previous methods.
When I first began using Procreate, I would duplicate my line art layer. With the line art duplicated, I would start filling in areas on the second layer of line art.
I wish I would have known that I could have just used the “Reference” setting on my line art layer to fill in colors on different layers without having to duplicate my line art layer.
The “Reference” setting is a layer setting that allows you to fill and draw on other layers while only referring to a specific layer(s) that you choose.
In my opinion, one of the greatest things about Procreate, apart from its super powerful Brush engine and its unmatched speed, is its extremely well designed U.I. It is very intuitive and although it’s quite minimal, it allows you to perform a vast number of tasks with a minimum amount of steps.
This is where the Gesture Controls page, in the Action > Preferences tab comes in, and here are some of my favourite preferences settings:
- Set the QuickMenu to be triggered with [ ] + Touch. Holding the [ ] icon and touching the screen will pop a radial menu up, giving you quick access to 8 shortcuts. Once they’re up, you can touch and hold any one of them in order to remap their binding to pretty much anything you want. Once you’re happy with your radial menu setup, you can quickly invoke one of its items by holding the [ ] icon and performing a short one finger swipe in the direction of the desired item.
- You can also set Layer Select to Touch and hold. That way, Your finger will act as a ‘laser’ and a little layer stack will pop up, listing everything you’ve hit. Super useful.
- Now, because you’re setting touch gestures up, it’s possible that every once in awhile your touch actions, or your palm, will create a paint, smudge, or erase stroke by mistake. To avoid that, You can turn on Disable Touch actions in the General tab of the Gesture Controls. This means that only the stylus can draw, erase, or smudge.
Here are more tips about the Brush / Smudge / Eraser tools, the layers, and the color palette
- When you touch and hold a tool to select it, it will select it but it will keep the brush of the previous tool you were using. For example, say you’re painting with the brush Nikko Rull, if you touch and hold the eraser tool, it will select the eraser and switch its brush to Nikko Rull automatically.
- In the layers menu, swipe a layer with two fingers towards the right to enable Lock Transparency
- In the palette menu, try the various Harmony modes. So good.
- Drag the color palette towards the center of your page – it’s now floating over your canvas.
Finally, Procreate does have a great user manual as well as a huge amount of video tutorials. It’s definitely worth having a look at these, especially the ones about the new brush engine, for it is, so, powerful.
The first thing I would have loved to know, perhaps, was the Layer limitation depends on the amount of memory your iPad has, I think this is random but Is the only thing that comes to my mind, Procreate is very intuitive by the way.
Of course, every great creative app needs brushes and these artists commented on how Procreate’s brushes impacted them.
Procreate really saves me time because I did a lot of painting before that! And that’s so nice to be able to paint on Procreate! Because with real paint it’s hard to fix mistakes or to change colors for example.
I think it’s very useful and with all the brushes available in the application I can get renders close to the ones I have with my gouache tubes. I am often asked if my drawings are digital or not.
I’m not very technical in Procreate, I love that you can easily draw in layers on the go, I play around with the brush settings to create nice textures and use the masking and alpha lock feature a lot to draw in shapes. I just wish I started earlier with Procreate, it’s so user friendly and fun to play around with.
I created a lot of mixed analog and digital collage illustrations before but with Procreate I started drawing again, also on paper. It’s easy you don’t have to set up materials, papers, and paints.
I wish I knew how powerful the brush engine actually was. For the longest period of time, I used the basic brushes for everything. Only recently I started importing PS brushes and creating new ones. They are a game-changer!
Oh, I think what definitely helped me was to expand my brush collection and find some extra textures and brushes that mimicked the materials I use when I worked manually.
I also recently discovered that you can make your own pattern brushed but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
Procreate is used by many working professionals in the industry, and here are artists who use Procreate reflecting their thoughts in working in the industry.
Honestly, I wish I had known of its existence and viability for artistic 2d professionals. Prior to buying Procreate, I was not aware of the app as an option for working artists.
I wish I had known how much I would love the brushes and how they create and interact with the paint in a way that is instinctual and quick to control. There’s something very satisfying when even a few brush strokes can lay down paint into something visually pleasing. I use Procreate every day, I only wish I knew about it sooner!
I wish I knew earlier the physical freedom Procreate would provide me to create professional-level work and illustration assignments.
No longer chained to my studio with a desktop and a tablet, I create fine art and illustration from my porch looking towards the woods, in my car, sitting in a cafe people gazing. Freedom for me is conducive to greater creativity.
I wanted to know if I could use it in order to work on professional projects. Which was the case 🙂
Procreate has proven to be the perfect tool for making illustrations requiring precise lines as well as meticulous details.
One Procreate tip that doesn’t get talked about enough when working digitally is backing up your work. Here are some of the best Procreate artists who talk about the importance of backing up their work.
Liquify can be a best friend. You can select an area and copy/paste that part.
There are so many color profiles before you make a canvas. But be careful of using the P3 color profile. It’s not compatible with every display, especially yellow colors.
It’s good to change video quality to lossless just in case. Don’t stick to brushes. Procreate basic brushes can express almost every way you want.
And.. don’t forget to BACKUP.
Procreate is a wonderful way to sketch out ideas or make finished work anywhere you want to bring your tablet. I just wish I would have had the foresight to regularly back up my Procreate work to my home computer. One small mistake happened at the beginning of 2020 and I lost hundreds of files. As much as that hurt, I learned from it and started backing up my work every week.
Procreate has so many amazing aspects to it, that it’s difficult to put them into a singular category. Here are artists who use Procreate expressing other great things about the app that don’t necessarily fit into the previous categories.
My style in Procreate doesn’t need to be similar to my usual. I can search for a lot of new interesting styles and techniques.
It’s just because Procreate is another program, it’s not Photoshop so pictures will have a new style too, because of technology.
I wish I knew how great this program is because then I would’ve bought the biggest iPad. I use it every day for almost every work I do and the smaller screen I have right now is kinda making me work slower. If I had the biggest iPad Pro working would be a bit more efficient. But maybe I’ll get it after saving some money. 😊
That’s a really hard question. The only reason I ever found Procreate at all was that in 2016 I asked my husband to buy me an iPad for Christmas because I wanted to play Candy Crush on a bigger screen. I soon discovered that the iPad offered plenty of creative applications too.
I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how versatile, accessible, and powerful the app actually is. Procreate competes easily with digital software that costs more each month than the one-off cost of purchasing Procreate from the App Store.
There’s nothing I would really go back in time and tell myself – it would ruin the surprise and fun of falling in love with the software. 🙂
I guess the only thing would be to tell myself to be patient. When I first started using Procreate, Quick Shape hadn’t been added, nor had the symmetry tool. I spent time creating workaround processes just to throw them out because we were gifted the features in the app via updates. So much great stuff was coming!
When I started using Procreate I started to understand that this was a new tool that would enable artists to do completely new things both in the traditional sense as well with digital arts. It is so much fun using it, it kind of brought back the fun of sketching and painting in a totally new way.
One Procreate tip I wished to know before I started to use Procreate is – no need to look for any more paint apps on the iPad, much less spend money on them 😂.
Currently, I spend 99% of my drawing time with Procreate. Relative to other art apps, Procreate feels solid. The app functionality covers almost all the needs for my pipeline.
For me, the one Procreate tip I wish I knew before I started using Procreate is to let the program be itself. What I mean by that is my background is in traditional art. I’m an oil painter. When I started using Procreate I tried extremely hard to make it look like oil paint.
I was spending so much time on researching brushes, smudge tools, etc. all in the hopes of finding some magic way to make it look like an oil painting. At some point, I just decided to let the program be itself and I began to experiment without any preconceptions.
A lot of people say that my digital work looks ‘analog’ or just not like a digital piece at all, which is great. But it happened on its own without me forcing it to be something it is not.
Procreate is an app designed to help artists make things and do what they love. After my talks with these amazing top Procreate artists, I can clearly see how this app has impacted artists who use Procreate in their creative pursuits. The fun and interesting part for me is Procreate helps all these artists in different ways. I’ve learned so much with my talks with these guys.
Now if I may share a behind-the-scenes moment from my process of contacting these guys and collaborating them.
I can’t thank all these artists featured on this post enough. All of them were exceptionally gracious with their time, and they all were eager to be part of this. It is amazing for them to share their insights in order to help the creative community.
Each of their names is linked to Instagram accounts, so if you’re an art appreciator or a fellow artist looking for inspiration, I highly recommend going to their account and engaging with their content.
What is something you discovered in Procreate that you wished you knew earlier?