Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sketching on the iPad Using Procreate App - by Debbie

I had heard good things about Savage Interactive's Procreate app for the iPad, so decided to check it out. Nice user interface, and I'm intrigued by the brush-tweaking capabilities. I found the app's preloaded brush set pretty limited, so will be definitely experimenting more with brush import features.

If you're just interested in my summary of the app, skip down to the end of this post.
The image above is my first attempt using Procreate on the iPad. Here's how I did it:

First, I created a new layer and used the Fill command (option when you select a Layer) to choose a basic blue background. Then I browse the Brushes and experimented with textures to use in the sky, on top of the blue.

I used several colors of a stipple pattern for the sky, and then used green for a hillside, and played around with adding textures to that as well.

I created a separate layer and did an ink outline of a little girl. I wasn't crazy about the brush selection for straight inking; I'm going to experiment later with making a brush that has more variety in thickness. For now, though, I chose a basic flat brush.

At this point I realized that the initial colors I chose were way too dark, but decided to fix them later on. I added the ghost figure here, some misty bits, then played around with transparency of the misty layers so the lines wouldn't be so harsh.

I also added a shadow, fiddled around some more with the background to soften up the stipple effect. Then I took the Eraser and worked on the ink outline of the girl to make the outline a little more irregular as well as experimenting with the Smudge tool. Again, I'm hoping to eventually create or find a Brush that's a little closer to the Drippy pen I like so much in Corel Painter.

I could have lightened up the whole thing via an iPad app like Photogene but I decided to use Photoshop instead. Here's the final result:

And so ends my first attempt at using the Procreate App for the iPad. I'm intrigued enough by the interface that I'm going to do some more experimenting with this app. Things I like include:

- eye dropper shortcut tool
- option to insert a photo (handy for photo ref?)
- option to remember tool size & opacity
- supposedly you can export in layered PSD format (haven't tried this yet, though)

Features I need to try out:

- saving colour swatches/sets
- layer blend modes (multiply, screen, add, lighten, exclusion)
- playing around with brush characteristics
- locking alpha pixels (so that transparent pixels aren't affected by paint)
- using Transform to move individual layers around as well as scaling & rotating

Related links:

Come back next week for a post from the fabulous Fred Koehler!

-- Debbie Ridpath Ohi 
On Twitter: @iPadGirl (digital, ebooks, iPads) & @inkyelbows (writing)


  1. Thanks for sharing this Debbie. I don't have an IPAD (yet) and am still addicted to photoshop, so am intrigued to see you using the new tools. It's a great resource for people wanting to learn more about IPAD APPS to draw. I love the little girl too :-)

  2. interesting post...thanks for sharing. I have been using Brushes, but I might give this app a try!

  3. Hazel: I'm getting addicted to Photoshop, too! :-)

    Coral: Thanks! I have Brushes, too, but find it lacking compared to other art apps. I haven't checked out the newest version, tho, so maybe it's improved.

  4. Debbie ... it's all so addictive! I itch to colour ...