7 Procreate Tips & Tricks You May Not Know About

7 Procreate Tips & Tricks You May Not Know About

With new updates for Procreate coming more frequently, it can be easy to miss some classic time-saving tips to help you smooth out your drawing and painting workflow.

Whether you’re already familiar with Procreate or opening it for the first time, we’ll be looking at our top 7 features and gestures to help you move around the Procreate interface like a pro, making it even easier to create great digital art.

Note: All brushes used throughout this tutorial are available in our bestselling Complete Mid-Century Brush Collection for Procreate.

Just starting out with Procreate?

Be sure to check out our other Procreate tutorials including:

1. Color Palette

A distinct feature of Mid-Century illustration is the use of bold, contrasting colors. When working with a simple color palette, it’s important to have easy access to them.

The Color Palette Panel in Procreate is intuitive and easy to use. If you want to sample a color value, tap the square outline icon on the left menu bar to bring up your color picker. Drag this over the color you wish to sample and it will appear in the color circle in the top menu.

💡Top Tip: Another way to pick a color from your document is to tap and hold your finger over the part of your art you want to sample.

Tapping the color circle will reveal the settings. You can then save color values by tapping a blank square within the Color Palette panel.

You’ll notice you have the option to set the Palette to ‘Default’. Doing this will keep the palette active through the other color setting screens.

You can also delete a color swatch - tap and hold on the swatch square and choose ‘Delete’. Or to delete the whole palette, swipe to the left and tap ‘Delete’.

Color Palettes are global and available across all documents.

💡 Top Tip:  Procreate 5.0 brought us a Primary and Secondary active color that you can swap between. There is also a color history which keeps a log of your last 10 used colors.

There are two ways to view the Palettes– Compact mode and Cards mode.

The Compact mode, as the name suggests, will allow you to view your palettes in smaller squares, allowing you to view multiple palettes at one time.

Card mode will make your Palette swatches much larger, which is great for when you are focusing on one palette and visualizing how it will work with your artwork.

2. Color Drop Fill

Another handy, time-saving trick is the color drop feature. Draw an outline around the area you want to fill, making sure the shape is completely closed with no gaps. Drag the color circle from the top menu within the shape to fill the area.

You may want to go back over the area with a textured brush and roughen the edges or add some grain.

Drag and drop a color sample in Procreate to fill a shape.

Brushes used: RSCO Dixon HB 2 for the outline and RSCO Grain II for the grain, both from The Complete Mid-Century Brush Collection for Procreate.

It's important have no gaps in the shape outline for this to work properly, so you'll want to use a brush with minimal texture.

💡 Top Tip: You can adjust the threshold of your fill be keeping your finger or Apple Pencil on your screen after the color has filled your shape and moving it either right or left to fill in any gaps that may exist between your line and fill.

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3. Liquify

Liquify can be a like a psychedelic time machine, producing crazy graphics that look like portals to another dimension. When used with restraint, it adds realistic ripples to shapes and strokes– perfect for drawing coffee steam or roughening up the edges of an outline!

You'll find the Liquify settings in the drop-down menu, under Adjustments Panel. This will bring up preferences along the bottom of the screen.

You can choose between Push, Twirl Right, Twirl Left, Pinch, Expand, Crystals and Edge.

There are sliders to adjust the size and pressure as well as distortion and momentum. If you take things a bit too far, you can use the ‘Reconstruct’ setting to knock back the effect or ‘Reset’ to remove it completely.

How to use Liquify in Procreate

Brush used: RSCO Fine Gouache from The Complete Mid-Century Brush Collection for Procreate.

💡 Top Tip: Procreate 5 brought the ability to adjust filters using your Apple Pencil rather than having the filter apply over the entire layer. This means that you can have greater control over how you apply liquify to your art.

Mid-Century Mastery

Get our best-selling collection of retro inspired Procreate brushes for one low price! Includes painting, lining, and texture brushes for all your projects.

4. Symmetry

Another fantastic feature that came with the previous update is the Symmetry tool. The Procreate community went wild for it, flooding Instagram with beautiful, intricate patterns.

But if mandalas aren’t your thing, you may also find it useful for your regular digital drawing process.

With Symmetry activated, your design is reflected on the opposite side of your canvas.

To access the Symmetry settings, open the ‘Actions’ panel and under the Canvas menu, turn on the toggle that says ‘Drawing Guide’. Tap ‘Edit Drawing Guide’ (below the toggle).

You can choose between Vertical, Horizontal, Quadrant or Radial symmetry. Tap ‘Done’ to return to your canvas.

You can disable the symmetry settings by tapping the layer thumbnail and turning off 'Drawing Assist'.

How to use the Symmetry feature in Procreate

💡 Top Tip: Sometimes you need to add non-symmetrical elements to your work, but don’t want to have to turn off your symmetry guide. On the flip side, you might find that your symmetry guide isn’t active when you make a new layer.

You can solve both issues by tapping on your active layer and tapping “Drawing Assist.” Note that this option will only be available if you have already turned on Drawing Assist from your canvas settings.

5. Quickshape

One drawback for illustrating in Procreate was always its lack of shape tools. If you wanted to draw a perfect circle, rectangle, or triangle, you had to draw it in another application and then import it back into Procreate.

But those days are a thing of the past. With the previous Procreate update comes QuickShape. This allows you to turn your sketchy shape into a smooth symmetrical one.

To do this, complete the shape outline and pause as you close the path. The shape snaps into place like magic!

You can also draw perfectly straight lines by holding your pencil down at the end of the stroke.

How to use Quickshape in Procreate

Brush used: RSCO Classic Inker from The Complete Mid-Century Brush Collection for Procreate.

💡 Top Tip: You can edit your quick shape easily by selecting “Edit Shape” at the top of your screen after Quick Shape mode has been activated. This is useful if you need to adjust the shape or if Procreate has incorrectly guessed which shape you are wanting to make (e.g. a Polyline shape instead of a rectangle).

6. Brush Switch

If you hold down the Eraser Tool in the top menu for a couple of seconds, it will swap the eraser brush to the current one you are using for painting (and vice versa). A very simple, but powerful tip!

You can switch between painting and erasing to get some interesting texture results.

How to swap eraser to paint brush in Procreate

7. Alpha Lock to Recolor

There are many times when we need to change direction on a color palette half way through a design. The ‘Alpha Lock’ feature is useful in those situations, allowing you to recolor individual layers.

Tap the layer thumbnail and choose ‘Alpha Lock’ (or two finger swipe to the right if you want to get fancy). This now locks the transparency. Next tap your layer again and choose 'Fill Layer'.

You can also use this feature to paint a textured grain onto a layer.

Want to learn more about channels and masks? Check out our in-depth article here.

How to use Alpha Lock in Procreate

I hope you enjoyed these tips and found something you can use to improve your workflow. I'd love to know your favorite– please leave a comment below and tell us which you liked the best.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference!

All brushes used throughout this tutorial are available in our popular Complete Mid-Century Brush Collection for Procreate, which includes our entire Mid-Century for Procreate line of products. You might also want to consider The Complete Collection for Procreate which includes every product for Procreate that we've made to date!

Everything You need

Our Complete Collection for Procreate is everything you need to create high quality artwork on your tablet.