In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to make a beautiful fruit illustration in Procreate.
We'll use simple geometric shapes, a minimal color palette, and some rich gouache inspired textures.
Plus, we'll cover all the steps so you can follow along including:
- Setting up your workspace in Procreate.
- Making your initial concept sketches.
- Choosing a color palette.
- Blocking out the main shapes of the composition.
- Adding final textures and details for an authentic retro look.
In order to follow along, make sure you have the following:
- iPad and Apple Pencil
- Procreate (available in the App Store)
- The Mid-Century Brush Pack for Procreate
1. Pick a fruit!
First, choose a fruit for your subject. Citrus fruits are especially great for this, because they’re round and perfect for geometric illustrations. Any fruit will work, though. I’m going to be illustrating a few oranges.
Once you've chosen your fruit, find some reference images if you need them. Since we’re just going to be working with the base shapes of these fruits, you may have a solid image in your brain to work from. If not, search around your neighborhood if your fruit is in season or do a quick google image search for your fruit.
Study the overall shapes of the fruit you chose. For example: if you chose a pineapple, what geometric shapes can you combine together to make a simplified version? Maybe a rectangle and a few large circles for the base, and some triangles for the leaves up top. If you chose an avocado, a few circles and a triangle could do the trick.
Since I’m going to be illustrating an orange, I’ll be utilizing circles for the outlines and triangles for the pieces of fruit in the cross-section.
2. Sketch out a rough outline.
Open up Procreate and create a new 8’x10” canvas. Open your layers panel in the top right. Tap the + to create a new layer and rename it Sketch, or something similar, by tapping on the layer and selecting Rename.
Then, sketch out a rough outline of your composition (the RSCo HB Brush works great for sketches!). I started with some circles for the oranges and also added in some leaves to balance out the composition and create some visual interest. I’ve placed a few of the oranges very close to each other to create interesting negative space in between.
3. Choose a color palette and block out your shapes
I’m going to choose bright colors for my illustration since citrus fruit tends to be vibrant — but feel free to choose any. I tend to find that the fewer colors I choose, the more refined the piece feels.
We want to make sure that we have a different layer for each element of our composition because later we will be adjusting the blend modes of each layer to create dimension.
Change the opacity of your Sketch layer to 50% by tapping the N and dragging the slider to 50%. Make sure this layer stays at the top so you can see it while you’re drawing your shapes.
Create a new layer for your fruit (I’m calling mine Oranges). I’m going to be making some of the circles into whole oranges, and some into cross-sections – so for this first layer, I’ll only be filling in a few circles. Grab the RSCo Blotty Inker brush and create circles over your sketches. After you close the shape, leave your pencil in place and Procreate will snap it to a geometric shape. Before you pick your pencil up, press and hold with a different finger and it will snap to a “perfect” shape. In this case, a circle, rather than an ellipse.
Fill in these shapes with a solid color by dragging the color circle in the top right to the middle of your shape and then releasing.
I’m going to make these last two circles cross-sections of an orange, and I only want to outline these particular shapes, rather than fill them in. I’m adding in some triangles as well to show the slices of the orange. I created a new layer for Outline Oranges – I like to keep everything on separate layers in case I want to be able to easily modify the layers later.
At this stage I also added in my background color. Choose something heavily contrasted to the color you chose for your fruit so that your piece stands out.
Pro-tip: I don’t like to choose my background color before the rest of my piece because I tend to get heavily focused on it. By picking a color for your main subject first, and then choosing the background color, you’re able to see the way the two colors work together.
4. Add some fun details to create dimension
I want to make the inside of the orange yellow – but I want it to look like the print registration is mismatched. I’m going to add in a yellow filled circle (using the same process as before).
In order to get the look I want, I’ll turn the layer to Multiply and move it over a few pixels.
I want to add in some texture to make the piece look a little less flat. I’m going to add in some shadowy texture to the sides of the oranges. In order to do that, I’m going to create a new layer, rename it Shadow Texture, and set it to a clipping mask by tapping the layer and selecting Clipping Mask. Make sure this layer is directly above the shape layer you want to draw on. By doing this, you make sure you’re only going to be drawing on top of the shapes you want.
Select the RSCo. Grain I brush and choose a color slightly darker than your shape color. Draw in some shadows wherever you see fit. Then, change the blend mode to Multiply so the color blends a bit better with your base.
I had drawn in some leaves in my original sketch to balance out the composition and give it something extra. I’m going to draw those in now – keeping some as open strokes and some as fills to create the same effect that I did with the fruit.
4. Add in final texture to the whole piece.
I want to add a little more grit to my piece, so I’m going to choose the RSCo. Grain II brush and select a slightly lighter color than my background color. With this brush selected, draw over your whole piece (on a new layer) to add some dusty effects. You can do this with a darker color as well and create even more dimension like I did here. This makes the piece feel a bit more lived-in rather than digital and brand new.
5. You’re done!
Yay! Now that you’re an expert on geometric fruit — try some different kinds! Maybe a watermelon or a banana — and I’d love to see what you create, so please tag me on Instagram (@kb.kb) with your finished pieces!
About Kristen Best
Kristen Best is a graphic designer and illustrator based out of Portland, Oregon. She works alongside her husband and sister-in-law at their creative agency, Sunnyside Creative Co.
Her favorite coworker is her cat, Mary Berry, who tends to make her way into her illustrations and absolutely hates it when she works.