How to Create Ink Bleed

How to Create Ink Bleed

Do you find that your digital art sometimes look harsh or unnatural?

When printing in real life, ink soaks into paper and spreads along the fine grain of the pulp. This creates a feathering effect known as ink bleed. Painting digitally doesn't work this way, so we need to recreate it.

Watch or read the instructions below to learn how you can simulate ink bleed digitally using Gaussian blur. We'll be using the ColorLab Comic Color Kit to demonstrate.

Note: Although this technique is demonstrated in Procreate, Gaussian blur is available in most image programs.

Can't Watch the Video? Here's what You missed:

  1. Select the layer that you would like to be affected.
  2. Tap the Adjustments menu in the top left of the screen and select Gaussian Blur.
  3. Using your finger or Apple Pencil, tap and slide from left to right to adjust the intensity of the blur.

💡Top Tip: When using Gaussian blur to simulate ink bleed, less is more. Aim for about 1.3% (like we did in the video) or less. This will give you the desired effect without ruining the readability of your lines.

This technique can also be used when creating with halftones. Especially when using the ColorLab Comic Color Kit, to not only simulate ink bleed, but to better mix the halftones for a more homogeneous color.

And that's it! Pair your work with the Paper Boy textures included in ColorLab, or Phantom Paper seamless textures to finishe off the effect.

Everything and more

The Complete Mid-Century Procreate Brush Bundle is every tool that you could possibly need to create your retro-inspired artwork. But why stop there? Use it in all your art, designs, and more! Easy to use and for one low price.

Other Tutorials We Think You'll Enjoy

How to create print distress

Weatherization, age, and handling can affect the look of traditional prints. This causes a natural distressing that is missing in digital artwork. In this easy, step-by-step set of instructions we'll show you how to achieve this touch of authenticity to your work.

View the tutorial.

How to get registration error

A natural quirk of traditional printmaking is registration error. When one layer of color is off-register compared to the other layers. Modern printers and digital art lack this quirk unless you do it on purpose. That's where we come in. In these easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, we'll show you how to create registration errors in your digital artwork.

View the tutorial.


Learn how to use clipping masks, layer masks, and alpha lock in this easy-to-understand tutorial for Procreate. Discover the difference between each type of mask and the pros and cons of each type of mask with visual examples.

View the tutorial.