How to Make a Classic Valentines Card in Procreate

How to Make a Classic Valentines Card in Procreate

In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to make a 60’s inspired Valentines card using the iPad Pro, Procreate, your Apple Pencil and some great RetroSupply products out of these packs:

Inspiration

Anytime I start a new project, gathering inspiration is key. I have loads of reference ready on my iPad.

I like to even keep folders with specific types of reference I know I’ll be needing frequently, separated into categories. This way I don’t have to go sifting through all the art and inspiration images I’ve got, every time I start that type of project.

That being said, I already had a decent sized chunk of Valentines ready for this very occasion!

Vintage valentines cards

I like how soft and round the character’s features are in most old Valentines. I also like how they use a large heart as a design element. This fills a lot of space, gives your text a place to live and makes the image immediately recognizable as a Valentine.

I also like how they revolve around a cheesy pun. Since we’re making this with artists in mind, I’ve come up with “I’m trying to draw you closer to me!”.

Sketch

I start sketching on paper with a red pencil. Sketching this way feels most natural to me and allows me to get a look that feels more “classic” and “by hand” in the end. I use red pencil so that when I start inking, it’s easier for me to differentiate the lines I’m making for my final piece.

The old Valentines I like tend to take the phrase they are using and exaggerate it for the card’s image. Playing off of the “draw” part, let’s use a giant pencil and have our lovesick character hold it to write out our message.

Sketch of person holding a pencil in red pencil on paper

I loosely sketch out the building blocks for our character to determine the size and placement. Then I refine that structure to give weight and definition and, eventually, character. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just enough to give you guidelines to work with in Procreate.

Rough sketch of valentines card design with person holding pencil in front of heart

Take a nice, flat picture of your sketch with the iPad. We’ll be using this to create your final drawing.

Create Your Canvas

A good, standard card size is 5x7. Let’s create a 5x7 canvas to start with in Procreate.

Once you have your canvas, import your sketch. Stretch and rotate it so that it looks good on the canvas. Be sure to leave room for the To: and From: section at the bottom and also some room for your text.

Turn down your sketch layer’s opacity so that the sketch is visible but not distracting.

Ink

Create a new layer above the sketch layer. This is where you’ll create your main linework.

Using the Ramen Brush Pen brush from Standard Pens for Procreate , I start drawing my character. I’m starting with the outline of the face and then the hair. I like to use the edge of my Apple Pencil to get the brush to scatter a bit for texture in the hair.

classic inking pens

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Beginning stages of inking valentines card sketch in Procreate on iPad

I turn it’s size down some to create the face of the character, so I can achieve more subtlety with my lines there.

Inking the head and face of valentines card sketch in Procreate on iPad

I drew my pencil on a separate layer so that I can play with its size and placement. I love Procreate’s autocorrect feature for making the long, straight lines of the pencil. To use this, draw your line and don’t let go at the end. This will change your line from all wiggly into a nice straight line you can drag to extend or change the angle of.

Inking the pencil in sketch of Valentines card sketch on separate layer in Procreate on iPad

While inking, I also decided to stretch out the legs a bit. Once I got to the hips, I just stretched the bottom area of the sketch until it looked more like how I wanted and then continued to draw over it in my ink layer.

Person and pencil inked on top of sketch of valentines card design in Procreate on iPad

Color Fills

Create a new layer under your linework, this is where your first color fill will go. Starting with red and using the Ramen Brush Pen brush from Standard Pens for Procreate, start to color inside your lines just like you would in a coloring book. Because you’re behind your linework, you don’t need to worry about covering up any details.

Beginning phases of coloring outline of Valentines card in Procreate on an iPad

Go through, creating a new layer for each color, and keep coloring until all your main areas are filled. Keep the amount of colors you use to a minimum. This will help keep your piece believable as a cheaply printed old card.

Blue, Yellow, and Red colors added to Valentines card character in Procreate on an iPad

Halftones

For the areas that need color but not quite the vivid fills we’ve been doing, we’ll be using halftones. Create a new layer underneath your linework. Using the Extra Rough Halftone 02 brush from TransferTone, go through and fill in the pants of your character. Use the eraser to go around and clean up anywhere that the brush broke outside of the linework.

DRY TRANSFER PATTERNS

A collection of retro pattern brushes, inspired by dry transfers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Procreate layers panel showing halftones and colors of Valentines card character on separate  layers

Now, go through the other colors you’ve used and create new layers with halftone fills. I did this with the red where his skin is and with the yellow at the sharp end of the pencil.

After that, I gave him rosy cheeks using the RetroFuzz 32 brush from the RetroGrain Brush Pack.

GET THE GRAIN

Add the perfect grainy texture to your illustrations with this Procreate brush pack of 33 diverse grain shader brushes made from historical paint samples.

Rosy cheeks added to Valentines card character using texture brushes from RetroSupply in Procreate on an iPad

Heart

Create a new layer and sketch out where the heart will go.

Rough outline of heart drawn in front of Valentines card character in Procreate

Now, go to your red layer and draw a refined version of that heart, using your sketch as a guide. Pull your color over from the upper right hand corner and drop it within your linework to fill.

One filled in heart and one outlined heart drawn in behind Valentines card character in Procreate on iPad

While still in this red layer, I created the heart coming from our character’s pencil. To make it feel more hand drawn and cute, I used the Runny Fountain Pen from the Standard Pens Pack.

Paper, Texture, Text & Cutout

Now we’re going to add in that old paper texture to make it feel like a real life old card.

In the upper left, go to the wrench icon, click it, then Insert A Photo. Find your image of an old envelope from the Paper Artifacts Bundle.

GET THE PAPER

A collection of hand-picked textures from teh RetroSupply library. A powerful way to breathe lifelike and immersive touches to your digital work.

Envelope paper texture being added into Valentines card design in Procreate on an iPad

Once imported, stretch the envelope so it covers your canvas without the stamp and edges showing.

Bring this layer above all your other layers. Click the N to the right on the layer, next to the checkmark. This brings up another menu with blending options. In that menu, change the blend style to Multiply.

Paper texture layer blending mode being set to Multiply in layers panel in Procreate on an iPad

Click the wrench icon again. Under the Actions menu, select Add Text. Type our message here. Then, go to Edit Style in the upper right of the keyboard it brought up. While here, change your text color to white and find the font you will be using.

Add text menu option being selected in Actions panel in Procreate on an iPad

Now stretch and resize your text so it fits within the heart. Use the selector tool to cut your text out and paste it into multiple lines.

Create a red bottom bar for the To: and From: area. Create and place your text for these just as we did before.

Using the selector tool again, select the two areas within your red bar where names will go. Once selected, go up to your layer and click twice on the layer’s thumbnail. This will bring up some options. From those options, select “clear”. This should clear two blank areas for the name fields.

Selected areas of Valentines card design being isolated in Procreate on an iPad

Cutout and Ink Texture

Now, using the eraser with the Ramen Brush Pen brush, erase the top edge of the old paper to look as though it were cut around the edge of the heart and pencil, leaving a blank area along the top.

Edge of character and heart in Valentines card design in Procreate cut out to simulate cut out shape of real cards

Now select the paper layer again. Go to the wrench area and select Copy. Then paste a copy of your cutout paper layer. We are going to use this to create your paper’s shadow.

Paste menu option selected in Actions panel in Procreate on an iPad

Go to the little magic wand icon in the upper left. Click on Hue, Saturation, Brightness. Bring the brightness down so that this layer is a much darker tan color.

Hue, Saturation, Brightness being adjusted on paper texture in Valentines card design in Procreate

After that, go back to the magic wand menu and select Gaussian Blur. Tap and hold the screen and pull from left to right. This uses the screen as the slider for the strength of your blur. I blurred my darkened paper to about 13%.

Gaussian Blur being added to paper texture of Valentines card design in Procreate on an iPad

Go back up to your layers and select the original, not blurred or darkened, paper. Click the thumbnail of the layer and in its menu, click Select. Once selected, go to the blurred paper layer, click it’s thumbnail and then click Clear. This clears everything where the original paper layer hits and leaves just a light shadow around the paper’s upper edge.

Blurred paper layer being selected and cleared in Procreate Layers panel

Finally, let’s create some ink texture on our completed card design. Create a layer above your black linework and below your paper texture layer. Set the layer’s blend style to Screen.

Inky grunge brush being applied on new layer in Valentines card design in Procreate

Using the Inky Grunge brush from the SpaceRanger pack, in the color white, go around and lightly tap areas to give a cheaply printed ink look. Pull down your layer’s opacity so that the ink grunge look isn’t too heavy. We want this to be pretty light.

Inky grunge brush being applied on new layer in Valentines card design in Procreate

Ok! We’re all finished. Time to export this thing, print it off and shoot your shot. Best of luck!!

Valentines card design featuring a person holding a pencil created in Procreate

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Robin Banks is a self-taught artist and illustrator living in Salt Lake City, UT.

Robin has been a RetroSupply resident illustrator since 2019.

Their work can be found on Instagram @ramenbanks or on their web store robinbanks.bigcartel.com