Tip #2: Master the Basic Gestures
Mastering the basic gestures means that you become a more efficient artist. Use the gestures instead of navigating through menus to find an action. Like the gestures on a smartphone, gestures in Procreate enable you to carry out actions at the tap, pinch or swipe of your fingers. Here is a list of default shortcuts that come with Procreate. You can also customize actions by going to Actions > Prefs > Gesture Controls.
Tip #3: Organize and Group Layers
Layers are a great way to organize your work and increase productivity. Think of a traditional landscape painting; for example, it has a foreground, a middle ground and a background. When creating an illustration, you can use layers to group elements of objects together. It’s always good practice to name your layers and groups. Doing so makes it easier to access a particular layer as well as make adjustments. Especially important if you’re creating an intricate piece that has many components. Also, beware that a maximum number of layers exist, depending on your canvas’s resolution and the DPI (dots per inch). The higher the DPI, the greater the resolution. If you’re creating a piece for print, you need a higher resolution than for digital use only.
An example of how I sometimes use layers is that I always have a sketch layer, which I use as the base for my stroke layer (main linear drawing). Once I have that, I create a layer beneath the stroke layer to do my coloring. Having this separation gives you more options when you need to make changes or experiment. – Doryan Algarra
Illustration screenshots showing the sketch, stroke, color layers and the final illustration.
Artwork by Doryan Algarra.
Tip #4: Use the Quick Shape Command
Procreate requires that you draw as you would with a pencil, and it can be tricky to draw perfect shapes while you’re getting used to drawing on a screen. The quick shape command is an easy way to draw that perfect geometric shape. This command straightens lines, creates smooth curves, it even allows you to edit points within the shape.
Tip #5: Practice using masks – Alpha Lock
Using masks allows you to add texture, shading, highlights, images, patterns and more to your illustrations. Procreate has three types of masks: Alpha Lock, Mask and Clipping Mask. Mask options are available in each layer. All you need to do is click on the layer and make a mask choice.
Alpha Lock gives you the ability to draw within a shape’s boundaries. It’s also an easy way to change a layer’s fill color. You can use a gesture to access Alpha Lock. All you have to do is use two fingers to swipe right on a layer.
Art in Progress – Doryan illustrating the alpha lock feature.
If you want to learn more about alpha lock and other masks in Procreate, check out the video below!
Tune in for our next installment of Digitial Drawing with Doryan in October! If you have any special requests for topics you’d like to see covered or have a question to ask, then email us at Lifeology@lifeomic.com and include Digital Drawing with Doryan in your subject line.