19 Procreate tutorials to improve your digital art and design

Best Procreate tutorials; a person draws on an iPad
(Image credit: Procreate)

Our best Procreate tutorials will teach you how to get more from this award-winning digital art app. Below you can find step-by-step advice on how to paint portraits, get creative with layers and pro tips for brushes and new workflows. 

Procreate is the award-winning digital art app for iPad, which makes full use of Apple's gesture controls and has been designed to work with Apple Pencil. Read our Procreate review to discover what's in the latest version, and how Apple Pencil 2 review for the latest stylus for iPad. Procreate is exclusive to Apple, so you will need an iPad - read our guide to the best iPads for drawing for guidance.

This digital painting app has a unique advanced brush engine that simulates how real world paints work, in combination with traditional layer workflows, colour mixing and even basic animation creation and 3D asset painting. Below our best Procreate tutorials cover everything you need to know, while I'd also recommend reading our guide to the best Procreate brushes and reading up on the new animation-focused app, Procreate Dreams, that's launching 22 November.

Procreate tutorials: beginners

01. Master colour and light using Procreate

This Procreate tutorial focuses on teaching you how to master colour and light using the painting app. Illustrator Jana Schirmer reveals how she uses Procreate's selection tools to balance colour in a scene, you can read her step-by-step tutorial 'Learn how Procreate can help you master colour and light' or follow the video (above).

02. Use Procreate to analyse master artworks

Study other artists work is an essential way to learn how to paint and improve your skill. In this Procreate tutorial for beginners artist Gavin O’Donnell reveals how to to analyse master artworks and recreate a the techniques of a famous painter using Procreate. "As we develop in life, one of the many ways we learn is through the emulation of others," writes O’Donnell. Read the full workshop 'How to use Procreate to analyse master artworks' for more detail.

03. Procreate's tools explored 

Procreate released ten years ago, and as you'd expect new tools and features regularly release with new versions and updates. In this tutorial Tatiana Svistunova shares her use of the tools first released in Procreate 4, including the Wet Mix feature. "I believe this Procreate tutorial will be of interest for people who have moved from traditional to digital art," writes Svistunova. Follow the video here and or read the full tutorial, 'Procreate tutorial: new tools explored'.

04. Paint with a limited colour palette

Procreate tutorials; a black and white painting of trees

(Image credit: Future / Min Yum)

Learning to paint can be easier if you first understand values in a picture, and a classic way to understand the light and shade of a painting is to reduce your colours. In this tutorial, 'How to paint with four values in Procreate', artist Min Yum reveals how he uses a limited colour palette to better understand the values an environment.

"I first read about contrast and values years ago in Andrew Loomis’ classic book Creative Illustration," writes the artist in his tutorial intro. "Inside were four odd-looking boxes of various values, which the author claimed to be important when creating a strong illustration." Read our guide to the best art books for more insights from professional artists.

Procreate tutorials: intermediate

05. How to use Procreate's text tools

When you move beyond the painting brushes of Procreate and using the app for digital art, you'll discover an entire new suite text edit tools. Animation character designer, art director and director Max Ulichney shares how he likes to dig into these text tools to experiment in his downtime. 

In his tutorial, 'How to use Procreate's text tools' he reveals how he uses this feature to create a children's book cover. You can follow along with his video above, where he reveals how these tools can really enhance an image and open Procreate to more projects than simply digital painting.

06. Use Procreate to rework old sketches

Artist Rafael Sarmento uses Procreate to rework old, unfinished sketches into new art. He keeps a folder of incomplete artwork and rough ideas on his computer and occasionally imports these into Procreate on iPad to experiment with; "recycle them into something new", he writes. 

You can follow the video process here or read the step-by-step process, 'How to use Procreate to rework old sketches', where he reveals how to combine fragments of old paintings into a new work of art.

07. Use Procreate for digital plein air paintings

This Procreate tutorial from Mike McCain embraces the mobility of the app and its use with iPad. He shares his advice for leaving the sofa and painting on the go in the en plein air tradition. He begins with advice for what you need to paint outdoors, tips on choosing the right view, before detailing how he paints in a step-by-step workflow. Follow along with his 'How to create digital plein air paintings using Procreate and an iPad'. 

08. Experiment with Procreate brushes

If you've been using Procreate for a while and need some inspiration to experiment with iPad app, this is the tutorial for you. You can follow the video above, but also read artist Rafael Sarmento's step-by-step 'How to experiment-with-procreate-brushes' for more detail.

if you want to find out more about how Procreate's brush engine works, this is a great tutorial to follow. Don't forget, you can modify and create your own brushes for extra control; read our guide to how to create your own Procreate brushes for more detail.

09. Advice to painting a surreal sci-fi character

Procreate tutorial; a female fantasy creature on a yellow background

(Image credit: Audra Auclair)

Marvel and Disney illustrator Audra Auclair shares her advice to painting a surreal sci-fi character, revealing how she likes to tap into music to inspire a cyborg femme concept. Her advice tutorial, 'How to use Procreate to paint a female sci-fi character', covers her favourite Procreate brushes, how to best use references and how she approaches anatomy drawing.  

10. Draw and paint an anime character

Paul Kwon is a concept artist and illustrator who has worked for Blizzard and Riot Games, and in his 'How to draw an anime character in Procreate' tutorial he shares advice on how to create a piece of anime fan art. He covers developing line art, painting using mask layers and offers advice for creating interesting backgrounds for an anime-style portrait.

11. Paint a classic fairy tale scene

Comic and book illustrator Chrissie Zullo shares her process for painting a stylised character. Her tutorial, 'How to use Procreate to paint a classic fairy tale scene' covers the entire process from sketch to final painting. You'll learn about layers, how to block colours and how to refine shadows and light sources. 

Zullo also reveals her pro tips to get up to speed with Procreate, including how to speed up cut, copy and pasting as well as how to affect layers using gestures. She even shares finger-gesture controls for quickly importing files.

Procreate tutorials: advanced

12. Paint a surreal portrait

Creating surreal art isn't easy but it is an excuse to let your imagination run riot, his tutorial 'How to create surreal art in Procreate' illustrator Rafael Sarmento reveals how drawing inspiration from Polish painter and sculpter Zdzisław Beksinski, and using Procreate's rich brush engine, can yield amazing results.

In this Procreate workshop Sarmento reveals the process of using geometric shapes to build a portrait, before adding texture in Procreate and then experimenting with the app's brushes and layers. 

13. Speed up your workflow with VR

Digital drawing of VR character in Procreate by artist Pauline Voß

(Image credit: Pauline Voß)

In this tutorial Marvel, Wizards Of The Coast and Netflix artist Pauline Voß shares how they create an illustration in Procreate using VR models as a base. If you are uncertain about your anatomy, composition and perspective then using a 3D model as a base can really help, and one created in VR is a new and unique method.

For this tutorial, 'How to use VR in Procreate' Voß built a 3D base in virtual reality, using Gravity Sketch and Tilt Brush. Particularly this means there is consistent, accurate lighting to use as reference when painting in Procreate.

14. How to mix Procreate and Unity

Video game concept art made in Unity and Procreate by Gregorios Kythreotis

(Image credit: Gregorios Kythreotis)

Gregorios Kythreotis is co-founder and game designer at Shedworks Digital, the indie developer behind Sable. In this advice tutorial he shares how the team mixed Procreate and Unity to create Moebius-inspired game art. In this workshop you'll pick up some tips for making striking promotional art for a video game, the open-world game Sable.

15. Use Procreate with 3D reference models 

Procreate drawing of mech character from 3D model by Glen Southern

(Image credit: Glen Southern)

Using 3D models as a base for 2D illustration isn't new, but Procreate makes the process incredibly easy. In this step-by-step tutorial Glen Southern shares how he uses Procreate with 3D reference models to create a mech illustration.

The 3D model used is first created in Nomad Sculpt (read our tutorial on how to 3D sculpt on an iPad) and imports this into Procreate to use as reference. "I can then use that 3D blockout to try things like lighting and composition before I ever turn to my preferred painting program," writes Glen Southern in his tutorial intro. 

16. Paint a vivid scene for animation

In his digital art tutorial Disney vis-dev artist reveals how to use Photoshop and Procreate to paint vivid scenes, creating a colourful and interesting background suitable for animation, featuring line art and a textured paint style.

This tutorial covers the entire process from looking for inspiration and references to sketching the environment, adding props and details and finally making use of colour keys to bring the scene to life. 

17. Paint a striking female portrait

Sketches of female character portrait in Procreate by Laura H. Rubin

(Image credit: Laura H. Rubin)

Artist Laura H. Rubin shares her process for creating a striking female portrait using Procreate. Her art mixes surreal influences and traditional techniques, and in her full workshop she offers an insight into her digital art process.

She explains: "I will guide you through the process of how to paint with Procreate to create a graceful yet strong female character. I’ll show you step by step how I go from a simple idea, to a rough sketch, to the final character design."  

18. Paint ethereal fantasy character art

Illustrator Fatemeh Haghnejad offers a detailed Procreate tutorial in which she reveals her process for painting a fantasy art character, from beginning to end. The artist explains her painting techniques and highlights the key brushes she uses in Procreate.

This Procreate tutorial covers the entire illustration process, from very rough sketches, to loose thumbnails and then all the way through to the final render. While it's aimed at more experienced Procreate users, there are tips and techniques here everyone of any skill level can enjoy. 

19. Bring your character art to life

In her second Procreate tutorial Fatemeh Haghnejad shares her workflow for bringing a fantasy character to life using Procreate, showing how small details and develop a figure.

She covers colour and light, and how she likes to use real world reference models to create accurate shadows. Her tutorial covers the entire process from sketch to finished painting, but it's the advice along the way that everyone can learn from.

Procreate tutorials: frequent questions

What is Procreate?

Procreate is an iPad-exclusive digital painting app that uses a bespoke brush engine to simulate real life paint, blending and brush strokes. It's been designed to use Apple Pencil and its follow-up, as well as iPad gesture controls. It's an incredibly accessible digital art app and new updates have included 3D painting tools.

is Procreate free?

No, but it's also not very expensive. Procreate costs $12.99 / £12.99 and comes with a library of over 200 brushes and advanced digital painting tools, such as layers, blend modes and colour mixing. It's a one-off payment with no subscription.

What devices can run Procreate?

Procreate only runs on iPad, and the following models are included: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th generation) iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation) iPad Pro 10.5-inch.

Do you need an Apple Pencil to use Procreate?

It's not necessary to use an Apple Pencil with Procreate as it's fully functional with Apple's touch controls. But for the best experience you should use an Apple Pencil, or ideally Apple Pencil 2. 

Can you animate in Procreate?

Procreate has a simple animation mode called Animation Assist that enables you to create shorts using the traditional 'onion layers' technique. On 22 November a new app called Procreate Dreams will launch with a full suite if 2D animation features, including video and audio editing, and will cost $19.99.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.