10 Tips to Enhance Isometric Illustrations in Procreate
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Use Procreate 5X's new isometric guides
  2. Create 3D forms with custom brushes
  3. Apply light and shadow for depth
  4. Color and texture magic
  5. Use clipping masks for detailing
  6. Experiment with blending modes
  7. Layering techniques
  8. Animate your artwork
  9. Play with perspective and angle
  10. Try different styles and themes

When it comes to getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate, we all could use a little boost—so here's a power-up for your creative journey. This blog will provide you with ten practical tips to enhance your isometric illustrations in Procreate. Let's dive right in!

Use Procreate 5X's new isometric guides

One of the best ways to start getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate is by using Procreate 5X's new isometric guides. These guides are your friendly assistants, always ready to help you draw perfect isometric lines. You don't need to be a pro to use them—so let's get started!

  • Activate the guides: Go to "Actions" menu, choose "Canvas", and then "Edit Drawing Guide". Here you will find the "Isometric" option. Once activated, you'll notice a grid appearing on your canvas. This is your roadmap to creating accurate isometric illustrations.
  • Customize the guides: Procreate 5X allows you to customize the guide size and color. This is especially helpful when you're working on a complex project and need to make the guides more visible or subtle according to your needs.
  • Lock in lines: With the guides activated, your brush strokes will snap into place along the lines. This feature ensures your lines are always straight and accurate—just like a virtual straightedge!
  • Freehand mode: If you want to ignore the guides temporarily for some freehand drawing, simply hold your Apple Pencil down at the end of your stroke. When you see a small circle appear, you're in freehand mode. Release the pencil to go back to the guided mode.

By using Procreate 5X's new isometric guides, you'll be taking a significant step towards getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate. It's like having a personal tutor within your app, guiding you through the process. So go forth, explore, and let your creativity soar!

Create 3D forms with custom brushes

Creating 3D forms is a powerful way to get better at isometric illustrations in Procreate. And what's the magic tool for that? You guessed it—custom brushes. They're like your magic wands, ready to transform your 2D doodles into 3D masterpieces.

  • Choose the right brush: Not all brushes are created equal when it comes to 3D drawing. Some brushes, like the round brush or the technical pen, are excellent for creating the lines and shapes that define 3D forms.
  • Customize your brush: Procreate allows you to adjust your brush settings to match your needs perfectly. You can change the stroke, shape, and grain of your brush to achieve the desired effect. Remember, a well-tuned brush can make your 3D drawing process much easier.
  • Build your forms: Start with simple shapes like cubes or cylinders. Use your custom brush to define the edges, add the sides, and fill in the volume. Think of it as building with blocks—you're adding one piece at a time to create a complete form.
  • Add the details: Once you have your basic form, you can add details like texture, shading, and highlights. These elements will give your 3D form a sense of realism and depth.

Remember, creating 3D forms is a skill that takes practice. So don't be discouraged if your first few attempts don't look perfect. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and you'll soon see your isometric illustrations in Procreate reaching new heights.

Apply light and shadow for depth

Light and shadow: they're two sides of the same coin, isn't it? And when it comes to getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate, they're your best friends. Using light and shadow effectively can turn your flat illustrations into dynamic, three-dimensional artworks.

  • Understand the light source: Before you start shading, you should first determine where your light is coming from. This will guide how you apply both light and shadow to your illustration.
  • Shadow first, then light: Start by applying shadow to the areas of your illustration that are away from the light. This can be done by selecting a darker color than your base tone and using a soft brush for a natural effect.
  • Apply highlights: Now, it's time for the light! Select a lighter color and apply it to the areas of your illustration that are directly hit by the light. This will create a contrast with the shadows, providing your artwork with depth and dimension.

Remember, applying light and shadow is not just about adding depth—it's also about creating mood. A well-lit scene can feel cheerful and inviting, while a shadowy scene can evoke mystery and suspense. So, don't be afraid to play with light and shadow to express your artistic vision and get better at isometric illustrations in Procreate.

Color and texture magic

Let's talk about color and texture, two elements that can truly bring your isometric illustrations in Procreate to life. They add a whole new dimension to your art, making it more appealing and dynamic.

  • Color theory basics: To get better at isometric illustrations in Procreate, it's important to understand the basics of color theory. Warm colors can make elements pop, while cool colors tend to recede into the background. Use these principles to guide your color choices and create depth in your illustrations.
  • Adding texture: Texture can make your illustrations feel more tactile and real. Procreate comes with a variety of textured brushes, but you can also create your own. Try using different brush strokes to add texture to your illustrations. For instance, short strokes can create a rough texture, while long strokes can create a smoother one.

Remember, the colors and textures you choose can set the mood of your illustration. Bright, vivid colors and smooth textures can create a cheerful vibe, while muted colors and rough textures can evoke a more serious tone. So, experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your style. After all, isn't the magic of getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate all about exploration and experimentation?

Use clipping masks for detailing

So, you've nailed your color and texture game. What's next on the path to getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate? Detailing. And one of the best ways to add details to your Procreate illustrations is by using clipping masks. Let's see how.

  • Clipping masks for details: Clipping masks in Procreate let you add details to your illustrations without altering the original layer. This means you can add intricate patterns, textures, or shading to your artwork and still keep the base intact. It's a bit like adding decorations to a cake without messing up the icing.
  • Mastering the mask: To use a clipping mask, first create a new layer above the one you want to detail. Then, select the new layer and tap on 'Clipping Mask'. Now, anything you draw on this layer will only show up on the pixels of the layer beneath it. This is ideal for adding highlights, shadows, or patterns to your isometric illustrations.

So, why not give clipping masks a try? They might seem a little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, they're a powerful tool in your Procreate toolkit. And remember, every detail you add brings you one step closer to mastering isometric illustrations in Procreate. So, get those creative juices flowing and start detailing!

Experiment with blending modes

Another tip for getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate is to experiment with blending modes. What are blending modes, you ask? They're a bit like secret sauce recipes for your artwork — they can change the way layers interact with each other, opening up a world of creative possibilities.

  1. Understanding blending modes: Procreate comes with a variety of blending modes like Multiply, Overlay, and Screen, each with its unique effect. Multiply, for instance, darkens your colors, making it perfect for adding shadow. Screen, on the other hand, lightens your colors, so it's great for adding highlights.
  2. Using blending modes: To use a blending mode, simply select the layer you want to adjust and tap on the 'N' button. This will open up the blending modes menu, where you can experiment with different options. Remember, there's no 'right' or 'wrong' mode — it's all about what works for your illustration.

So, why not mix things up a bit? Try using different blending modes, see how they transform your artwork, and don't be afraid to experiment. After all, part of getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate is about pushing your creative boundaries and trying new things!

Layering techniques

When you're getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate, understanding layering techniques is a game-changer. These can make your workflow smoother, your edits easier, and your final artwork much more refined. So, let's jump right into it:

  1. Stack layers logically: Think of layers as sheets of glass stacked on top of each other. What's on top will cover what's beneath. So, if you're drawing a tree, for example, you might want to put the leaves on a separate layer above the trunk. This way, you can make changes to the leaves without affecting the trunk.
  2. Use layers for different elements: Each part of your illustration — the background, the main subject, the details — should have its own layer. This gives you more control over each part, allowing you to tweak colors, adjust sizes, or add effects without impacting the rest of your image.
  3. Lock transparent pixels: Did you know you can lock the transparent pixels in a layer? Just swipe the layer to the right with two fingers. This means you'll only paint on the existing pixels, not the whole layer. Handy for adding texture or shading without going outside the lines!

Pro tip: try to keep your layers organized. Name them, group them, and use color tags. It'll make your life a lot easier, especially when working on complex pieces. So, next time you're working on an isometric illustration in Procreate, remember these layering techniques. You'll soon see how they can enhance your artwork and make your creative process more efficient.

Animate your artwork

Who said illustrations have to be static? Procreate has a neat little feature that can bring your isometric illustrations to life: animation. And the good news is, getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate includes learning to animate them too.

  1. Set up your Animation Assist: You'll find this under the Actions menu (the wrench icon) in the Canvas settings. Once turned on, each layer or group of layers in your artwork becomes a frame in your animation.
  2. Control the speed: You can adjust the speed of your animation by setting the number of frames per second. The higher the number, the faster your animation will play.
  3. Loop, ping-pong, or one-shot: These are your playback options. Loop will play your animation on repeat, ping-pong will play it forward then backward, and one-shot will play it just once.

Remember, animation is all about illusion of motion. So, it might take a bit of trial and error to get it right. But once you do, it adds an entirely new dimension to your isometric illustrations. It's like your artwork is telling a story, frame by frame. And that's something that can truly set your work apart in Procreate.

Play with perspective and angle

One of the great things about getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate is that you aren't limited by traditional perspectives. Isometric art gives you the freedom to twist and turn your illustrations in a way that can make them pop off the canvas.

  1. Master the 30-degree rule: Isometric illustrations are typically drawn with a 30-degree angle on the horizontal axis. This creates a unique, three-dimensional effect. But remember, rules are made to be broken. Feel free to experiment with different angles to create your own unique style.
  2. Use the Transform Tool: The transform tool is your best friend when it comes to adjusting perspective. You can use it to stretch, skew, and distort your artwork until it looks just right.
  3. Don't forget about the camera: Procreate allows you to move the 'camera' around, changing the angle from which you view your artwork. This can create some really interesting effects, especially when combined with different light sources.

Playing with perspective and angle is a fun way to make your isometric illustrations more dynamic. It adds depth and dimension, helping your artwork stand out in a sea of flat images. So go ahead, give it a try. Who knows, you might discover a whole new side to your artistic style.

Try different styles and themes

Part of getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate involves stepping out of your comfort zone and trying different styles and themes. Doing so not only enhances your skillset but also adds variety to your portfolio.

  1. Explore various design periods: From the geometric shapes of Cubism to the sleek lines of Art Deco, historical art movements can provide a wealth of inspiration. Try incorporating elements from these periods into your isometric illustrations.
  2. Experiment with themes: Themes can give your artwork a cohesive look and feel. Whether it's a futuristic cityscape or a quaint countryside, a consistent theme can make your isometric illustrations more engaging.
  3. Introduce different color palettes: Colors can dramatically change the mood of your artwork. A soft pastel palette might lend a dreamy quality, while bold, vibrant colors could make your illustrations more dynamic.

Trying different styles and themes is about more than just getting better at isometric illustrations in Procreate; it's about growing as an artist. It's about not being afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. So go ahead, mix things up a bit. You might be surprised at what you can create.

If you found the tips in this blog post helpful and want to take your isometric illustrations skills to new heights, make sure to check out the workshop 'How To Create Beautiful Isometric Illustrations' by Stefan Große Halbuer. This workshop will guide you through the process of creating captivating isometric illustrations in Procreate and help you take your art to the next level.