How to Blend on Procreate
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read

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Procreate is a digital painting and editing app used by hobbyists, aspiring artists, and professionals worldwide to create rich sketches, paintings, and animations with just an iPad and stylus.

While Procreate makes it easy for artists to create digital masterpieces with a stylus, many users wonder how to blend on Procreate without physical brushes. Blending is what helps artists achieve gradual transitions between colors to give their work more subtlety, richness, and depth.

The Smudge tool, Gaussian Blur, and blending brushes are features in Procreate that can take your artwork to the next level. These tools can create smooth transitions between colors, add depth and texture to your paintings, and achieve a more natural, realistic look. By mastering them, you can improve your skills and create stunning digital art that appears to be made using traditional techniques.

The good news is that Procreate offers many blending tools, and this article explains what they are and how to use them.

What Is Blending in Procreate?

When illustrating, drawing, sketching, or painting, it's natural to want to use different colors to show light and shadow. But sometimes, you may want to create a smooth transition between two colors to achieve a more natural and softer look. This is where blending techniques become useful. With Procreate, you can experiment with various blending methods that can make your artwork look more lifelike and realistic, or simply be a way for you to express yourself creatively.

Sometimes artists want to show a clear separation between the two colors, and other times, artists prefer to gradually mix (or blend) the colors to create a smooth transition and soften lines. This is where blending techniques come in.

To get started with blending, make sure you have selected your canvas and have a color palette to work with. You can choose the colors you want to blend by selecting them individually as you create, or you can use the selection tool to fill in an entire area with the color. Once you have your colors in place, you can begin experimenting with different blending methods. For instance, you can blend colors on a single layer by using the smudge tool, brush strokes, or Gaussian blur.

Blending methods can be used to make your artwork look more realistic, such as by showing more accurate effects of light and shadow, or it can be used purely as a form of artistic expression, such as in Monet’s waterlily paintings.

What Blending Tools Does Procreate Have?

Blending Tools Does Procreate Have

When painting on a physical canvas, artists use special brushes and techniques to blend colors. So, you may be wondering how to blend in Procreate without these physical tools. There are several digital blending tools in Procreate to help artists blend better and express different art styles. These Procreate blending tools include:

  1. Gaussian blur
  2. Smudge blending
  3. Procreate blending brushes

Let’s examine each of these tools in more detail.

Gaussian Blur

Perhaps the simplest and quickest way to blend in Procreate is with a Gaussian blur. In the Adjustments menu, you’ll find the Gaussian Blur tool, which allows you to add a blurred effect to your work.

With the Gaussian blur tool, you can choose to blur an entire layer, which is the fastest option. But if you’re looking for more control, you can choose the pencil option, which will blur only where you draw. You can also set the intensity of the blur effect. At the initial setting of 0%, you won’t see any blur, and a higher setting means a more gradual change from one color to the other.

Gaussian blur is ideal when you want to blend large areas or outlines. If you're looking to create an illusion of speed with blurred lines or give your overall work a softer appearance, then Gaussian blur is the best Procreate blending tool. However, if you're blending small details or looking for a less uniform look, then you should try one of the other Procreate blending techniques.

Smudge Blending

Another Procreate blending option is smudge blending. This is an excellent tool for mixing different colors, smoothing out your strokes, and blending small details.

The main setting used is opacity — a higher opacity creates an intense smudge effect, while a lower opacity creates a softer, subtler look.

All Procreate brushes can be used as a smudge brush, though each artist has their preference. Play around with different brush types and opacity settings to find which combination works best for you and your artistic style.

If you're interested in blending small details and creating complex effects with light and shadow, then smudge blending in Procreate is a helpful tool. For the most control and texture definition in your artwork, consider using Procreate blending brushes.

To access the smudge tool, simply open the library by clicking on the finger icon located next to the brush icon on the top-right corner of the screen. Next, select the "smudge" option to reveal the different types of smudge tools available. From there, choose the brush that suits your needs best and start smudging.

Procreate Blending Brushes

While the Gaussian blur and smudge blending tools are possible only with digital art, the Procreate blending brushes recreate older, traditional blending techniques.

Many Procreate artists like using blending brushes because they offer the most control and precision over how your blend looks. Different blending brushes create different effects, from the soft lines of the Gouache brush to the textured look of the Stucco brush. The key is to experiment with different brush types and find the set of Procreate blending brushes that matches your artistic style.

Since any brush can be used as a blending brush, you can already start using Procreate blending brushes for free. As you gain more experience and skill with blending brushes, you can consider buying specialized blending brushes to match your style. For example, there are blender brush sets designed for portraiture, while other brushes can help you better capture animal fur.

As with all brush techniques, it takes practice to master Procreate blending brushes. But with some patience and willingness to try new things, you’ll find that using Procreate blending brushes will help you achieve the artistic expression you want.

4 Top Tips for How to Blend on Procreate

Blend on Procreate

Whether you use the Gaussian blur, smudging, or blending brushes to blend in Procreate, there are a few best practices to help you achieve the effect you want. Here are four tips on how to blend colors on Procreate.

1. Pick the Right Colors

If you’re interested in achieving smooth blending in Procreate, it’s important to pick analogous colors or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For the smoothest blending, use monochromatic colors, which are colors based on a single hue but with different shades and tints.

Of course, you may want to intentionally blend complementary colors as part of your artistic style. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red-green, blue-orange, and yellow-purple. Keep in mind that over-blending these colors may produce a result that looks muddy or introduces additional colors into the blend. To blend complementary colors in Procreate, start by selecting a base color and then add its complementary color in small amounts until you achieve the desired effect.

2. Blend Wisely

If you’re aiming to achieve a realistic look in your artwork, blending helps you capture the smooth color transitions you see in real life. But there can always be too much of a good thing, and over-blended scenes can look blurry or fuzzy.

The key is to look at your subject and carefully consider where to blend. Where are there soft color transitions, and where do you see hard edges? For example, if you’re painting a person or an animal, you may notice crisp edges around the nostrils, ear openings, and mouth. Keep these edges unblended — unless, of course, blurry is the aesthetic you’re going for.

3. Start With a Light Touch

If you use an Apple Pencil, you have a lot of control over how lightly (or heavily) you apply your brushstrokes. The lighter your hand, the smoother and subtler the color transition in your blend work. You’ll also create more values between your colors, resulting in a richer overall look.

Using an Apple Pencil in Procreate can elevate your digital art experience to the next level with its precision and sensitivity. The pressure sensitivity of the Apple Pencil allows you to create strokes of varying thickness and opacity, making it feel as natural as traditional drawing and painting. Additionally, Procreate features a palm rejection technology that lets you rest your hand on the screen while you draw, contributing to a seamless workflow.

One potential downside of using an Apple Pencil is that it can be quite expensive and not essential for basic Procreate functionality. Additionally, some users may find the stylus fragile due to its small size. However, for serious digital artists, the benefits of using an Apple Pencil with Procreate are undeniable and well worth the investment.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Just like with any other drawing or painting technique, blending in Procreate is as much about technical skill as it is about art style. And with so many different methods, brush styles, canvas settings, brush sizes, and opacity settings, the blending possibilities are endless. That’s why it’s important to experiment and be open to trying out different combinations of blending tools and settings.

As a beginner, learning to use layers effectively can help you create more complex pieces and save you time in the long run. When blending colors, it's best to stick to one layer to avoid confusion and maintain a clean workspace.

By using a single layer, you can ensure that all your blending is happening within that layer, making it easier to manipulate and adjust your artwork. Another trick to blend colors is to adjust the opacity of each layer. By decreasing the opacity of a layer, the colors underneath will show through, allowing for a smoother transition and more natural blend between colors.

You can also experiment with the order of your layers, which can have a significant impact on your final piece. Try dragging a layer above or below another to see how it affects the overall look of your artwork.

It might take you a while to find and master the exact blending style that matches your aesthetic, but that’s OK. After all, isn’t good art about exploration?

Procreate Brushes

When it comes to blending in Procreate, there are a wide variety of brushes available to help you find the perfect blend. From basic brushes like the blend brush and artistic brushes for more detailed blending, to calligraphy and brush-from-scratch options, you’re sure to find a brush that fits your style.

Blending with Procreate Brushes is an essential technique for creating smooth transitions, and it is much easier than you might think. This section will guide you through the process of using brushes in Procreate to achieve the perfect blend.

Process and Digital Artwork
The process of blending can vary depending on your digital artwork. However, a preferred method is to start with a soft brush and build up the blend progressively, using light, repeated strokes.

Brush Settings
If you're using a basic brush in Procreate to blend, adjust the brush settings to create more subtle and natural transitions. You can change the brush size, shape, and flow of the brush by using the brush options menu located in the top toolbar.

Middle Colors and Single Color
To blend colors seamlessly, start by selecting a color to use as a middle ground between two colors. If blending just two colors, use a single color between them. Pro tip: Use the eyedropper tool to pick up colors from other parts of your artwork.

Background and Base Layers
Add a new layer above the background layer to keep your canvas clean while blending. You can also use the base layer as a mask to refine your blend, or use the opacity slider on the brush menu to adjust the intensity of the blend.

Adjustments Icon and Layers Tab
Located in the top menu, the adjustments icon lets you access a range of effects to fine-tune your artwork. You can also use the layers tab to adjust the opacity of each layer and the overall blend of your artwork.

Essential Brushes for Blending
To achieve the perfect blend, using the blend brush is essential. You can also use other brushes, such as the soft brush or airbrush, to create smooth transitions and add texture to your work.

The key is to experiment with these tools so that you can discover and master the blending technique that works best for you.

Time to Start Blending on Procreate

Procreate provides a variety of blending tools and techniques to help you achieve the look and feel you want for your art, whether you’re painting a realistic portrait, an impressionist landscape, or something completely abstract.

If you are interested in learning more about using Procreate, check out the workshop "Procreate Basics: Making Digital Art" by Sameera Maruvada. This workshop provides an in-depth look at how to use the techniques covered in this article to create beautiful artwork using Procreate. It covers topics such as how to use brushes, types of blending techniques and additional tips for getting the most out of Procreate tools.