How to Crop Effectively in Procreate: Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


Understanding How to Crop in Procreate

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Crop in Procreate

Advanced Cropping Techniques in Procreate

Common Cropping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Improving Your Cropping Skills in Procreate

Are you ready to improve your design skills? Let's dive into the wonderful world of cropping in Procreate! This step-by-step guide will show you how to crop effectively, explore advanced techniques, and help you avoid common mistakes. By the end, you'll have a better understanding of how to crop in Procreate and be on your way to creating more polished and professional designs.

Understanding How to Crop in Procreate

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of cropping, let's first understand the importance of this handy tool and the different options available in Procreate.

Importance of Cropping

Cropping is more than just removing unwanted elements from your artwork—it's a powerful tool that can transform your design:

  • Enhance focus: By eliminating distractions, you can direct the viewer's attention to the most important parts of your composition.
  • Improve composition: Cropping can help you create a more balanced and harmonious layout, following the rule of thirds or other design principles.
  • Adjust dimensions: Cropping allows you to resize your canvas to specific dimensions or aspect ratios, making it easier to fit different formats, like print or social media.

Procreate Cropping Options

Procreate offers several cropping options to help you achieve the perfect result:

  1. Uniform: Maintains the aspect ratio of your canvas while you adjust the crop size. This is useful for resizing without distorting your artwork.
  2. Freeform: Allows you to adjust the crop size freely without constraints, giving you total control over the final dimensions of your canvas.
  3. Custom: Lets you input specific dimensions and units (pixels, inches, centimeters) for your cropped canvas, ensuring a perfect fit for your desired format.

Procreate Cropping Tips

Now that you're familiar with the basics, here are some tips to help you crop effectively:

  • Zoom in and out to get a closer look at details or a broader view of your composition before you make any final decisions.
  • Consider the final purpose of your artwork, such as print, web, or social media, to choose the best cropping option and dimensions.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with different cropping styles and techniques—you might discover a new perspective or unlock hidden potential in your design!

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Crop in Procreate

You've got the basics and some tips under your belt—now it's time to dive into the actual process of cropping in Procreate. We'll walk you through each step, so you can easily master how to crop in Procreate and enhance your designs.

Selecting the Crop Tool

The first step to cropping your artwork is accessing the crop tool:

  1. Open your artwork in Procreate.
  2. Tap on the wrench icon located at the top left corner of the screen to open the Actions menu.
  3. Select the Canvas tab within the Actions menu.
  4. Finally, tap on Crop and Resize to activate the cropping tool.

With the crop tool now active, you'll see a grid overlay on your canvas and a menu at the bottom of the screen with the different cropping options.

Adjusting Crop Edges

Now that you've activated the crop tool, it's time to adjust the crop edges to your desired dimensions:

  1. Choose between Uniform, Freeform, or Custom cropping options from the menu at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap and drag the crop handles (small blue rectangles) to adjust the crop area. Remember, you can zoom in and out to get a better view of your composition as you make adjustments.
  3. If you've chosen the Custom option, enter the specific dimensions and units in the fields provided.

As you adjust the crop edges, keep in mind the tips we mentioned earlier—consider the purpose of your artwork and experiment with different cropping styles to find the perfect fit for your design.

Confirming the Crop

Once you're satisfied with the crop area, it's time to finalize your changes:

  1. Take a moment to double-check your composition and ensure you're happy with the crop area.
  2. When you're ready, tap the Done button in the top right corner of the screen to apply the crop.

And there you have it—you've successfully learned how to crop in Procreate! But don't stop here; you can explore even more advanced cropping techniques to further enhance your designs.

Advanced Cropping Techniques in Procreate

You've got the basics down, but Procreate offers even more ways to crop your artwork. Let's explore some of these advanced techniques to take your cropping skills to the next level.

Advanced Cropping Techniques in Procreate

Now that you've mastered the basics of how to crop in Procreate, it's time to level up your skills and explore some advanced techniques. These methods will give you even more control over your compositions and allow you to create more refined and unique designs.

Cropping with Layers

One of the most powerful features in Procreate is its layer system. You can use layers to your advantage when cropping your artwork:

  1. Create a new layer: Add a new layer above your artwork by tapping the "+" icon in the Layers panel.
  2. Draw a shape: Use the selection tool or a brush to draw the desired shape for your crop area on the new layer.
  3. Clipping Mask: Tap on the layer thumbnail, and select "Clipping Mask" from the menu. This will constrain your artwork to the shape you've drawn, effectively cropping it.
  4. Adjust as needed: If you need to make changes to the shape or position, simply edit the clipping mask layer. Your artwork will update accordingly.

Using layers to crop your artwork gives you the flexibility to adjust the crop area easily while maintaining the integrity of your original composition.

Cropping with Selection

Procreate's selection tool allows for precise cropping by isolating specific areas of your artwork. Here's how to crop in Procreate using the selection tool:

  1. Select the Selection Tool: Tap the "S" icon at the top of the screen.
  2. Choose a Selection Type: Pick between "Freehand," "Automatic," and "Rectangle" depending on your desired crop area.
  3. Make Your Selection: Carefully select the area you want to keep. Once the selection is complete, it will be surrounded by a dashed line.
  4. Invert and Clear: In the Selection menu, tap "Invert" to reverse the selection—now, everything outside the desired crop area is selected. Tap "Clear" to remove the content outside the selection, effectively cropping your artwork.

Using the selection tool for cropping offers you the precision to create custom crop areas and shapes, making your artwork stand out from the rest.

Cropping with Guides

Guides are a great way to ensure your crops are perfectly aligned and maintain the desired aspect ratios. Here's how to crop in Procreate using guides:

  1. Enable Guides: In the Actions menu, tap on "Canvas" and then "Drawing Guide" to enable guides on your canvas.
  2. Customize Guides: Tap "Edit Drawing Guide" to adjust the grid size, color, and opacity. This will help you create a visual reference for your crop area.
  3. Use the Crop Tool: Follow the steps from the Step-by-Step Guide to crop your artwork using the guides as a reference. This will ensure your crop aligns perfectly with the guides you've set up.

Using guides when cropping can help you maintain consistency across multiple pieces of artwork and ensure your designs are always polished and professional.

Now that you've learned these advanced techniques, you're well-equipped to tackle any cropping challenge in Procreate. But remember, practice makes perfect—keep experimenting and refining your skills. And most importantly, have fun creating!

Common Cropping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As you continue your journey in mastering how to crop in Procreate, it's important to be aware of some common mistakes artists make when cropping their artwork. By understanding and avoiding these pitfalls, you'll be able to create more visually appealing and well-composed pieces. Let's dive into these common issues and learn how to overcome them.

Cropping Too Much

One common mistake made when cropping artwork is removing too much of the original image. While cropping can help focus on a specific subject, being too aggressive with your cuts can lead to losing important details or context. To avoid this, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Take a step back: Before confirming your crop, zoom out and evaluate the overall composition. Make sure you're not losing any vital elements that contribute to the artwork's story or message.
  • Less is more: Start with minimal cropping and gradually adjust if needed. It's easier to crop more later than to try to recreate lost information.

Ignoring Aspect Ratios

Another common mistake is not paying attention to aspect ratios when cropping. This can result in distorted or stretched images when displayed on different devices or platforms. To maintain the quality of your artwork, consider these suggestions:

  • Know your end goal: If you're creating artwork for a specific platform or medium, research the recommended aspect ratios and dimensions to ensure your cropped image will display properly.
  • Use Procreate's built-in presets: Procreate offers a variety of preset aspect ratios for common formats like square, 4:3, and 16:9. Use these to guide your cropping and maintain consistency.

Losing Focus on the Subject

Cropping is meant to enhance your artwork by bringing focus to the subject or important elements. However, poorly executed cropping can have the opposite effect, leaving your viewers confused about where to focus. To keep your artwork's subject front and center, follow these tips:

  • Apply the rule of thirds: This composition principle suggests dividing your image into a 3x3 grid and placing the subject at the intersections. This can create a more balanced and visually appealing crop.
  • Maintain breathing room: Ensure your subject has enough space around it to avoid feeling cramped or overwhelmed by other elements in the artwork.

By being mindful of these common cropping mistakes and applying the tips provided, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of how to crop in Procreate. Remember, practice and experimentation are key to honing your skills and developing a unique style. So, grab your iPad and Procreate app, and let your creativity flow!

Improving Your Cropping Skills in Procreate

Now that you're familiar with how to crop in Procreate and have learned to avoid common mistakes, it's time to take your cropping skills to the next level. In this section, we'll explore some ways to improve your technique and elevate your artwork. So, let's dive into these strategies and start refining your cropping prowess.

Practice Makes Perfect

As with any skill, practice is the key to becoming a better artist. The more you crop your artwork, the more confident you'll become in your ability to make the right decisions. Here are some ideas to help you practice:

  • Work on different projects: Challenge yourself with various types of artwork, ranging from simple illustrations to complex designs. This will allow you to experience different cropping scenarios and develop a versatile skill set.
  • Revisit old artwork: Take a look at your previous creations and see if there's room for improvement in the cropping department. This exercise will help you analyze your progress and identify areas where you've grown.

Seek Inspiration from Others

Learning from other artists is a fantastic way to expand your horizons and discover new techniques. To get inspired, try these methods:

  • Follow artists on social media: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest showcase a wealth of artwork from talented individuals. Observe how they crop their pieces and try to understand the thought process behind their decisions.
  • Join online communities: Participate in forums and groups dedicated to Procreate or digital art in general. These communities often share tips, tricks, and feedback, helping you learn from fellow artists and refine your skills.

Experiment with Different Cropping Styles

To truly master how to crop in Procreate, it's essential to step out of your comfort zone and explore various styles. Experimenting with different techniques will help you find the perfect balance that enhances your artwork. Consider these ideas:

  • Try unconventional crops: Break the mold by cropping your artwork in unique ways, such as diagonally, in circular shapes, or with irregular edges. This can add an interesting visual element to your piece and set it apart from the rest.
  • Play with negative space: Sometimes, less is more. Try cropping your artwork to emphasize negative space, creating a minimalist aesthetic that draws attention to your subject.

Remember, the journey to mastering how to crop in Procreate is ongoing. By consistently practicing, seeking inspiration, and experimenting with different styles, you'll develop a keen eye for detail and elevate your artwork to new heights. So, keep pushing yourself and enjoy the creative process!

If you're looking to expand your skills in Procreate and want to learn more about digital art techniques, check out the workshop 'Creating the Cosmos with Procreate' by Jeffrey Thelin. This workshop will teach you how to create stunning cosmic artwork using Procreate, building on the cropping skills you've learned in our step-by-step guide. Don't miss this opportunity to take your Procreate art to new heights!