Procreate Guide: Creating Intricate Patterns Step-by-Step
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Prepare your Procreate canvas
  2. Pick your pattern elements
  3. Sketch your design
  4. Finalize the outline
  5. Fill in the colors
  6. Add shadows and highlights
  7. Create a seamless pattern
  8. Duplicate the pattern
  9. Export your pattern
  10. Apply your pattern in different projects

Let's dive into the magical world of Procreate, a fantastic digital art app that's making waves in the creative community. Today, we're going to explore how to create intricate patterns in Procreate, a process that's as exciting as it is rewarding. Whether you're new to Procreate or a seasoned pro, this guide will walk you through every step of the way, from preparing your canvas to exporting your final pattern. By the end of this tutorial, you'll be a whizz at Procreate intricate pattern creation. So, let's get started!

Prepare your Procreate canvas

Before we start designing, we need to set up our canvas in Procreate. This is the first stepping stone to your Procreate intricate pattern creation journey. It's a straightforward process:

  1. Open Procreate and click on the '+' sign at the top right corner of the screen. This will allow you to create a new canvas.
  2. Select the 'Screen Size' option. This will provide you with a canvas that's perfectly sized for most digital design work.
  3. Once you've selected the size, the canvas will appear on your screen. Now, it's time for the fun part - the creation!

Remember, the canvas is your playground. It's where all your ideas take shape, and where your Procreate intricate pattern creation comes to life. So, take a deep breath, and let's move on to the next step!

Pick your pattern elements

Alright, now that you have your canvas ready, it's time to choose the elements for your pattern. This step is a bit like choosing the ingredients for a recipe; each one contributes to the final masterpiece of your Procreate intricate pattern creation.

Think about what kind of pattern you want to create. Is it floral? Geometric? Abstract? Maybe you're aiming for something with a retro vibe or a modern twist. Whatever the case, your elements should reflect the look and feel you're aiming for.

  1. Use the Brush Library: Procreate has a vast collection of brushes that you can use to create your pattern elements. From textures to shapes, you're sure to find something to suit your style.
  2. Experiment with Colors: Don't limit yourself to one or two colors. Play around with different color combinations to see what works best. Remember, colors can evoke emotions, so choose them wisely!
  3. Keep it Balanced: While you want your pattern to be interesting, it's important to maintain a sense of balance. Too many elements can make your pattern feel cluttered, while too few can make it feel sparse. Striking the right balance is key.

Choosing the right elements can take some time, but it's an essential part of the process. After all, these elements are the building blocks of your Procreate intricate pattern creation. So, take your time, and enjoy the process!

Sketch your design

Once you've picked your pattern elements, it's time to sketch your design. This stage is like drawing a map for a treasure hunt — it guides you towards the final masterpiece of your Procreate intricate pattern creation.

So, grab your digital pencil and let's get sketching!

  1. Start Simple: Begin by sketching out simple shapes that represent your pattern elements. These don't have to be perfect, they're just to give you a general idea of where everything will go.
  2. Layer Your Work: One of the great things about Procreate is its layering feature. Use different layers for different elements of your design. This way, if you need to make changes, you can do so without affecting the entire sketch.
  3. Consider Scale and Position: How big do you want your pattern elements to be? Where should they be positioned? Sketching your design allows you to play around with these factors before you dive into the details.

Remember, your sketch doesn't have to be perfect. It's just a rough guide to help you visualize your Procreate intricate pattern creation. So, don't worry if it looks a little messy — it's all part of the process!

Finalize the outline

With your sketch as a guide, it's time to make the leap from rough to refined. This is where the magic happens in your Procreate intricate pattern creation journey. Finalizing the outline is like tracing over a pencil sketch with a black marker — it sets the stage for the colors to come.

  1. Refine Your Lines: Using your sketch as a blueprint, draw over your loose lines with more precision. Remember to zoom in for those intricate details, Procreate's pinch-to-zoom feature is a lifesaver here.
  2. Use A Suitable Brush: Choose a brush that suits the style of your pattern. For example, if you're going for a hand-drawn look, the '6B Pencil' brush could be a great choice.
  3. Keep Layers Organized: Continue to use layers for each element of your pattern. And remember to name them — it'll save you from a lot of scrolling later on.

By finalizing your outline, you're setting a solid foundation for the next steps. It's like drawing the lines on a coloring page, now all that's left is to fill it in!

Fill in the colors

With your outline in place, it's time to bring your Procreate intricate pattern creation to life with colors. Colors add character, set the mood, and make your pattern pop. Let's see how we can fill them in.

  1. Select Your Palette: Tap the color circle in the top right corner of Procreate to open the color picker. You can select colors individually or prepare a color palette in advance. Remember, colors should complement each other and fit with the theme of your pattern.
  2. Use the Fill Tool: The quickest way to fill in your outline is using the ColorDrop tool. Just drag the color circle from the top right to the area you want to fill. If you want to fill multiple areas with the same color, activate ColorDrop Threshold by continuing to hold after dropping the color and slide to the right.
  3. Color Each Layer: Make sure you color on the same layer as your outline for each element. This helps to keep your colors clean and prevents them from spilling onto other elements.

Once you've filled in all your colors, your pattern is beginning to take shape. It's like watching a black and white movie burst into full color — exciting, isn't it?

Add shadows and highlights

To give your Procreate intricate pattern creation a bit more depth and dimension, we're going to add shadows and highlights. This is the part where your pattern starts to look less like a flat drawing and more like a vibrant, three-dimensional work of art. So, let's get to it.

  1. Create a New Layer: First, create a new layer for your shadows. It's best to place this layer just beneath your color layer. This keeps things neat and organized — and trust me, in the world of digital art, organization is key.
  2. Pick a Darker Shade: Choose a darker shade of your base color for shadows. It's like you're creating a mini "eclipse" within each design element. Remember, your shadow should be on the side opposite to your light source to create a realistic look.
  3. Use a Soft Brush: For shadows, use a soft brush to create a gradient effect. This makes the shadow look like it's slowly fading into the light, just like in real life.
  4. Add Highlights: Now it's time for highlights. Create another layer on top of your color layer. Choose a lighter shade of your base color and add it to the side where the light hits your design elements. It's like adding a bit of sunshine to your pattern.

And just like that, your pattern goes from 2D to 3D, adding a touch of realism to your Procreate intricate pattern creation. It's amazing what a difference a few shadows and highlights can make, isn't it?

Create a seamless pattern

With shadows and highlights in place, it's time to transform your beautiful design into a seamless pattern. This is where your Procreate intricate pattern creation really starts to take shape. Follow these simple steps to create a pattern that flows effortlessly from one side to the other, with no visible seams or boundaries.

  1. Group Your Layers: Start by grouping all the layers of your pattern. This helps to keep things tidy and makes the next steps easier to manage.
  2. Copy and Paste: Next, copy and paste your grouped layers. You now have two sets of your pattern.
  3. Offset the Pattern: Now, move one set of the pattern to the left or right until it's halfway off the canvas. Then, move it in the opposite direction (up or down) until it's halfway off the canvas. This creates an offset pattern.
  4. Fill the Empty Spaces: You'll notice that by offsetting your pattern, you've left some empty spaces. Fill these spaces with elements from your pattern. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect — the goal is to make it look seamless.

Voila! You've just created a seamless pattern in Procreate. It's like magic, right? Now your pattern can repeat endlessly without any visible breaks, perfect for backgrounds, textiles, or any project that needs a continuous design. Plus, this technique really boosts your Procreate intricate pattern creation skills to the next level.

Duplicate the pattern

Alright, you've successfully created an intricate, seamless pattern in Procreate. But what if you want to take it to the next level? What if you want to create a pattern within a pattern, or simply want to fill a larger canvas? This is where duplicating your pattern comes in handy.

  1. Select Your Pattern: First, group all the layers of your seamless pattern. Once the pattern is grouped, select the entire group.
  2. Duplicate: With your pattern selected, tap on the "layers" panel and click on "duplicate". Now, you've got an exact copy of your pattern.
  3. Position Your Duplicate: Drag your duplicate pattern and position it next to the original one. Make sure they align perfectly to maintain the seamless look.
  4. Repeat as Needed: You can repeat this process as many times as needed to fill your canvas with your intricate pattern.

There you have it! Duplicating patterns in Procreate is a straightforward yet powerful tool in your Procreate intricate pattern creation toolbox. It allows you to maximize the use of your designs, filling larger spaces with your beautiful, intricate patterns without the need to draw each element again. It's a real time-saver, don't you think?

Export your pattern

Now that you've created and duplicated your Procreate intricate pattern, the next step is to export it. You might want to use it in a different project, share it with a friend, or even sell it. Here's how you can export your pattern:

  1. Flatten Your Layers: Before exporting, flatten your layers. To do this, pinch all your layers together in the layers panel. This action creates a single layer containing your entire pattern.
  2. Go to the Actions Menu: Tap on the wrench icon at the top left corner of your screen to open the actions menu.
  3. Tap on 'Share': In the actions menu, tap on the 'share' option. This brings up different file formats you can choose to export your pattern in.
  4. Select Your Preferred Format: Depending on your needs, you can choose to export your pattern as a JPEG, PNG, PDF, or even as a Procreate file. If you want to maintain the quality of your pattern, consider exporting it as a PNG or PDF.
  5. Save or Share Your Pattern: After selecting your preferred format, you can either save your pattern to your device or share it via email, AirDrop, or any other sharing options available on your device.

Exporting your Procreate intricate pattern isn't just a final step—it's the beginning of the next phase of your creative journey. Whether you decide to print your pattern on a t-shirt, use it in a digital design, or even sell it online, exporting it properly ensures you, and anyone else who views it, gets to see it in all its intricate glory. Isn't it amazing what you can do with Procreate?

Apply your pattern in different projects

Now that you've mastered procreate intricate pattern creation and exporting, it's time to let your creativity shine by applying your pattern in different projects. The beauty of patterns is their versatility — they can add depth, interest, and personality to a variety of designs. Here are a few ways to incorporate your patterns:

  1. Print Designs: Use your pattern in posters, business cards, or brochures. Especially when creating marketing materials, a unique pattern can make your design stand out.
  2. Website Backgrounds: Swap out a plain background for your pattern to add visual interest to your website. Just remember to balance complexity with readability.
  3. Social Media Graphics: Spice up your Instagram stories or Pinterest pins by using your pattern as a background. It adds a personal touch that can really catch the eye.
  4. Product Design: If you're into product design, consider applying your pattern to items like t-shirts, mugs, or pillowcases. It could be the start of your own merchandise line!
  5. Digital Art: Integrate your pattern into your digital art pieces. This can help you create a unique and cohesive look across your artwork.

Remember, these are just suggestions. The possibilities are as limitless as your creativity. So, why not start experimenting with your procreate intricate pattern creation and see where it takes you? Maybe you'll discover a new passion, or better yet, create something that others fall in love with too.

If you enjoyed learning about creating intricate patterns in Procreate and want to take your digital art skills even further, check out the workshop 'Animating with Procreate and Photoshop' by Nyanza. This workshop will teach you how to bring your Procreate creations to life by combining them with Photoshop to create stunning animations. Don't miss this opportunity to level up your digital art game!