Procreate Painting Guide: Tips for High-Quality Art
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Get familiar with the Procreate interface
  2. How to set up a new canvas
  3. How to use brushes and layers
  4. Tips for sketching and drawing
  5. How to use colors and textures
  6. Tips for adding shadows and lights
  7. How to export and share your artwork
  8. Procreate troubleshooting tips
  9. Tips for creating high-quality art

Imagine having the ability to create stunning, high-definition artwork right at your fingertips. With Procreate, this is not just a dream but a reality! This comprehensive painting app, loved by professional artists and novices alike, has revolutionized digital art. In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know to master Procreate high-definition painting!

Get familiar with the Procreate interface

Before you set brush to digital canvas, it's important to know your way around Procreate's interface. It's like your art studio — knowing where everything is makes the painting process smoother and more enjoyable. So, let's get started.

The Gallery: This is where all your artworks live. You can organize them into stacks (think of these as your virtual art folders).

The Canvas: This is your workspace. It's where the magic happens. You can change its size and resolution as per your needs. Remember, a higher resolution canvas is key for Procreate high-definition painting.

Brush Library: Just like a real-world art studio, Procreate offers a variety of brushes. They range from pencils, inks, paints, to artistic effects. Experiment with different brushes to add depth and character to your artwork.

Layers Panel: Layers are Procreate's secret weapon. They allow you to build your artwork piece by piece without disturbing other elements. You can edit, hide, or rearrange layers as you see fit.

Color Picker: It allows you to choose and mix colors. You can pick a color from the color disk, classic sliders, or value sliders. You can also save your favorite colors in the palette section for future use.

Adjustments Menu: This is your toolbox for tweaking your artwork. From adding blur and sharpening details to changing colors and applying effects, it's all here.

Actions Menu: Think of this as your command center. Here, you can do everything from exporting your art in high resolution to tweaking Procreate's settings.

Now that you're familiar with the Procreate interface, you're all set to start your journey into Procreate high-definition painting. In the next sections, we'll dive deeper into setting up canvases, using brushes and layers, and many more practical tips for creating high-quality art.

How to set up a new canvas

Setting up a new canvas is like preparing a fresh canvas in a physical studio. The difference is that in Procreate, you've got even more control over your canvas dimensions and resolution. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Procreate and tap on the "+" button on the top-right corner of the screen. This will give you options to create a new canvas.
  2. Select the "Custom" option. Here, you can set your desired dimensions and resolution.
  3. For high-definition painting, consider a resolution of 300 DPI or more. The higher the DPI, the more detail you can pack into your Procreate painting.
  4. Enter your preferred width and height. Remember, the maximum number of layers available in Procreate depends on the size of your canvas and the capability of your device. So, try to strike a balance!
  5. Once you're happy with your settings, tap "Create" to open your new canvas.

And voila, you've got a brand-new canvas, all set for your masterpiece! By setting up your canvas correctly, you can ensure the best possible quality for your Procreate high-definition painting.

Keep in mind that while a higher resolution can give you more detail in your painting, it can also make Procreate run slower on older devices. So, find a setting that works for both your art and your device.

Next up, we'll get our hands dirty (well, not literally) with Procreate's brushes and layers. Let's dive in!

How to use brushes and layers

Now that you've set up your canvas, it's time to start painting! But hold on—before you dive in, let's get to know the two best friends of any Procreate artist: brushes and layers.

Think of brushes as your painting tools. Procreate offers a variety of brushes, each with its own unique texture and style. From pencil to charcoal, airbrush to calligraphy—there's a brush for every mood and every piece of your high-definition painting.

  1. To choose a brush, tap on the "Brush" icon in the toolbar. You'll see a list of brush sets—tap on one to see the brushes in that set.
  2. Once you've found the brush you want, just tap on it to select it. You can change the size and opacity of the brush using the sliders on the left side of the screen.
  3. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even create your own custom brush. Just tap on the "+" button in the brush library and start experimenting!

Layers, on the other hand, are like transparent sheets stacked on top of each other. They allow you to work on different parts of your painting separately, without affecting the rest of your artwork. This makes layers an invaluable tool for achieving a Procreate high-definition painting.

  1. To add a new layer, tap on the "Layers" icon in the toolbar, then tap on the "+" button. You can add as many layers as your device's memory allows.
  2. You can rearrange, hide, or merge layers as needed. To move a layer, press and hold it, then drag it to its new position. To hide a layer, tap on the checkmark next to it. To merge two layers, pinch them together.
  3. Remember, anything you do on one layer won't affect the others—unless you want it to. This gives you the freedom to experiment and make mistakes without worrying about ruining your entire painting.

Understanding how to use brushes and layers effectively can truly elevate your Procreate high-definition painting. So go ahead, flex your creative muscles and paint away!

Tips for sketching and drawing

The first brush stroke can sometimes be the hardest. But don't worry—you've got this! Here are some tips to help you get started with sketching and drawing in Procreate.

First off, remember that sketching is all about experimenting and figuring out what works best for you. So don't be afraid to make mistakes. After all, you can always erase or undo them with just a tap.

  1. Start with light, loose strokes to capture the basic shape of what you're drawing. Try to resist the urge to dive straight into the details. Remember, this is just a guide for your final drawing.
  2. Once you have your basic shape, you can start adding more detail. Use your brush tool to add lines, shapes, and textures. Remember to adjust your brush size and opacity as needed.
  3. Don't forget to use layers! Sketching on a separate layer allows you to experiment without fear of ruining your artwork. Plus, you can easily erase or hide your sketch layer once you're done.

When it comes to drawing, precision is key. Luckily, Procreate offers several features to help you achieve that perfect line or shape.

  1. The QuickLine feature lets you draw straight lines with ease. Simply draw a line and hold your pencil down—the line will automatically straighten.
  2. If you're trying to draw a perfect circle or other shape, use the QuickShape feature. Just like QuickLine, draw your shape and hold your pencil down—the shape will automatically perfect itself.
  3. For more complex shapes, use the Selection tool. This allows you to select and modify parts of your drawing without affecting the rest.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you sketch and draw, the better you'll get. So grab your pencil and start creating your Procreate high-definition painting today!

How to use colors and textures

Adding color to your sketch is like breathing life into your art. But how do you use color and texture in Procreate to create a high-definition painting? Let's break it down.

First, let's talk about color. Procreate offers a vast and vibrant color palette that you can fully customize to suit your needs. Here's how you can use it:

  1. Tap on the color circle at the top-right corner of your screen to open the color picker. Here, you can choose any color you want. You can also save your favorite colors for easy access later.
  2. To fill an area with color, use the ColorDrop feature. Simply drag the color circle into the area you want to fill. If you want to adjust the color fill threshold, keep holding the color circle and slide your finger left or right.
  3. If you want to use a color that's already in your artwork, use the Eyedropper tool. Just press and hold on the screen, then drag your finger to the color you want to sample.

Now, let's talk about texture. The right texture can add depth and dimension to your Procreate high-definition painting. Here's how to create and apply textures:

  1. Procreate comes with a variety of brushes that you can use to create different textures. Try different brush settings and see what works best for your artwork.
  2. If you want to create a custom texture, you can use the Brush Maker feature. You can adjust the brush properties like shape, grain, and dynamics to create your unique texture.
  3. You can also import textures from outside sources. Make sure to use high-resolution images to maintain the quality of your Procreate high-definition painting.

Remember, the key to mastering color and texture is experimentation. Don't be afraid to try different combinations and see what works best for your art. Happy painting!

Tips for adding shadows and lights

Shadows and lights are like the salt and pepper of a painting. They give your artwork that extra flavor. But how can you add shadows and lights in Procreate to make your painting more high-definition? Let's find out.

Shadows are the darker areas in an artwork that indicate where the light is blocked by an object. Here's a simple way to add shadows on Procreate:

  1. Create a new layer above your object layer. This will be your shadow layer.
  2. Select a darker color than your object for the shadow. The color of the shadow can greatly affect the mood of your painting.
  3. Use a soft brush to paint the shadow on the new layer. Remember, the shadow should be on the side opposite to the light source.
  4. Adjust the opacity of the layer to make the shadow more natural. You can also use the Gaussian Blur tool to soften the edges of the shadow.

Now, let's move onto lights. Lights are the brighter areas in an artwork that are directly hit by the light source. Here's how to add lights on Procreate:

  1. Create another layer above all your layers. This will be your light layer.
  2. Select a lighter color than your object for the light. The color of the light can add a dramatic effect to your painting.
  3. Use a soft brush to paint the light on the new layer. Remember, the light should be on the same side as the light source.
  4. Adjust the opacity of the layer to make the light more subtle. You can also use the Gaussian Blur tool to spread the light more evenly.

Adding shadows and lights can be tricky, but with practice, you can definitely master it. So go ahead, add some spice to your Procreate high-definition painting!

How to export and share your artwork

Now that your Procreate high-definition painting is seasoned with shadows, lights, and all sorts of artistic flavors, it's time to share it with the world. But how do you export and share your artwork on Procreate? Let's dive right in.

First, exporting. This is how you save your artwork in a format that can be viewed outside the Procreate app:

  1. Tap on the wrench icon in the upper left corner of the screen. This will open the Actions menu.
  2. Tap on the 'Share' option. This will open a new menu with different file format options.
  3. Select the file format you want. If you want to keep all your layers for future editing, choose 'Procreate' or 'PSD'. If you want to share your artwork online, 'JPEG' or 'PNG' would be better.

Now, let's talk about sharing. There are many ways to share your Procreate high-definition painting, and here are a few:

  1. If you want to share your artwork on social media, simply select the social media app from the 'Share' menu after you've exported your artwork.
  2. If you want to send your artwork through email or messaging apps, save your artwork to your device first, then attach it to your email or message.
  3. If you want to print your artwork, save it as a 'PDF' file. This will ensure the best printing quality.

And there you go. You're now ready to show off your Procreate high-definition painting to the world. Remember, creating art is a journey - so don't be shy to share your progress!

Procreate troubleshooting tips

Even the most seasoned artists can sometimes run into roadblocks, especially when using a tool as feature-rich as Procreate. Let's go over some common issues artists face while creating their high-definition paintings on Procreate, and how to solve them:

  1. Brush isn't working: This can happen if you've accidentally turned the 'Opacity' or 'Size' down to zero. Check these settings in the brush control panel and adjust if necessary.
  2. Can't draw straight lines: Procreate has a helpful feature called 'QuickLine'. Simply draw a line and hold your pencil down at the end, the line will automatically snap straight!
  3. Layers aren't visible: This might be because the layers are hidden, or the 'Opacity' is set to zero. Check your layers panel and ensure all layers are visible and have their 'Opacity' set above zero.
  4. Exported image quality is low: If you're not satisfied with the quality of your exported Procreate high-definition painting, ensure you're exporting in a high-quality format like 'JPEG' or 'PNG'. Also, check that your canvas size is large enough. A larger canvas results in a higher resolution image.
  5. App is lagging or crashing: This may be due to insufficient storage or memory on your device. Try closing other apps, clearing some storage space, or restarting your device. If the issue persists, you might need to reinstall the Procreate app. Remember to backup your artwork before doing so!

Remember, every problem has a solution. Stay patient, keep experimenting, and you'll be back to creating stunning Procreate high-definition paintings in no time!

Tips for creating high-quality art

Creating high-definition paintings in Procreate is a process that involves more than just knowing how to use the tools. Here are a few tips to help you create some truly stunning pieces:

  1. Plan Your Artwork: Before you start, have a clear idea of what you want to create. Sketching a basic outline before you start your Procreate high-definition painting can help in achieving a balanced composition.
  2. Master the Basics: The basics of art—like lines, shapes, and shades—can make or break your painting. Practice these fundamentals regularly.
  3. Experiment with Brushes: Procreate offers a wide range of brushes. Don't restrict yourself to just a few. Experimenting with different brushes can lead to unique textures and effects.
  4. Use Layers Wisely: Layers in Procreate are a powerful tool. Use them to isolate different parts of your artwork. This makes editing and experimenting much easier, and can add depth to your painting.
  5. Attention to Detail: In a high-definition painting, every detail counts. Spend time on the small things. The texture of a leaf, the reflection in a window—these details can make your artwork come alive.

Remember, the key to creating amazing Procreate high-definition painting is practice. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, keep creating!

If you enjoyed our Procreate Painting Guide and want to take your digital art skills to the next level, don't miss the workshop 'How to Paint 3Dimensionally' by David Shepherd. In this workshop, you'll learn advanced techniques that will help you create high-quality, three-dimensional paintings using Procreate. Enhance your digital painting skills and bring your art to life with this amazing workshop!