Procreate Selection Tool Mastery: Tips & Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


1. Get Familiar with the Selection Tool

2. Master Basic Selection Techniques

3. Learn Advanced Selection Strategies

4. Troubleshoot Common Selection Tool Issues

5. Practice with Art Projects

Unlocking the power of Procreate's selection tool can elevate your digital art to new heights. This guide will help you master the selection tool in Procreate—exploring its icons, navigating its menu, understanding its shortcuts, and providing you with valuable tips and techniques to enhance your artwork. So, let's dive into the world of Procreate and become selection tool procreate savvy!

1. Get Familiar with the Selection Tool

Before you start creating magic with Procreate's selection tool, understanding its basics is key. Let's start by identifying the tool icons, navigating through the selection tool menu, and learning some handy shortcuts.

Identify Selection Tool Icons

At first glance, the selection tool might seem overwhelming, but don't worry! You can easily recognize it by its 'S' shaped icon at the top of your screen. Once you select it, a menu appears at the bottom of your screen offering different selection options—Automatic, Freehand, Rectangle, and Ellipse. Remember, each icon represents a unique function that can transform your artwork in Procreate.

Now that you've identified the icons, let's navigate the selection tool menu. The menu has four options—Automatic, Freehand, Rectangle and Ellipse—each catering to different selection needs. Automatic selection allows you to select areas with similar colors, Freehand selection gives you the freedom to make selections in any shape or form, while Rectangle and Ellipse selection tools allow you to select areas in rectangular and elliptical shapes. Understanding these options will give you more control over the selection tool in Procreate.

Learn the Selection Tool Shortcuts

Speed up your workflow with Procreate selection tool shortcuts. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Move Selection: Once you've made a selection, simply drag it with your finger or Apple Pencil to move it.
  • Resize Selection: Use two fingers to pinch and zoom to resize your selection.
  • Deselect: Tap anywhere outside the selection to deselect.

By mastering these shortcuts, you'll be able to use the selection tool in Procreate more efficiently, giving you more time to unleash your creativity and less time fiddling with the tools.

2. Master Basic Selection Techniques

After you've familiarized yourself with the selection tool in Procreate, it's time to put your knowledge to practice. Let's explore how to handle Freehand selection, perform Automatic selection, and execute Rectangle and Ellipse selection.

Handle Freehand Selection

The Freehand selection tool in Procreate allows you to make selections in any shape or form. Here's how you can use it:

  1. Select the 'S' icon and choose 'Freehand' from the menu.
  2. Draw around the object you want to select. Make sure to close the loop by returning to your starting point.
  3. Once you've made your selection, you can move, resize, or change the color of your selected area.

With Freehand selection, you can select complex shapes with ease and precision. It offers greater flexibility and control, making it a favorite among many digital artists.

Perform Automatic Selection

The Automatic selection tool in Procreate is a great time-saver. It selects areas with similar colors, making it perfect for selecting large areas of your artwork. Here's how it works:

  1. Select the 'S' icon and choose 'Automatic' from the menu.
  2. Tap on the color area you wish to select. The tool will automatically select areas with a similar color.
  3. Adjust the threshold slider to increase or decrease the range of similar colors included in your selection.

Automatic selection is a powerful tool for speed and precision, giving you more time to focus on creating your masterpiece.

Execute Rectangle and Ellipse Selection

Need to make a perfect circle or rectangle? Procreate's Rectangle and Ellipse selection tools have you covered. Here's how to use them:

  1. Select the 'S' icon and choose 'Rectangle' or 'Ellipse' from the menu.
  2. Drag your pencil or finger across the screen to create your desired shape.
  3. To constrain the proportions, hold a second finger on the screen as you draw.

Whether you're creating geometric art or need a perfect circle for your character's eye, the Rectangle and Ellipse selection tools in Procreate will come in handy.

3. Learn Advanced Selection Strategies

Now that you're comfortable with Procreate's basic selection tools, it's time to level up. Let's unravel the secrets of Feather selection, applying color fills in selections, and inverting selections.

Use Feather Selection

The Feather selection tool in Procreate allows you to create soft, gradient-like edges around your selected area. This is particularly useful when blending different areas of your artwork. Here's how to feather your selection:

  1. After making a selection, tap 'Feather' in the selection menu.
  2. Use the slider to adjust the feathering radius. The larger the radius, the softer the edges.
  3. Once you're happy with the feathering, you can edit your selection as usual.

The Feather selection tool can help you achieve smooth transitions, adding depth and realism to your creations.

Apply Color Fill in Selections

Applying color fill to your selections is an efficient way to change the color of specific areas in your artwork. Here's how you do it:

  1. Make a selection using any of the selection tools.
  2. Once you've made your selection, tap on the 'Layer' icon and select 'Fill Layer'.
  3. The selected area will be filled with your current color.

Using color fill in your selections can drastically speed up your coloring process, giving you more time to focus on details.

Invert Selections

Inverting selections in Procreate flips your selected areas, allowing you to work on the opposite areas of your initial selection. This is how you invert a selection:

  1. After making a selection, tap on the 'Invert' button in the selection menu.
  2. Your selection will be flipped, and you can now work on the previously unselected areas.

Inverting selections can be a real game-changer, especially when working on complex compositions where precision is key.

4. Troubleshoot Common Selection Tool Issues

Even with the best tools, hiccups can happen. Let's walk through some common issues you might face with the Procreate selection tool and how to resolve them.

Resolve Accidental Selection Closures

Accidentally closing your selection can be frustrating, but don't worry, there's a simple fix. If you accidentally close your selection, just tap on the 'Undo' button—it's as simple as that. Remember, it's always good practice to check your selection before making any changes to your artwork.

Manage Unwanted Auto-Fills

Are you seeing unexpected color fills when using the selection tool? This can happen if 'Color Fill' has been accidentally enabled. To resolve this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Selection tool menu.
  2. Ensure the 'Color Fill' option is turned off.

There you go, no more unwanted auto-fills. Now, you're back in control of when and where you want to fill color.

Fix Selection Tool Lagging

If your selection tool is lagging, it might be due to a large canvas size or too many layers in your artwork. To fix this issue, consider reducing the canvas size or merging some layers. Also, regularly clearing your Procreate gallery and closing unused apps can help improve overall app performance.

Remember, mastering the selection tool in Procreate isn't about avoiding issues—it's about knowing how to deal with them when they arise. Keep practicing, and you'll become a Procreate selection tool pro in no time.

5. Practice with Art Projects

Now that you've learned the ins and outs of the selection tool in Procreate, let's put it to the test. Here are some fun art projects you can try to practice your skills and unleash your creativity.

Create a Digital Collage using Selection Tool

Creating a digital collage can be a fun way to use the selection tool. Here's a simple way to do it:

  1. Select the images you want to use in your collage.
  2. Use the selection tool to cut out the pieces you want to include.
  3. Arrange the pieces on a new layer, and voilà! You have a digital collage.

Remember, the beauty of digital collage lies in the endless possibilities, so don't be afraid to play around and experiment.

Make Custom Shapes with Selection Techniques

With the Procreate selection tool, you can make custom shapes that add a unique touch to your artwork. Try creating stars, hearts, or even intricate geometric patterns. Once you've selected your shape, you can fill it with color, add a gradient, or even use it as a stencil. The only limit is your imagination.

Design Layered Artwork with Advanced Selection

Layering is a great way to add depth and complexity to your artwork, and the Procreate selection tool makes it easy. Try using different selection techniques for each layer—freehand for organic shapes, automatic for precise lines, and rectangle or ellipse for geometric forms. This way, you'll not only create a visually interesting piece but also improve your mastery of different selection techniques.

Practicing with art projects like these will help you refine your skills with the selection tool in Procreate. More importantly, it will let you have fun while doing it. So grab your iPad, fire up Procreate, and let's get creating!

If you enjoyed learning about the Procreate selection tool and want to further explore the wonders of digital drawing, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Intro to Procreate: Drawing with Digital Tools' by Vicky Catalan. This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to Procreate and help you enhance your skills in digital artistry.