Using Clipping Masks in Procreate: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. What are Clipping Masks in Procreate?
  2. How to create a Clipping Mask
  3. How to add layers to your Clipping Mask
  4. How to use Clipping Masks for text effects
  5. How to use Clipping Masks for shading and highlighting
  6. How to remove or unclip layers
  7. How to turn off the Clipping Mask
  8. How to merge clip layers
  9. How to save your Procreate art with Clipping Masks

Imagine creating a remarkable piece of art on Procreate, and now you want to add a layer of shading or a splash of color, but you fear going outside the lines of your masterpiece. You're in luck because there's a nifty little tool called the clipping mask that can save the day. In this blog, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to use clipping masks in Procreate. So, whether you're a beginner or have some experience under your belt and are wondering "what is a clipping mask Procreate?", this guide is just the thing you need.

What are Clipping Masks in Procreate?

Clipping masks in Procreate are like your ultimate art assistant—always ready to lend a hand, making your digital painting process smoother, and keeping your work neat and tidy. A clipping mask allows you to add content of a layer on top of another layer without going outside the lines of your existing content. It's like having an invisible boundary that keeps your new content from spilling over.

Here's why this is such a great tool:

  • Keeps your art clean: With clipping masks, adding shadows, highlights, or color adjustments becomes a breeze as it doesn't affect the original shape or piece of your content.
  • Eases editing: You can make changes to the clipped layer without disturbing the base layer, making the editing process hassle-free.
  • Boosts creativity: With the assurance that your base layer remains unaffected, you can experiment with various effects on the new layer.

So, what is a clipping mask Procreate? It's your partner in creating detailed, layered artwork with ease and precision. Now that we've got that covered, let's dive into how to create a clipping mask in Procreate.

How to create a Clipping Mask

Creating a clipping mask in Procreate is a straightforward process that can be done in a few uncomplicated steps. Remember, you're not performing magic here; it's just about understanding how the tool works. So, ready to learn how to add that pinch of extra to your artwork?

  1. Select or create a layer: The very first step is to select the layer you want to apply the mask to. This layer is often referred to as the 'base layer'. If you don't already have a layer, create one by tapping on the '+' icon in the layers panel.
  2. Create a new layer: Next, create a new layer above your base layer. This will be your 'clipping mask layer'. This is where you'll add the color, shading, or the effect you want.
  3. Apply the Clipping Mask: Now, tap on the new layer to bring up the layer options, and then tap on 'Clipping Mask'. Voila! You've created a clipping mask. The contents of this layer will only show up within the boundaries of the base layer underneath it.

And there you have it! You now know how to create a clipping mask in Procreate. It's like putting on a pair of 3D glasses at the movies - it adds that extra layer of depth and detail to your work. But we're not done yet; let's learn how to add more layers to your clipping mask.

How to add layers to your Clipping Mask

So, you've made your first clipping mask. Well done! But what if you want to add more colors or effects? Don't worry; adding layers to your clipping mask is as easy as pie.

  1. Create a new layer: Navigate to the layers panel and tap the '+' icon to create a new layer. Remember, this layer should sit above the clipping mask layer you created earlier.
  2. Apply Clipping Mask: Like before, tap on the new layer to open the layer options and select 'Clipping Mask'. The new layer now becomes part of the clipping mask, taking on the form of the base layer.
  3. Repeat as necessary: You can add as many layers as you like to your clipping mask. Each new layer will add another level of texture, color, or effect to your artwork.

Adding layers to your clipping mask in Procreate is like adding toppings to your pizza. Each new layer brings a new flavor, making your artwork richer and more detailed. Now that you've mastered how to add layers, let's see how you can use clipping masks to create stunning text effects.

How to use Clipping Masks for text effects

Text effects can add a splash of creativity to your designs. With Procreate's clipping mask feature, you can create eye-catching text effects that'll make your work stand out. Ready to add some pizzazz to your text? Let's get started!

  1. Add Text: To start, create a new layer and use the text tool to write your desired text. Choose a font style and size that suits your design.
  2. Create a Clipping Mask: Add a new layer above your text layer. Tap on it and select 'Clipping Mask'. This layer will now take the shape of your text.
  3. Add effect: Now the fun part! Use brushes, colors, or gradients to paint on the clipping mask layer. The effects will only appear within the boundaries of your text. You can experiment with different brushes and colors to create unique effects.

Just like that, you've turned plain text into a work of art! Using clipping masks for text effects in Procreate is a great way to express your creativity. But what about adding depth to your designs? Stay tuned, because next we're diving into using clipping masks for shading and highlighting.

How to use Clipping Masks for shading and highlighting

Shading and highlighting can give your Procreate artwork a whole new depth and dimension. You might be wondering, "How does clipping mask help with this?" Well, let's dive in!

  1. Create your base layer: Draw your design or object on a new layer. This will serve as your base layer for shading and highlighting.
  2. Add a Clipping Mask: Add a new layer above your base layer. Tap on it and select 'Clipping Mask'. The clipping mask will follow the contours of your base layer, making it perfect for adding shadows and highlights.
  3. Apply shading: Choose a darker shade of your base color. With the brush tool, start painting the areas where you want shadows. Remember, light source direction is key here. If you're unsure, imagine where your light is coming from, then shade accordingly.
  4. Add highlights: Just like with shading, add a new clipping mask layer for highlights. This time, select a lighter shade of your base color and paint where the light would naturally hit your object.

And there you go! You've learned how to use clipping masks in Procreate for shading and highlighting. Not only does this technique add depth to your artwork, but it also keeps your layers organized — a win-win! Now, let's move on to the next section where you'll learn how to manage your layers with clipping masks.

How to remove or unclip layers

Imagine you've been working on a masterpiece in Procreate, using multiple clipping mask layers. Suddenly, you realize that one of the layers isn't quite right. But don't panic! You can easily unclip or remove a layer without disturbing the rest of your artwork. Let's see how.

  1. Select the layer: To begin with, tap on the layer you want to unclip in the layers panel.
  2. Unclip the layer: Once selected, tap on the layer again to bring up a menu. From this menu, simply tap on 'Clipping Mask' to unclip the layer.
  3. Remove the layer: If you want to remove a layer altogether, swipe it to the left in the layers panel. Then, tap on 'Delete' to remove it from your artwork.

And just like that, you've tidied up your artwork by removing or unclipping the unwanted layers. It's always essential to remember that mistakes aren't final in digital art — you can always edit, redo, or even delete things that aren't working out. So, keep playing around with your clipping masks until you're happy with your final piece. Now, how about we learn how to switch off a clipping mask?

How to turn off the Clipping Mask

At times, while working on your Procreate project, you may want to turn off the clipping mask temporarily to see the effect of your base layer independently. This can be done with just a flick of a finger. Let's dive into it.

  1. Locate the layer: First, you need to find the clipping mask layer you want to turn off. Tap on the layer to select it.
  2. Turn off the clipping mask: With the layer selected, tap on it one more time. This will open a pop-up menu. Look for the 'Clipping Mask' option and tap on it. This action will turn off the clipping mask, allowing you to see the base layer in its original form.
  3. Turn it back on: Want to turn the clipping mask back on? No problem. Follow the same steps, but this time when you tap 'Clipping Mask', it will be reactivated, and your artwork will return to its previous state.

Turning off the clipping mask in Procreate is a breeze, isn't it? This simple trick allows you to compare your artwork with and without the effects of the clipping mask, providing an easy way to monitor the progress of your work. Now, let's move on to how you can merge clip layers in Procreate.

How to merge clip layers

Merging clip layers can help simplify your Procreate canvas and keep your project organized. Here's a quick step-by-step guide on how you can do this.

  1. Select your layers: Tap on the topmost layer of the clipping mask stack that you want to merge. This will highlight the layer, indicating it's selected.
  2. Merge the layers: With your finger, swipe left on the other layers you want to merge with the selected layer. When all the layers you want to merge are highlighted, tap on 'Merge' from the pop-up menu. Voila! Your layers are now merged into one.
  3. Check your work: After merging, you'll notice that the layers have combined to form a single layer. This doesn't affect the overall appearance of your artwork, but it does make managing your layers a lot easier.

Merging clip layers in Procreate is a great way to keep your workspace tidy and your layers manageable. But remember, once merged, you can't unmerge them. So, be certain before you merge. Now that you've mastered merging, let's learn how to save your Procreate art with clipping masks. Stay tuned!

How to save your Procreate art with Clipping Masks

After all the hard work, the last thing you want to do is to lose your masterpiece. So, let's quickly walk through how to save your Procreate artwork that contains clipping masks. It's as easy as pie!

  1. Go to the Actions Menu: Tapping on the wrench icon on the top left corner of your screen will open the Actions Menu.
  2. Select 'Share': From the pop-up menu, tap on the 'Share' tab. This will open a new set of options for various file formats.
  3. Pick a file format: For the best results, select 'Procreate' or 'PSD' (Photoshop) format. These formats will keep your layers and clipping masks intact. If you just want a flat image, 'JPEG' or 'PNG' will do the trick.
  4. Save your work: Finally, select where you want to save your file. You can choose to save it on your device, or upload it to a cloud-based service like iCloud or Dropbox.

And there you have it! You've successfully saved your Procreate artwork with clipping masks. Remember, the key to becoming a Procreate pro is practicing and experimenting with different tools and techniques. So, grab your iPad and stylus and start creating!

If you enjoyed learning about clipping masks in Procreate and want to further enhance your skills, check out our 'Daisie Original Animation Course' with none another than Alex Jenkins who will you take you through his complete animation process. Dive in and take your animation skills to the next level!