Procreate - Beginner's Tutorial Part #1 > Getting Around


Welcome to my first tutorial! :relaxed: :wave:

You may have heard of this popular and powerful art software for iPads named Procreate. Have you ever wanted to learn how to use the software? Do you want to learn some tips and tricks to help create your best art pieces? Well then, keep reading!


You may want to follow along with your iPad as it will help you better familiarise with the software rather than just reading :smile:

Today in this segment, we will cover…
:white_check_mark: Homepage and Canvas Settings
:white_check_mark: Colors, Palettes, Brushes and Layers

Lets go!

1.0 – The Homepage

Well well. You’ve finally downloaded Procreate. You entered the app and you’re hit with a page with 4 artworks. What do you do now?

For fun, click on one of the four artworks(or all if you’d like:wink:) to check out what you can do with the software. You can even animate :scream:

1.1 – Canvas Settings

Moving on to canvas settings, to start a new piece, click on the ‘+’ sign at the extreme top-right hand corner of the screen! After that, you’d immediately be hit with this:

There will be presets given to you automatically. But what if you want your size?
Nothing’s impossible! All you need to do is to just tap that bar with a plus sign!IMG-0166 copy
You will then be transferred here! Now let me introduce the different segments!

1.11 – Dimensions

^^ This is your canvas preset maker(that’s what I call it).
First thing is to define your dimensions! You may mess around with the Width and Height settings to get that perfect size you need. The maximum layers available will depend on it too! The larger the canvas, the maximum layers decreases. You can also change the measurement units beside the number pad.

But if I have so many presets named “Untitled Canvas”, how would I know which is which?

See bolded text with “Untitled Canvas” on it? Tap it and your keyboard will show up. Change your preset name to whatever you like!

1.12 –Color Profile

CMYK – Best for art print products as colors will be displayed from a printer’s ‘POV’. Certain colors that you can see on your monitor(ie. bright red) cannot be replicated with CMYK colors. Hence, using CMYK color will help to avoid color shifting when printing.

RGB – Best for digital graphics as this color mode is used on computer monitors, etc.

I don’t usually touch this area that much unless I’m making a design for a product.

1.13 --Timelapse Settings

This is extremely useful for Youtube videos! Go ahead and change the settings and get a great sped-up playback!

1.14 – Canvas Properties

Background color – Changes the default background color for the preset. However, it can be changed when editing the canvas if needed.
Background hidden – Self-explanatory Turns off background

2.0 – Colors, Palettes, Brushes, and Layers!

You have jumped into the realm of Procreate! Now its time to learn the basic functions to create your first masterpiece! Now you should see this when you start a new canvas:

However, now we’ll only focus on the top right-hand corner – the Colors, Palettes, Brushes, and Layers!

2.1 – Color Wheel

HSV Notes

I will be using the terms Hue, Saturation and Value throughout the Color Wheel segment. Heres a visual representation on how these 3 terms work

Do you see a small colored circle? Tap that and it will bring you here!

This is your color selection menu. The default is always the Disc, however, you can always change it to one out of the 5 different varieties and 5 sub-categories!

2.11 – Disk

Here is the default color selection menu type! I will go through the different components!
Outer Wheel – Choose the main color // hue
Inner Circle – Here, you can mess around with the

  • Value: How light or dark the main color is.
  • Saturation: The intensity of the color; which is expressed as the degree to which the color differs from white.

2.12 – Classic Color Wheel(The Box)

This is where it gets slightly more complicated. See the 3 tiny sliders the below the box? These represent the hue, saturation and value respectively.
However, the colorful box above merges saturation and value, together with the color chosen on the hue slider into one. You can play around with it to see how it works!

2.13 – Harmony

Click on the third color wheel setting and you will see ‘Harmony’. The default will be a Complementary color scheme. There will again, be sliders at the bottom. However, there will only be one – representing value.
Complementary – The main color(big circle) with a color that is directly opposite the main

Aren't there more color schemes-

Yup!! Tap on the word ‘Complementary’ and a popup will follow

Here, you will see 5 sub-categories for ‘Harmony’ setting. Here are how they look!

  1. Split Complementary – uses one base color and two secondary colors. Instead of using a complementary color, two colors placed symmetrically around it on the color wheel are used.
  2. Analogous – Shows two colors that are beside the main color
  3. Triatic – 2 colors that are evenly spaced out from the main color(total 3)
  4. Tetradic – 3 colors even spaced out from the main color(total 4)

2.14 – Value

Here is where HSV(In Procreate, it is called HSB) and RGB is shown as sliders! You’d face something like this:

Furthermore, if you already have a set color palette in Hexadecimals, just paste it in the hexadecimal box!

2.15 – Palettes

Are you tired of using the color picker all. the. time? Do you have a great color in mind but need to search for it?
To save trouble, procreate has palettes! When you first get procreate, it automatically provides 3 amazing palettes – Ascend, Campfire and Flourish.

Outlines is my own palette xD

But what if I want to drop in my own colors to save?
No issues. Tap the ‘+’ button and a fresh, empty palette will be waiting for you. Tap a box to throw in the color you want to save.

If you need more palettes, there are hundreds of open-sourced procreate palettes online! My personal favorite pack :point_right: FREE Procreate Color Swatches: 35+ Palettes for Painti - Georg's Procreate Brushes and they are free(donations are recommended to support the creator though)

2.2 – Layers

See the two overlapping squares? That is the layers tab. Tap it and it will show this

A new canvas by default will have 1 blank layer and a customizable background color

2.21 – Background color

Have you wanted to change that plain white color into something more fun? Now it is time to do so! Tap on the ‘Background Color’ layer. You will then be greeted by a color wheel named ‘Background’. Now, mess around with the wheel and pick a color you like!

2.22 – Layer

Layers are very important. For example, if you have two layers and you need to edit something, you only need to select the layer with the problem and the great thing is that it will not affect the other parts! For art pieces, sometimes you may even need more than 10 layers!
Now for the functions.
Tap on the layer image, a popup will then follow with 9 different options

  1. Rename – Allows you to rename/name the layer.
  2. Select – Selects all layer contents
  3. Copy – Copies layer contents
  4. Fill layer – Fills the entire layer with a chosen color. Ignores filled lines unless Alpha Lock is turned on.
  5. Clear – Clears layer’s contents
  6. Alpha Lock – Acts like a mask. Except that it only affects the same layer. Prevents strokes from going out into blank areas.
  7. Mask – A non-destructive way(unlike an eraser) to conceal unwanted parts in the layer above
  8. Invert – Inverts the layer’s colors
  9. Reference – Allows you to keep line work intact while coloring it on a separate layer.

If you have more than 1 layer, an option to merge with the layer below will be shown

Now, what is the letter and that checkbox?
The letter represents the layer’s blending mode – N is the default, which represents ‘Normal’. Checkboxes are to toggle the layer’s visibility!
Tap on the letter to reveal blending mode and opacity settings.

Blending Modes affect how the selected layer interacts with the other Procreate layers in your canvas.
One of the best ways to get comfortable with them is to mess around with them to get a feel for how each works! You can always set the Blending Mode back to Normal if you don’t like the other blending modes.

Next cool feature, you can swipe the layer to the left to reveal 3 more functions!

  1. Lock – Prevents any edits to the layer until you unlock it. You are able to unlock it from the same menu as well!
  2. Duplicate – Creates a copy of the layer’s contents on a new layer.
  3. Delete – Deletes the selected layer. However, if you only have one layer, you’ll see “Clear” instead of Delete, which instead, will delete the layer’s contents.

Sometimes you draw for a long time and you have so many layers that represent so many different things. How do you organize them? The answer is pretty clear: You group similar layers together!

Swipe an unselected layer to the left – this will select it along with the 1st selected layer. A new option will then be formed: Group

Tap it and a new group will be formed!

Groups can have their visibility toggled as one – Toggle the checkbox in the group and its contents will also be invisible!
Now that concludes the layers tab!

2.3 – Brushes

Let’s exit the layers tab. You might be thinking: “Is there only 1 brush?”. Fear not. Tap on the brush icon and immediately you will be hit with a myriad of brushes!

There are so many brush presets that are honestly impossible to go through. Have fun messing around with the textures and sizes! I recommend having an apple pencil for the calligraphy brushes :wink:!

I usually stick with the monoline brush Brushes > Calligraphy > Monoline

Did you know that you can also import your own brushes and even create some in the app itself? There are also, like palettes, hundreds of free ones online to enhance your art! I have already downloaded a brush set named ‘Splash’ and it really helps in illustrating and shading. You can get it here :point_down:

Are we missing anything about brushes? Yes we are! Having only brushes with 1 size and opacity isn’t going to help us well. Look over to the left. Do you see a bar?

This bar is one of the most important tools. It features

  • Top Bar – Brush size: Change the size of the brush on a scale of 1-100%(also depends on brush setting)
  • Middle Square – Eyedropper: Tap to ‘unleash’ the eyedropper. Hover over a color and it will become the chosen color!
  • Bottom Bar – Brush Opacity: Sets the opacity of the brush on a scale of 1-100%(also depends on brush setting)
  • Undo and Redo Buttons – Pretty self explanatory. Made a mistake? Just undo it. Accidentally undo-ed a good stroke? Redo it.

Heres how it works

Brush opacity won’t be very obvious for the monoline.

And that, my friend, it is the end of the Brush category.


We have come to the very end of Part #1!
Now that you know the basics about brushes, colors, layers and customising your canvas to your liking, why don’t you try to create something awesome? I would love to see what you have created using procreate and hopefully this guide has helped you kickstart your passion for digital art. Procreate has helped me with my illustrations and I can’t thank the world enough for this amazing tool.

Part 2 will be coming out soon! It will feature layer effects/filters, tools and canvas actions!


Do you have something in mind that I can improve on? Drop it in my feedback form here! It really helps me and the community as I can better write these guides to benefit them.
Fill it in here :point_down:


This is great tutorial! Procreate is definitely a daunting app when you first get on.
One thing you could discuss is the shape correction tool. Make a square, hold for a second and it straightens the shape for you. It’s a very handy tool!


That will be included in the next part! Thanks for the suggestion. It is definitely a great feature. I honestly wouldn’t know what I would be doing without it.


I really hate to bump posts but thanks so much for this! I don’t want to blindly buy ProCreate with no understanding of the software so this will help!

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Glad I could help! Don’t worry about bumping the post, it could really help someone. :>

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Aw, I have gave my iPad to a friend of mine but this tutorial looks awesome!


Great tutorial, thanks for the help.

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