Procreate and the pandemic

I have really improved my drawing and illustration skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. I credit patience, and creating something nearly every day, for much of the improvement. And I credit learning the Procreate app for the rest.

Patience, Procreate and creating something every day improved my drawing and illustration skills.

Last year, my “go-to” hardware was a MacBook Pro, a Wacom drawing tablet, a wireless keyboard and a 25-inch monitor. Late in 2019 I upgraded my iPad and purchased an Apple pencil. I could use the iPad anywhere, rather than be chained to the desk in my studio.

As a graphic designer, I  am experienced with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign–the creative’s toolset for graphic design, typography, photography and illustration. I tried several iPad drawing apps, but none had the feature set I needed. I started to follow creatives who produce iPad tutorials on, lettering, drawing and illustration tutorials. I learned about an app called Procreate–so named as it was developed for the iPad Pro, the first iPad to use an Apple Pencil. I paid my ten bucks and started to learn the app. I found that I could create artwork that looks as good as that created with my desktop software.

Back to the pandemic… I have worked at home for over 15 years, so staying home a bit more was not too taxing. I wanted to improve my drawing skills, but could not make myself pick up a sketchbook. I remember my drawing teacher told me, “just try drawing something–anything–each day.” So I started creating something on the iPad nearly every day. Birthday cards, abstract illustrations, watercolor drawings, comic-style illustrations, and more. I learned how to use dozens of different types of “brushes,” something I hadn’t explored much with earlier Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator projects. Since I was home almost all the time, I created lots of works from photos–free stock photos and my own photos. My skills grew, week to week and month to month. 

Do something good. Create something every day. 

I now use my sketchbook almost daily. Sometimes I use it at the start of a project. Most days I see where my mind takes me when I start Procreate, and use the sketchbook to take notes and to paste printed versions. My advice: Do something good. Create something every day.