Procreate: a true gem for iPad drawing

Procreate is a Raster (pixel) drawing app, and has many features not found in other drawing apps available for the iPad. It is a true gem, and well worth the money. 

In 2019, my “go-to” tools for making quick–and detailed–graphics and illustrations were Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop on my Macbook Pro. My setup included a Wacom drawing tablet, a wireless keyboard, and a large monitor. My iPad was a secondary tool, hardly part of my graphic design workflow. I dabbled in the different Illustrator and Photoshop apps for the iPad, but they seemed awkward. 

Then I traded in my iPad for an iPad Air (3rd Generation) and bought an Apple Pencil. I kept hearing about an app called Procreate, designed for the original iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. One of the blogs I follow had lots of Procreate tutorials, so invested the small sum of TEN DOLLARS (!) and got started with Procreate.

Procreate is a true gem.

Pros: 

  • Choose from pre-installed templates, or create your own
  • Allows you to use pressure sensitivity with Apple Pencil to change drawing strokes
  • Layers! Depending upon the drawing size and resolution, you can have up to 40 or more layers
  • Robust text capabilities, and you can add typefaces
  • Preinstalled color palettes
  • Ability to create your own color palettes manually, create from an image or a photo in your library, or import palettes created by others
  • Ability to export color palettes
  • Shape and symmetry tools
  • Drawing assist allows you to create straight lines, smooth curves, and more
  • Create CMYK and RGB documents for print and Web, respectively
  • Export to several file formats, including PNG, JPEG, TIFF, layered PSD, PDF and more
  • Ability to create Procreate brushes and brush sets
  • Hundreds (thousands?) of free and paid Procreate brush sets are available

Cons:

  • As a Raster app, you need to set the drawing size and resolution up front, according to how you intend to use the illustration
  • In the current version, you can draw and edit arcs, with three or four points, but not “S-curves.”
  • If you are a Typophile and load dozens of typefaces, or often create illustrations with 20 or more layers, Procreate will crash periodically, even with decent iPad memory–but I have never lost a file!
  • There are so many Procreate brushes available, you may find it hard to limit the number you add; currently you cannot tag brushes as “favorites”
  • Cannot lock a color palette; I have accidentally changed color swatches many times

All told, I like this app and recommend it to graphic designers as part of your work flow.

Multilayered Procreate illustration