Digitally illustrating on Procreate on the iPad Pro : My process


It feels to me, like the majority of the digital illustrating world is now going down one of two pathways on the road to full digital illustration enlightenment – one method being the Wacom, the Cintiq looks great, where you can use your Wacom as a second screen for your computer and get Photoshop and Kyle’s fantastic whimsical brushes right there and then, or the route of the iPad Pro combined with the Procreate app. I fall into the second camp, and am a Procreate mega fan. When the iPad Pro came out 3 years ago I was one of the ones going “Who the hell would ever buy a 13 inch iPad?!”, to then later on that day, after some research, march right into the Apple Store and buy one.

I will do a full post on Procreate another day and why I prefer it (or at least the idea of it) to the alternative. But for now I thought I’d share a quick insight into creating one of my digital illustrations, from sketch to final illustration! I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot more of these, and this is a simple one to start 🙂


The final illustration, made digitally on Procreate – Girl Reading


The image I’m going to show how I got there is the girl reading her book under some shady leaves. I already had an idea for her reading on a summers day, under a tree, and how it would look in my head, and just wanted to find an image to reference for a body pose to match up to my idea.


The initial digital sketch and then refining it.

I draw a quick sketch on Procreate referencing this body pose (I don’t trace the photo as I like the people to feel more stylised as characters), and then start adding in the surroundings, the features of the girl, the clothes. With another layer I refine it again with a tighter sketch, and erase parts of the earlier sketch when I am done with them.


I flip between two favourite brushes on Procreate, the Ink pen and the Shale brush, both which act in a similar way in their stroke, replicating an ink brush effect, for this image I chose the Shale brush, with its much more rough, chalky edged line.

I really enjoy using this part of my process, when using these brushes and the feeling of the movement I can create with the lines, putting in bold loosely representative stroke. I then fill the colour in behind it, and slowly erase bits of the line where I can, so the subject isn’t completely outlined. I like it the final outcome to feel a bit looser than that.

And from here, after a bit of tidying, and possibly a bit of fiddling with colours, I’m done! I really love this piece, even though I haven’t put in what she is reading, it makes me want to be in a peaceful park in summer time. What do you think she is reading?

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