Procreate is a digital illustration app exclusive to the iPad. Creating art using a digital device like the iPad has changed the game for many designers and illustrators. For a start, transporting an iPad is a lot easier than a laptop or computer, meaning you can take your work anywhere. The design app has also bridged the gap between traditional and digital methods for many creatives as it feels more hands-on than other technologies. Meaning you have more control without losing the unique quality that makes your hand-done sketching, drawing, and painting work unique. Combine your design with fancy fonts and you have the perfect graphic to add to your portfolio.
If you’re not using Procreate yet, the app’s growing popularity means that there are plenty of tutorials to help you start. There is also a growing number of online resources to help you create designs or illustrations in keeping with your style. Still, need inspiration? Whether you’re a master of Procreate, just making the switch, or are unfamiliar with the app, here are some incredible Procreate artists to inspire your next design project.
Sabrena Khadija is an illustrator based in New York City. Khadija’s work is full of energy and adopts a distinctive and wonderfully bright color pallet. They have worked with impressive clients like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Facebook. On her website, they describe themselves as “one of the growing number of human beings who seek inclusive and innovative spaces to explore art and creativity in meaningful and impactful ways.” Inclusivity is an important theme that shines brilliantly throughout their work.
In an interview with Skillshare, Sabrena shared insight into how they use Procreate to produce stunning illustrations and designs. She describes custom brushes as a game-changer in their working process.
“I initially found this option early into using the Procreate app when a default brush was almost what I was looking for. But, instead of just using what was there or scouring the internet for the perfect brush, I simply sat down and made it!”
Khadija also recognizes that “For someone new to Procreate, using the default brushes or downloading free Procreate brushes someone else has made” is an excellent way to get started. You can access existing brushes in the Procreate Brush Library or create upload or edit brushes in the Brush Studio. Or you can also download Procreate add-ons to improve your Brush Library.
Image by Sabrena Khadija
Liz Kohler Brown
Liz Kohler Brown is a surface designer, hand letterer, and author. She teaches classes about Procreate and other iPad art applications. Brown has taught her art and design courses globally, and her website has a bounty of inspiration for prospective and existing Procreate users, including free tutorials and resources. Her inspiration comes from travel, nature, and vintage signs and books.
Brown’s designs and lettering “are created by hand starting with rough sketches and ending with finished designs in raster or vector format.” She recommends Procreate and iPad art because it means you can avoid the feeling of messing up (something that that many traditional artists and makers can relate to), stating, “you can totally forget about wasting materials, and just get your ideas on down.”
Brown’s stunning designs appear on wrapping paper, gift-tags, tote bags, and other available products from her online shop. She has worked with Origin Magazine, Rocky Nook Publishing, and The Pigeon Letters Blog. Her work portfolio is the perfect inspiration for budding surface designers, and Brown’s exquisite hand-lettering is particularly impressive.
Image by Liz Kohler Brown
Jill Goritschnig is a freelance illustrator and graphic/motion designer working from Salzburg, Austria. According to her website, she has worked with big names like Red Bull and Savage Interactive. She earned a Master’s degree in MultiMediaArt from the University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg. Her work is friendly and inviting, with a playful approach to mark-making. Goritschnig took part in the same interview as Sabrena Khadija and shared fantastic insight into her Procreate process.
Like the rest of the Procreate community, Jill welcomed the version 4.2 update that brought ‘QuickShape’ and ‘QuickLine.’ Goritschnig describes these tools as “so helpful for creating straight lines and smooth shapes. It changed how I paint and also the overall look of my paintings. I would recommend it to anybody, especially if you work in a graphic style.”
To use ‘QuickShape’ and ‘QuickLine,’ draw your desired shape or line and hold the Apple Pencil down on the canvas for a few seconds after you’ve finished. Procreate will then polish up your shapes or lines to ensure they are clean and symmetrical.
Procreate commission by Jill Goritschnig
Jarom Vogel is a freelance illustrator who has worked with big companies like Apple, Disney, Pepsi, and has illustrated three children’s books. His work is quirky, vibrant, and jolly. Aside from illustrations, he has produced some inspiring yet straightforward animations. He also teaches classes and delivers online content to help other creatives get to grips with Procreate.
In March 2020, Vogel was a guest author for Spotify Design and shared how he created three illustrations for the Spotify for Podcasters page on his iPad using Procreate and Affinity Designer. The illustrations’ purpose is to highlight the value of hosting a Podcast through Spotify, and Vogel achieved this with his innovative designs.
Vogel started the process by producing some initial sketches on Procreate because he does “pretty much all of my work on an iPad.” Jarom shared the brushes he used for this part of the process.
“For this part, I mostly use Procreate’s built-in ‘Technical Pencil’ brush. It’s a good one! If I want to keep things more loose, I’ll sometimes start with ‘HB pencil’ for sketches as well.”
Vogel switched over to Affinity Designer to color the initial sketches as it “has the best illustration workflow for how I draw.” Although Vogel switched between two design apps, he produces most of his work using Procreate, making for a “fun challenge to adapt my current process and workflow to vector illustration.”
Jarom Vogel “Be where millions of listeners are” illustration for the Spotify for Podcasters page.