The Procreate app was designed to provide artists with digital tools that rival the real-life experience of using traditional art supplies. More than a drawing app, Procreate allows you to create full blown artistic creations.
But what if you aren’t an artist? Is Procreate worth it?
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When I started using Procreate I had no artistic skills. I purchased it to learn how to do hand lettering on my iPad. Since then, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Procreate and created art projects that were way beyond anything I thought I was capable of. A few months ago I decided to use Procreate to cope with the stress of 2020, and it has been very effective.
If you’re interested in learning how to do any sort of art, I believe Procreate is worth purchasing. But don’t just take my word for it! In this post I’ll tell you the reasons I think it’s worth it (and why it may not be) and you can decide from there.
The Procreate App is Inexpensive
The Procreate iPad app is available on the app store for less than $10 at the time of this writing. The Procreate software has the advanced features necessary to create gorgeous illustrations as well as beautiful animations.
If you’re a newbie artist, please consider that all of your creations are awesome! Share them on social media and watch your progress. 🙂
Is it worth paying the $10 for Procreate? Absolutely, 100% yes. I think they should charge a lot more for the app.
The artwork created in Procreate is on par with those created with traditional mediums, but in a digital format. For example, when you’re creating watercolor art, it looks like you used watercolor. It’s incredible!
The app has powerful features that can meet the demands even of creative professionals.
The price of Procreate makes it worth it to me, even if you are just planning to play around with it. I think it is truly fun for digital artists and for beginners.
The downside is that the Procreate app only works on the iPad so if you don’t already have an iPad, it will be a much more expensive purchase. To decide which iPad is best for Procreate, check out my recent article.
Another expense is purchasing an Apple Pencil, which I will describe below. While not required, using an Apple Pencil makes a huge difference when using Procreate.
Using Procreate is Fun
Whether you’re creating digital art, doodling, sketching, or practicing hand lettering, using iPad is fun! When you go in to Procreate you’ll see there are a ton of different brushes available to you that come with the app. You can use those brushes just to play around. You can play with different colors and even manipulate your art digitally with things like liquify. This is a setting that lets you push around colors to make a pretty cool marbling effect of different colors.
I love creating super colorful letters and have even learned how to do this using fonts with Procreate in this Skillshare class (one of my favorites).
For the price, even if you just want to have fun, Procreate is worth it.
Of course once you get in there and start using the basic tools of Procreate you might decide you want to learn more. Although Procreate has a relatively intuitive interface, there still is a large learning curve if you want to get to know the more advanced features.
The good news is it’s fun to spend a lot of time doing tutorials on YouTube videos and my favorite place Skillshare! I recommend my class on how to create digital stickers using Procreate for all beginners because you’ll learn simple ways to use the program to draw and color simple doodles and then to use shading and texture to make them look like paper! I think this class would be good for you to take even if you don’t want to make digital stickers because it has a lot of beginner Procreate tips. With my link you get a 14 day free trial to Skillshare.
No Need To Purchase Supplies (Unless You Want To)
Have you ever noticed how expensive it is to start a new hobby?
Maybe it’s just me but whenever I get into a new hobby I tend to purchase all of the things I think I’ll need. But then I get sort of scared to use them all because they were expensive and I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t want to waste them!
Procreate comes with a large selection of brushes that act similarly to traditional mediums. The pencil brushes act like real pencils. The watercolor brushes act like watercolor.
You also get to choose whatever color you want using the color wheel. There are even some great ways to help you choose colors to use such as color harmony tools that ensure you pick colors that go together. You can even import color palettes created by others or even select a color palette from a photo.
Using something called a clipping mask allows you to use metallic or glitter images to create glitter designs. So cool! I can’t imagine how much money you would have to spend to purchase all the art supplies and colors that come with Procreate if you were to purchase them in a physical medium.
Seriously, there are so many tools within Procreate that you don’t have to buy all the tools before you can get started. The downside is there is one tool that is slightly expensive that I recommend for the best experience with Procreate, and that’s the Apple Pencil.
You can purchase brush sets to add even more brushes to your brush library, but this is unnecessary. Heck, you can even create your own custom brushes.
The Apple Pencil is Amazing in Procreate
The brushes within Procreate act very similar to real art supplies when you use the Apple Pencil.
While you don’t need an Apple Pencil to use Procreate, it makes a huge difference in your art. The Apple Pencil uses pressure sensitivity which means that you can get lighter or heavier lines depending on how hard you press on the screen. Yes, this works just like a real pencil or pen.
The iPad can also tell if you are writing with the tip or with the side of the pencil tip. This is similar to how a pencil acts. If you write with the tip you get a thin line but if you use the side of the pencil you get some shading. You can also change your brush size easily if you want your lines thicker or thinner.
I understand that you may not wish to purchase an Apple Pencil if you just purchased an iPad; however, it truly makes a huge difference when you use the Apple Pencil. I’ve tried to use this regular stylus, but I really missed the pressure sensitivity of my Apple Pencil.
You Won’t Waste Art Supplies
The other cool thing about Procreate that makes it worth it to me is that you can play around as much as you want to without ever running out of art supplies. I’ve used my Apple Pencil for about 3 years now and have not had to replace the tip. The pencil is a one time purchase and even if you had to replace the tips, they are around $5 a piece.
You don’t have to worry about going through all of your fancy watercolor paper when learning how to do watercolor on the iPad and you won’t run out of paints. You also can’t wreck them (I guess unless you delete them, but they are easy enough to get back).
I struggled with lettering practice because of this. I was going through so much paper. With my iPad Pro I don’t need to worry about that! I have lots of space on my iPad and if I run out I can always save more in your icloud drive. You can create whatever canvas size you need for your project. I tend to use letter size for printables and then a square for Instragram.
Clean Up is a Breeze
When using Procreate there’s no need to put down any drop cloths or to wash up any spilled paint because there isn’t any. All you need to do is put away your iPad and Pencil and make sure that you plug them in so they are ready next time. It would be sad for them not to be available when you want to use them.
But Can I Use Procreate if I Can’t Draw?
Procreate has tools that help you with learning to draw. There is the revolutionary quickshape feature that helps you create perfect shapes. All you have to do is draw a shape and hold your pencil on the screen and wait for Procreate to create your perfect shape.
There is the selection tool that helps you to select and resize objects if you drew them in an awkward size. There are grids that can be used to help you draw. Another useful feature is drawing assist, which helps you with straight lines, perspective and even symmetry (I love drawing mandalas with Procreate).
There are so many great things about Procreate for newbies, but I think the best thing is the advanced layer system, which allows you to create different layers in your artwork. The way I think of this is as if I have several transparent pieces of paper that I put on top of each other when creating art.
Each layer is independent and does not affect other layers.
My initial sketch usually looks like a kindergarten student drew it, but it doesn’t matter because I can keep putting layers on top of it and refining it until I get where I want to go. Here is an example of the first layer of one of my projects compared to the final version (I easily created this before and after in Procreate by because you can drop artworks right on a new canvas by exporting them as images):
As a beginner, one of my favorite things about Procreate was that there are ways to fix your mistakes as you make your art. You don’t have to start over if you make an error. You can use undo by double tapping
What about Procreate Pocket?
There’s also an app for the iPhone called Procreate Pocket. Procreate Pocket has similar features but does not have things like pressure sensitivity. I’ve not had as much success with Procreate Pocket so will not be covering that app in this article.
Is Procreate Worth It if You’re Not an Artist?
Yes! I highly recommend purchasing Procreate on on the iOS app store, even if you have to run to the Apple Store to get a new iPad Pro or iPad Air! Totally worth it. See this post for help selecting the best iPad.
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