When you’re working on a painting in the Procreate app, it can be hard to remember what brush you used. This is especially true if you have a lot of different brushes that are all similar or that have similar (or weird) sounding names. Before starting your next project, read these tips for remembering what brush you used in Procreate.
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The more brushes you buy, the harder it gets to remember which brush you used in what painting. Heck, you probably don’t even remember which brushes you have if your list is as long as mine was. That’s why I created this Skillshare class on how to organize your brushes in Procreate.
Of course, if you need more brushes, here are my top Procreate brush recommendations.
At the time of this writing, the Procreate app does not have a built in way to figure out which brush you used in your previous projects. However, if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to remember which brushes you use in your projects more easily.
In this post, I’m going to teach you some simple ideas for remembering which brushes you used in your paintings in Procreate, no matter how long your brush library list is.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see some new features added in Procreate 5.2 that will help you remember what you used in your CURRENT project.
1. Make Brush Set That Includes Your Favorite Brushes
As you start using Procreate, you’ll find there are certain brushes that you want to use over and over again. Some of my absolute favorite brushes (and sets) are:
- Monoline Brush from the Calligraphy Brush Set that comes with Procreate
- Gouache Brush from the Painting Brush Set that Comes with Procreate
- Dry Ink from the Inking Brush Set that comes with Procreate
- All of the brushes from Brenda Bakker’s Sketchy Doodle Class
- I love using texture in my sketches so I love the Pencils from Lisa Glanz
- The Instant Artist set by Lisa Glanz gives you some awesome places to start because the set includes sketchers, inkers, textures, and patterns.
- I sense that I’m going down a black hole, so I will only recommend one more set, which is a watercolor set from Etsy. It is SUPER fun to play with and has a really cool variety of brushes with those neat soft edges and color changing effects.
Instead of having to search through your brush library every time you want to find a brush that you use a lot, create a new brush library and label it “Favorites.” When you use the same brushes a lot, it may help you figure out what brush you used in Procreate.
How to Create a New Brush Library Category in Procreate:
Click on the “Brush” tab at the top of your screen, scroll up on your list, and tap on the + sign.
This will create a new untitled set. Click on the name and then select rename and name the brush category “Favorites” or whatever else you wish to call it.
How To Move Procreate Brushes into your Favorites Set:
Go into the brush set where the brush is that you would like to move into your favorites folder.
For instance, go into the calligraphy set and choose the monoline brush. Swipe the brush to the left and select duplicate. Now you have a brush called “monoline 1.” This is the brush that you will move into your favorites folder. If you want to remove the 1 from the title, you can go into the brush settings for the new brush you created, go to “About This Brush,” and then rename the brush at the top of your screen.
Note: I always duplicate the brush first so that I can remember where that brush came from if I need to look it up later.
Select and hold down the brush until it appears as if you can move it, then, move it out of the library and at the same time, with your other hand open the new “favorites” library. Once that is open you can drop your monoline 1 brush into your favorites library.
Don’t try to drop your brush onto the title of the library unless you enjoy getting frustrated.
Hint: if you want to move a bunch of brushes from one set over into your favorites library, first, while in that brush library swipe them all slightly to the right. They should all turn blue. Then you touch one of them and when it looks like the group collapses and is ready to move, then you can use your other hand to open your “favorites” set and then drop them in.
Why Use a Favorites Folder?
Even if you can’t remember which brush was used for a particular project, your favorite brushes will start to be recognizable within the projects they’re featured in.
2. Make a Brush Library For Each Individual Project
Instead of scrolling through your entire brush list and trying to find a certain brush each time you want to use it in your project, make a brush set that’s dedicated to that project and that includes all of the brushes in that project.
If you’re only working on one painting, you can easily put all your brushes from that project together into their own brush category by duplicating the brush from within its own set and moving it into the new brush library category.
Of course, creating a new brush folders for each project could result in you adding an overwhelming amount of brushes folders to your list. This will quickly get out of control.
If you’ve seen my course on how to organize your brushes in Procreate, you’ll know one of my recommendations is to have less rather than more brushes!
A way to manage this is to create a folder in your iCloud account called Brush Libraries and export your new brush set out to that folder when your project is completed. Then, if you ever want to know what brushes you used in a project, you only have to import that brush set and look.
It will be important to carefully name your brush set so that you know which one belongs to which artwork.
How To Export a Brush Set:
In the brush library, select the brush set from your list that you’d like to export, tap on the little Procreate sign and then press share. Share it to your folder in iCloud.
How To Import a Brush Set:
Open the folder in your iCloud Drive and choose the brush pack you’d like to import. Since it’s a Procreate brush file, it will automatically open in Procreate and be at the top of your list in your brush library.
3. Use Layer Names To Keep Track of The Brush Used on Each Layer
One thing you could do is to use just one brush per layer and then name the layer with that brush. That way the names of the brushes used in your project would be right on the layers panel.
I personally don’t find this ideal since if I am going to name my layers, I want the name to tell me what part of my painting is on the layer rather than which brush is used in the layer. (For example, sketch, inking, head).
But of course your needs may vary from mine.
Learn more about how to use layers here.
4. Use Layers To Keep Track of Which Brushes You Used in a Project
I love using layers when creating artwork.
Did you know you can use layers to keep track of things you want to remember about your artwork as well?
Since you can make layers “invisible” just by deselecting them, it’s easy to create a layer where you keep track of information about your project. This includes writing down which brushes you used in the project.
I also use this method for taking notes about a technique I’ve learned or that I want to teach later.
Using the layer method of tracking which brushes you used in a project also allows you to add additional details such as
- Where you used the brush in the painting
- What was the size of brush you used?
- What was the opacity?
- Were there any techniques that you found most useful with the brush?
For an added bonus, you can also add your color palette to this layer so that you remember precisely which colors you used in the project.
Of course you can also just use the color picker, but sometimes it’s just easier to have a separate palette as well.
Will You Remember Your Brushes in the Future?
There’s no automatic way to determine which brushes you used in a project. In this post I shared some ideas about how to help remember which brushes you used in each individual project.
- Create a Favorites Folder
- Create a Folder for Each Project
- Use Layer Names
- Use a Layer for Notes
Each of these will require some work up front to stay organized, so make sure you are mindful of starting to use them when starting your project!
The good news is that colors are easier to keep track of and you can even make a color palette from a photo you like.
Which will you try?
Updates for Procreate 5.2
Update: Procreate came up with a few new features that will help you remember brushes you used in your CURRENT project. There’s also a new function that will allow you to save your favorite brush sizes in each brush.
Recent Brushes Folder
If you look at the top of your brush library, you’ll see you now have a brush folder called “Recent.” This library shows the last 8 brushes you used in Procreate.
You can pin your favorite ones here by swiping the brush to the left.
Another cool thing you can do by swiping to the left is see which brush folder the brush came from. This will help if you want to use other brushes in that library as well.
Procreate Brush Memory
You can change the size and opacity of your brushes in Procreate by using the sliders on the side of your screen.
If you change sizes frequently in and between projects, you may get frustrated by having to remember which size you last used.
Well now Procreate allows you to save two brush sizes and two brush opacity percentages in each brush. When on the slider, you’ll see a little plus sign come up. Click on the plus sign to save. Watch the video below to see what I mean 🙂
I created a video to show you how to use both Recent brushes and Brush Memory:
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