Digital Apps for the Traditional Artist: Part Two – Procreate

If you are a digital artist, than you know just how powerful a tool Procreate is for creating original digital art. It is the app that I use for just about all of my digital work, and I know I have only barely touched the surface of what it can do. But I am not going to talk that here — what I want to share is how I use Procreate to improve my traditional art.

There are two things I use it for most: layout and accurate proportions/perspective.

Procreate allows you to import photos (or drawings) and stack them as layers. You can mask, shift, erase, stretch, crop, reposition and paint over any of the layers to produce a final image. For example, when I did the Tedi commission of a woman and her parrot (see previous blog on that), I did not have an image to work from, but instead the client sent some photos of the bird, and some photos of her, and I we went back and forth to put together an idea for the painting that she liked. I was able to layer and erase, and change background, all using Procreate, to come up with a final reference image for the painting.

When I use Procreate to check accuracy, I import a photo of my work in progress, and then a photo of the image I am working from. I add one more layer, and then I use that to trace the outline of the actual photo and lay it on top of my current painting. Here I can see where my proportions are off, and what i need to change.

I am currently working on a commission of a girl riding here horse. The only thing I had to work from for this one is a video of her riding (from which I took a number of snapshots — but that is a different program), and a couple of close up stills of the girl with her horse (not riding). The painting is acrylic on canvas, so using a pencil grid does not work great after the first layer of paint is down. So Procreate really helps me to stay on point for paintings where accuracy is important (which is often the case with commissions).

Here is the still image I am working from. I start with a pencil drawing on canvas, and then block in the basic shapes and colors. Then I check my accuracy using Procreate.

So what you see here is an image produced by Procreate using that process. The red line drawing was created by tracing over the original photo, and then laying that on top of work in progress. Next, I will go back to my original paintings and make my corrections. I may do this a couple of more times before I feel the painting is on track.

So that is just a couple of ways that I use Procreate to improve the quality of my paintings.

Procreate has so many tools, that it can be overwhelming. Before I really started using it regularly, I took a few online courses to learn about the tools. I highly recommend taking some sort of basic instruction on Procreate before you dive in.

In my next post I will talk about one of my other favorite apps: Be Casso.

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Eileen Backman

Portfolio of Original Art for Sale:

Fine Art America Portfolio:

Accepting Commissions

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