Digital Drawing with an iPad and Procreate

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I am not a digital artist and I do not use my current digital drawing tools the their fullest potential. I am a glorified doodler. Though, achieving the crisp detail of my simple doodles in digital format proved to be more complicated than I thought when I started researching products to buy.

I spent months researching digital drawing pads. I wanted to find a way to create my crisp line work digitally with as much ease as I can with pen and paper. This has been a goal of mine for years, but I didn’t want to waste money on tech that I didn’t necessarily need. I tried to get away with cheap alternatives in the past, but ultimately wasted that money as the bargain products I bought were clunky and hard to use right away.

I wanted out of the box, intuitive, easy doodling. I finally convinced myself to increase my budget and buy a product that did everything I wanted (and more!). Through my researching, I binge watched all of this guy’s YouTube videos on digital drawing. Brad Colbow. He is super informative. If you are struggling with figuring out what digital drawing tool is best for you, his videos will help.

After all my research, I bought an iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate. My first ever Apple products.

My Struggle With Apple Products

I am frugal AF. If I can get away with a cheaper version of a product, I’m going to do it. Which explains why I have avoided Apple products most of my life. I bought a Zune instead of an iPod. I’ve always used Android instead of an iPhone. I’m Windows OS all the way. But, when I started playing with different drawing tablets, I couldn’t deny how perfect the iPad and Apple Pencil were at accomplishing exactly what I wanted.

I was torn between a Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and the iPad (Check out Brad’s video on the Tab S4), but Procreate is only available on Apple products and after testing it out at Best Buy (because that’s what Best Buy is for now), I had to go Apple all the way.

The Products I purchased

  • Apple iPad Pro 11 inch, 64GB (Amazon)
  • Apple Pencil 2nd Generation (Amazon)
  • Procreate (You can buy this from the app store when you have the iPad)

Why I LOVE my iPad with Procreate

I have been using my iPad for around 6 months now, and I love it more with each doodle I make with Procreate. Here’s why:

  • It’s user friendly. Once you have Procreate installed and your Pencil synced, you can start doodling right away.
  • The 11 inch screen is a great size and I can rest my hand comfortably on it while drawing.
  • The Pencil mimics hand to paper perfectly. I draw a lot of lines, and I need a digital product that won’t lag. I also need the digital pen to make marks where it’s supposed to. If you try using cheaper options, you’ll notice how the line you draw can be a millimeter or more away from where you’re actually holding the utensil on the screen. That really messes with my line work. I have no issues like this with the iPad.
  • In Procreate, you can easily zoom in and out with two fingers and turn your canvas when needed. No shortcut clicks, no scrolling on a screen. It’s super intuitive and allows me to work like I do with physical pen and paper. I can go with the flow.
  • When finished, I can easily export jpeg files to my Google Drive and move to other devices.
  • When you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you can export your file from Procreate and open it in Photoshop or Illustrator on a different device. I sometimes switch between my iPad and my laptop when working on a file.
  • Procreate records your process while you work. You can export time lapse videos easily. This was one of the first things I did with my iPad in Procreate to test the recording feature:

There are a lot of other perks about the iPad and Procreate, but those options were most important to me and my drawing style.

Now–Here are a couple of things I don’t like:

  • The battery drains when in sleep mode. I usually get distracted and don’t use the iPad every day, so I always find a dead battery when I go to doodle. I should probably just power it down between uses…
  • My hand sometimes sticks to the screen, but I fixed that with wearing this weird half glove from a Huion tablet I bought a while ago. Works great!
  • The price. Yup. Like all Apple products, the price is inflated. You could buy an older model or try a generic digital pen to buy–but I just went for it and called it an early birthday present for myself. You could also explore the Android route or wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

What I use my IPad with Procreate for:

  • Doodling on the go- it’s hard to make a messy art process portable, so when I travel, I bring my iPad with to create art when I’m away from the studio.
  • Mock-ups for clients- Instead of sending over pictures of a rough sketch on paper, I can create detailed and colorful mock-ups for commissioned work. I like to take pictures of a client’s space and then Photoshop the mock-up into the photo. See the example below:
  • Mocking up my art mid-process- Sometimes I get stuck on a piece and don’t know where I want to take it. When that happens, I take a picture of my work with the iPad, import it into Procreate, and experiment with a couple of different directions. It takes away the pressure of “screwing up” a piece.
  • Finished digital works of art for licensing- if you work with companies to get your art printed on every day items, you often need a very large file to preserve detail during printing. Creating digital works that are already hi-res or in vector form allows you to scale to much larger printing formats. (You can create vector work with Adobe Illustrator.)
  • Designs for sites like Society6– I’ve recently been adding digitally created images to my Society6 shop to expand the products I can offer.

***

An iPad can be used for a crap ton of tasks. I bought it as a drawing tablet, but obviously it is so much more than that. Even though I will always prefer working with physical art supplies more than digital, using Procreate on an iPad has helped give me a new perspective on my creative process, and opened up new possibilities for my work.

Feel free to ask me more questions if you’re thinking about buying any of these products. I’m happy to share more of my opinions. Reach out through email or Instagram DMs.

If you want to learn more about the tools I use in the studio, let me know through Instagram or Email, or consider becoming a Patron of mine to support more content like this. Now go get messy and share your creations on Instagram using #messyeverafter!

-Kelly

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Further Reading:

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