Do you want to make art with an iPad and Procreate?
I am an artist that primarily works with acrylic paint, but I get bored easily. Exploring new tools to bring my artwork to life helps keep me motivated to create more. Which led me to try to make art with an iPad and Procreate. Now, I am not a digital artist and I do not use my current digital drawing tools to their fullest potential. I am a painter and a glorified doodler who just wanted to be able to draw smooth lines on a screen. 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.
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If you follow my work, you know I’m obsessed with crisp fine lines. (Read about my favorite paint marker or my favorite ink pen.) To find the right tool for me, I spent months researching digital drawing pads, 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 and I finally convinced myself to increase my budget and buy a product that did everything I wanted (and more!). Through my research, 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.
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 in high school. 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 to make art with an 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 as 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 them 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.
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 by 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 me 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 everyday 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 (or similar services) like this comforter:
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.