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25 Procreate tips and tricks for absolute beginners

Congrats on purchasing Procreate! At least, that’s what I assume is why you’re here. If you’re new to digital painting it might seem a little daunting where to begin. But with these 25 Procreate tips and tricks for absolute beginners, you’ll start creating masterpieces in no time!

1. How to make a selection in Procreate

How to make a selection in procreate
  1. Go to the selection icon
  2. Choose a selection method


Tap an area to automatically select it (this works best with images that have strong contrast)


With this mode, you can draw your selection freehandedly. To create polygons, tap so that the selection line automatically connects to the next time you tap.


With this mode, you can draw your selection freehandedly. To create polygons, tap so that the selection line automatically connects to the next time you tap.


Create an elipse selection by dragging your pen over the canvas. Drag + tap and hold with a finger to create a perfect circle.

2. How to copy and paste in Procreate

How to copy and paste in procreate
  1. Tap the selection icon
  2. Select the part you want to copy and paste (if you don’t do this Procreate will copy the entire layer)
  3. Hit copy and paste

Procreate will copy and paste your selection on a new layer.

3.How to move a selection in Procreate

how to move a selection in procreate
  1. Tap selection icon to select area (or don’t select anything which will move the entire layer)
  2. Tap the transform icon
  3. Move your selection/layer

4. How to feather a selection in Procreate

Feather your selection if you want to avoid harsh cut-offs.

how to feather a selection
  1. Tap the selection icon
  2. Select your area
  3. Hit feather > use the slider to increase the feather

5. How to mirror your drawing in Procreate

  1. Tap seleciton icon to make a selection (if not the entire layer will be mirrored)
  2. Hit either ‘’flip horizontal’’ or ‘’flip vertical’’ to mirror 

6. How to draw in symmetry in Procreate

Exellent for drawing frontal portraits!

how to use symmetry procreate
  1. Go to settings icon
  2. Go to Canvas
  3. Check Drawing guide
  4. Edit drawing guide
  5. Tap symmetry
  6. Place center line correctly. (Default the centerline will be in the center of your canvas).


With the option mode, you can change your symmetry into vertical, horizontal, quadrant, or radial.

7. Hit done

Note: Your current layer will now have symmetry. Every time you create a new layer you need to add ‘’Drawing Assist’’ or it won’t work.

7. How to fill with color in Procreate

There are 2 ways on how to fill an area with color:

how to fill color procreate

Drag color from color picker in Procreate

  1. Choose a color
  2. Drag color to area you want to be filled
How to color fill procreate

Colour fill in Procreate

  1. Tap the selection icon
  2. Choose color
  3. Choose selection method (Automatic, freehand, rectangle, elipse)
  4. Hit color fill
  5. Draw or tap selection

8. How to select multiple layers in Procreate

Select multiple layers to group them or delete them. Here’s how: 

How to select multiple layers in procreate
  1. Swipe the layers you want to select to the right.

9. How to blur background in Procreate

Have you ever heard of bokeh backgrounds? It’s when there are lights in the background, but they’re very blurry. Here’s how you get that effect:

  1. Select the layer you want to blur
  2. Tap the adjustments icon
  3. Tap ‘’gaussian blur’’
  4. Choose ‘’layer’’ to blur the entire layer or choose pencil to manually draw where you want the blur to be
  5. Swipe to the right on your canvas to increase the blur
  6. If you choose ”pencil” choose a brush (soft brush recommended) and draw where you want the effect to be
  7. Tap canvas and hit apply

Tip: set your layer to the ”add” blend mode if you go for bokeh lights!

10. How to change color in Procreate

Sometimes changing a certain color is what does the trick. Check out this Hue, Saturation and Value explained article to easily change your paintings components!

procreate how to change color
  1. Select what you want to change the color of
  2. Tap the adjustments icon
  3. Hit ‘’Hue, saturation, brightness’’
  4. Change the hue slider

11. How to use the clone tool in Procreate

The clone tool is used for a lot of different things. Think of expanding certain areas, or ”masking” imperfections. The tool samples pixels from a certain area and then applies them to wherever you paint.

procreate how to use clone tool
  1. Select the layer you want to clone (make a copy if necessary)
  2. Tap the adjustments icon
  3. Tap clone
  4. Drag the circle to the part you want to clone. This is the area that will be sampled
  5. Choose a brush and start painting. The sample area moves along with your movements.

12. How to color in lines in Procreate

Use ”reference” to keep your linework seperated from your colors. 

How to color in lines in procreate
  1. Select your linework layer
  2. Tap the layer to open up more options
  3. Hit reference
  4. Create a new layer for your colors and start dropping them in

Don’t forget to turn it off by hitting reference again! 

13. How to use a clipping mask in Procreate

Clipping masks are excellent for creating non-destructive workflows. I use them when I want to add color to something, but I don’t want to commit yet. By clipping the layer, it will only affect the pixels of the layer below.

How to use clipping mask in procreate
  1. Select the layer you want to clip
  2. Tap the layer to open more up more options
  3. Tap clipping mask

14. How to use the liquify tool in Procreate

What does the liquify tool in Procreate do?

Use the liquify tool to change the shape of your selection. This is the same tool that’s used in beauty apps to create those fake curves on influencers!

procreate how to use liquify tool
  1. Select your layer
  2. Tap the adjustments icon
  3. Go to liquify
  4. Start pushing around


Choose from a list of liquify modes to get a different result

15. How to import an image in Procreate

Tracing images is a really good exercise to get better at anatomy. There, I said it! Here’s how to import an image in Procreate:

procreate how to add image
  1. Go to the settings icon
  2. Go to add
  3.  Go to insert a photo 
  4. Choose an image from your album

Tip: if you swipe left you see ”private photo” 

16. How to add a reference image in Procreate

You can keep a reference by adding another application right next to your Procreate app. But sometimes you want your reference to be within Procreate. Here’s how you do it:

procreate how to add reference
  1. Go to the settings icon
  2. Go to canvas
  3. Tap the reference slider
  4. Choose image/canvas/face 


Will open up your image library from which you can choose 



Will show your canvas as you paint. This is excellent for looking at your canvas from a smaller view. Giving you an oversight of your painting



Here you can see your own face and draw on it! 

17. How to stack canvasses in Procreate

Stack your canvasses to keep an organised view in your gallery.

Simply hold and drag a canvas on top of another canvas to stack them.

18. How to unstack canvasses in Procreate

how to unstack procreate
  1. Go into a stack
  2. Hold and drag a canvas to ”Stack” in the top right corner
  3. Release in your gallery

To unstack multiple canvasses simply hit select and select a few canvasses and then resume as normal.

19. How to add text in procreate

how to add text procreate
  1. Select setting icon
  2. tap Add text
  3. Add your text
Transform you text by…


4. Hit transform button

5. Transform in whichever way you want



Note: After you transformed your text you cannot edit it anymore. This is because it has to be rasterized! 

20. How to import a font into procreate

Whenever I need a new font I always go to Here you can search 1000s of fonts in all kinds of categories. Just make sure you go for ”free for commercial use” if you want to make a profit with them. 

how to import font procreate
  1. Download a font or make sure you have your font in your files app
  2. Tap font
  3. Open in Procreate

21. How to change contrast in procreate (curves tool)

The best way to change contrast in Procreate is to use the curves tool. With this tool, you can individually increase or decrease your shadows, mid-tones and highlights!

procreate how to use curves tool
  1. Select the right layer or make a selection
  2. Go to the adjustments icon
  3. Tap curves
  4. Hit layer 
  5. Tap in the middle of the line to create a point.
  6. Drag each point up or down to play with the contrast of your image

The point on the left side represents your darks, the one you just created in the middle represents your mid-tones and the one on the right side represents your highlights. Drag each point up or down to increase or decrease its value.


When gamma is selected you only affect the values of your image.

Red, Green, Blue

When either red, green or blue is selected you change the amount of that color. I have written an article that explains how RGB works!

22. How to use a mask in Procreate

When to use masks?

Sometimes you want to erase something but you don’t want to get rid of it incase you might need it later. This is when you use masks!

procreate how to mask
  1. Select your layer
  2. Tap on your layer to bring up the options menu
  3. Hit mask
  4. Select the layer named ”Layer mask”

Right now the mask is white, which means it shows 100% of your layer. Black will hide everything.


5. Choose a brush

6. Make sure your color is set to black

7. Paint whatever you want to hide 


Note: Simply paint with white if you want to bring back what you hid. You can also tap the mask and hit ”invert”

23. How to merge layers in Procreate

procreate how to merge layers

Use two fingers to pinch your layers together. You can do this with as much layers as you want.

24. How to use Alpha lock in Procreate

What is alpha lock?

Alpha lock locks your current pixels. If you paint over a layer that has been set to alpha lock, you won’t be able to paint outside of those pixels. I use this when I paint a base layer for a face and then add texture to it. I don’t want the texture to show up outside the face. Instead of painstakingly masking the face, I simply hit alpha lock. 

procreate how to alpha lock
  1. Select your layer you want to alpha lock
  2. Tap the layer again
  3. Hit alpha lock

25. How to copy a procreate project

Avoid ruining your original canvas by copying it and start experimenting on this version instead. You can always go back to the original if it doesn’t work out!

procreate how to duplicate canvas
  1. Go to your gallery
  2. Swipe left on your canvas 
  3. Hit duplicate

BONUS: What is the difference between Merge down and Combine down in Procreate?

Merge down

Merge down is the merging of 2 layers into 1 layer. The layers are no longer separate and can be used as one regular layer. 


Combine down

Combining down is combining 2 layers into 1 group. The layers remain separate from each other unlike merging down.

There you have it! I hope you found some of your answers in this list. Follow me on Instagram or Pinterest if you’d like to see these tips (and more!) as videos.  



♡ Laura

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