Ink and Color in Procreate® for Illustrators | Sandra Bowers | Skillshare

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Sandra Bowers, Illustrator + Surface + Creature Design

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8 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies and Class Project

    • 3. Basic Techniques

    • 4. Initial Steps

    • 5. Inking the Outline

    • 6. Color Blocking

    • 7. Inking the Details

    • 8. Adding the Shadows

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About This Class

In this class I will show you how I create my ink and color illustrations in Procreate®, using my iPad Pro® and Appple Pencil®.  I´ll show you the brushes I use, the basic exercises that will help you get used to inking in Procreate®, and I´ll go through my process of setting up the document, creating the basic shapes and outlines, colouring it in, adding details and shading it. I will even share with you my trick to make the colors look cohesive. So join me and let´s start inking!

A basic knowledge of Procreate is desirable, if you have never used Procreate® before, reading it's User's Guide will solve any doubts you have (you can download it HERE)


All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of these trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by the respective companies. iPad Pro® and Apple Pencil® are a registered trademark of Apple Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Procreate® is a registered trademark of Savage Interactive Pty Ltd.


1. Introduction: Hello, welcome to my class Ink and Color in Procreate for Illustrators. In this class, I will show you how I created my ink and color illustrations in Procreate using my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I'll show you the brushes I use, the basic exercises that will help you get used to inking in Procreate, and I'll go to my process of setting up the document, creating the basic shapes and outlines, coloring it in, adding details, and shading it. I will leave and share with you my trick to make the colors look cohesive. So, join me and let's start inking. 2. Supplies and Class Project: For this class, you will need an iPad with Procreate. I'm using a 9.7 iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I have never tried these without our iPads or styluses. I'm sure it would work on any iPad with Procreate, but the precision of the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro is amazing. It allows me to make more precise lines. I will not be going to the basic functions in Procreate. So, I recommend you read the handbook available at savages' website. I'll attach the link at the note here at the bottom. I absolutely recommend their manual. It's so simple and it's explained perfectly. You can also take a basics of Procreate class here on Skillshare. For the class project, you can choose a letter or a basic shape to use in the middle of your illustration, so it looks like a monogram. But, you can use these techniques to create anything you want. So, feel free to create something different and make sure to have fun and share it in the project gallery. 3. Basic Techniques: Open any blank document for these practice exercises. First, I'll show you which brushes I use and how I organize them. Click on the brush icon and slide your finger down on the sets list of brushes to create a new set. Delete its names so you can rename it. Now attach the sketching set to access my favorite brush for inking, it's called the Narinder pencil. Swipe the brush name to the left and select duplicate. Now hold it and drag it to your new set. Sometimes when the set is the first one, it's hard to drag brushes into that one. So, I will hold and drag my brush set to another position. Now go to airbrushing and select the hard airbrush and swipe left to duplicate it and drag that one onto our set too. Go back to airbrushing and duplicate the soft airbrush and drag it into our set. These are the three brushes I use. Feel free to experiment with other ones to get different effects. Now click on the Narinder pencil and select the color by clicking on the circle on the top right hand and choose black. Select the brush icon. I'll show you different lines I use. You can practice these over and over until you feel you can control them. I don't believe they have to be perfect, you just need to feel like you have control over the tool. This is a basic cross hatching. Here you can practice starting from a point, and here starting on a certain online without going past it. Here, we're using dots to shade an area. This is cross hatching with lines in different angles. It's something very simple and it might look stupid but knowing that you can control your pencil in these exercises will give you more confidence to tackle the complete illustration and it will train your hand and knife for a better technique. Remember that if you need to make a straight line, you can draw a line but don't release at the end. Just wait a few moments and it will become perfectly straight. Now you can move it around without releasing to create different angles. Here, I have three closed circles. I'll show you how to color them. You can drag the color into each of them or you can choose a selection tool which is the S on the top, and make sure magnetic is selected on the bottom and touch each shape. If you're so mean and see a wide border between your selection on the line, you need to modify the selection threshold. This is a bit tricky at the beginning but then you'll get the hang of it, and usually you only have to do it once because it will remember your settings. To do this, double tap and the second time you tap, leave your finger pressed on the screen and slide to the left to reduce the percentage or to the right to increase it. Increasing it means there is less of a gap. If you run out of screen area to slide your finger, you can just release and go back and do it again and increase it a bit more. If you increase it too much, you'll see that the whole page will get selected so make sure you don't go all the way there. Now that you have them all selected, you can color the three shapes at once which will speed your workflow a lot. So touch the color circle and slide it to one of the selected areas. Don't release. Just slide your finger to the right so that the color drop threshold reaches 100 percent and release it. Now you can press the selection button again to deselect. 4. Initial Steps: Create a new document by hitting the plus sign and create custom size. You can select pixels centimeters, millimeters or inches. I like to create mine at 12 by 12 inches and 300 pixels per inch so it has a good resolution when I print it later. You can name these settings so you can use it the next time. I'm going to take a picture of my sketch now. You can also just sketch directly on Procreate. So, I go to the wrench symbol and in Image I choose "Take A Photo". Take the picture and choose "Use Photo". Press the arrow to the selected, and so also you can play around with the size easier. Choose the arrow again and make sure magnetic is selected on the bottom and pull from the corner to make it bigger and center it. Now, select "Layers" and touch the N, and select "Multiply" and reduce its opacity so we can still see it, but it's easier to trace. Add a new layer by pressing the plus sign and drag it underneath the sketched layer. Tap it once to rename it. I like to name my layers so everything is organized. Now, select "Layers" again and create another layer, rename it. I will create the anchor here. Remember that you can use any shape you want, you can use a letter too if you like monograms, and this will be a very nice gift or something very nice to place in your house. Go to the "Brushes" and select "Hard Airbrush", choose your color. Since I want mine to be white, I need to go to my background layer and make it a different color. I'll make it gray for now. Check that you're on the anchor layer again and start drawing. To make a straight line here, remember to keep your pencil on the screen until it becomes straight. Change the brush size to create the rest of the details and shapes. If it's hard for you to get a consistent line, you can adjust the brush. Go to the Brushes panel, select the Hard Airbrush, and where it says StreamLine, move the slider to the right. See, that looks so much better. You can use the eraser to perfect your shapes also. I don't make them too perfect because I don't want it to look like a perfect vector, I want it to look up been more hand-drawn. I think this adds personality. If it doesn't look good on your first try, delete it and try again. I like to constantly zoom in and out to see how it looks from faraway and from up close. You can also streamline the erasers so you get less wiggly lines. So, select the eraser and press the "Hard Airbrush" and move the StreamLine far to the right. I'll just add a bit more details until I'm happy with it. 5. Inking the Outline: Now, it's time to create the outlines. So go to the Layers panel, select the Ink layer, select the Narinder Pencil brush and choose black or the color you prefer. Let's touch the Narinder brush to edit it to increase the streamline. Go to Layers and direct the Ink layer on top of the anchor one. If you mess up a line, you can erase it all by undoing it or just erase the mistake with an eraser. At this point, it doesn't matter if some lines overlap the anchor because I'll erase whatever shouldn't be there. Rotating the canvas will make it easier for you to draw certain curves and lines. So, I'm constantly doing this. I also keep zooming in and out because that way, it's easier to see how it looks as a whole and know what areas to erase and if it's looking okay. Now, I'll start with a fish. As often as possible, try to close the shapes of your drawing because that will make it easier to color later. Don't worry if it overlaps your white shape, we'll fix that later. I didn't like this shape, so I'll erase it and redraw it. If we're drawing his eye, I'll erase the rope lines that are overlapping. I don't follow my sketch exactly because I like making decisions on the spot as to what looks better, but you can also make your sketch as polished as you wish and follow it exactly. You can even draw without a sketch. Just have fun with it. If adding little details is a chore for you, this is not the style of art you should be creating. If it's hard for you to sketch flowers or leaves, you can take your own pictures and trace over them. I prefer a more graphic look for my art, but you can make it as realistic as you want or even more abstract and stylized. I will erase some overlapping lines again. This area needs to be filled, so I'll create more algae. It's good to have variations, some things should go under the anchor and some on top of it, and that way. It looks more interesting. 6. Color Blocking: The color coated the layers and create a new layer. Drag it so it's under the ink layer and rename it. We'll create one layer per color. If you were to drop the color on it like this the whole page will be filled. So we need to go to the ink layer, touch it, and select reference. Now, if you go to the fish layer and drop the color inside it will only color that shape. Sometimes you'll see that the color overflows in an area that is close, it's because a Narinder pencils keep sometimes. It's like a real technical pen or pencil. To solve that, go to the layers, select the Ink one and slide to the left, and choose duplicate and pinch the letters so they merge, and do it again. Now, if you go to the fish layer and color that it works fine. It would take too long to color unique shape like that. So select the select tool. Make sure that automatic in the bottom of your screen is selected and tap inside the fish once. There are no gaps between the line and the selection because remember we adjusted the threshold in the practice exercises. If so, you will remember your settings. So now, it can go on without adjusting it at every area that is going to be colored yellow. Drag the color into a selected area and keep your finger pressed as you slide to the right. So every fish is colored and then release. Touch the selection tool again to deselect. Create a new layer and rename it. This one is for the flowers. Make sure you don't select areas that aren't close. If you do, just undo. Zoom in to each area to make it easier to select. Go to the color circle and select another color not filling the shapes. We will use a hard airbrush to color in the areas that are left uncolored. Be sure to resize your brush to make it easier to color in little areas and faster to color big areas. Create a new layer for another color and select the list shapes that will be that color. In these areas that are too small, zoom in a lot so you can select more precisely. Select a new color and drag it in to the selection. Remember to keep press and slide to the right ao all the shapes get colored. Use the brush to fill in the areas that are missing. If you forgot an area just go back to the layer. Select what you want to color and drag the color into it. Let's create another layer for the algae. We will do the same thing for every color. At first it takes a bit to get used to but after you do it several times, you'll find it super easy to do. If you had a lot of open areas you'd have to color a lot individually and it takes a very long time. So this is an easier way to do it. Now, let's make a new layer for the rope. Since it's all open shapes, let's color it in with the brush. To erase the overlapping areas on the anchor, you can go to the anchor layer, touch it, press select and then go to the layer you want to erase parts of. I do it carefully to not go too much over the border because then it will make a little gap. Can you see it there? I'll choose other layers and erase the overlapping areas up all of them, including the ink layer. Check every area and every color until everything looks okay, and deselect the anchor by pressing the select button on the top. I need to make a new layer for the white part of the fish eyes. So I'll drag it underneath the fish and just drag some color into each of them. 7. Inking the Details: Create a new layer on top of the ink layer, rename it, choose an Narinder Pencil brush and select black. I'll show you how I make different types of fills and details. By varying the size of the brush you can create different effects. Create your own way to add details so the artwork you create is unique to you. Don't copy my illustration and create something that appeals to you and that looks like you did not like I did. Changing the size of the brush constantly will make it look more hand-drawn and make it interesting. You can fill every shape with whatever you want, dots, lines, circles, hearts, just be creative. You can add as much detail as you want and you can leave some areas without details, too, if that's what you prefer. Be inspired by nature, animals, plants, rocks, you can find amazing patterns on them and then you can apply them to your work. I'm adding details to each type of object that I have in my illustration so you can see how I do it. Then, I'll show you a time lapse of filling everything else out because this process takes a very long time and you get the idea of how I do each thing. There is no wrong way of doing this so don't even think about it, just have fun filling it in. This is my favorite part of the process because I got lost in tiny details and forget everything around me. Vary your lines, not only in waves but also in shape. The more you experiment, the easier you'll find your own style and what do you like and looks good with your art. Now, I'll speed this up because it's basically just filling out every shape the way I just showed you. This method of creating the outlines first is great because you're creating the details on a new layer so there is no way you can ruin your base drawing. You can always erase that layer and start over or you can even experiment in different layers to see what you like the most. If you're just starting drawing, you can start with just one leaf and then a leaf and flower and that way you can start building up your confidence. 8. Adding the Shadows: You can keep your illustration like this or you can add shadows. Let's make the background black first. Open the Layers Panel, touch the background layer and pick your color. Now, select the brushes, Soft Air Brush and reduce the opacity. Go to the Layers and swipe right on each color layer. This is called an Alpha Lock. What this does is that now it will only paint on what's already colored so it's super easy to shape this way and you don't have to be thinking of going outside the lines. We'll do the Algae now. So, what I do is I pick the color of the Algae and then pick a darker shade for the shadows. Play around with the brush size and opacity to get the look you want. Now, you can choose a lighter color to add the highlights. You can even pick a different shade to add interesting color changes. Now let's do the same with the flowers. Choose the flowers layer and start with a brighter coral and add it to the shadow areas of the petals. You can use this soft brush for shadows that are blended, but you can also use the hard airbrush to create more graphic shadows. Something like this. I'll go back to the soft brush now. You can also add darker shadows by varying your colors and the opacity of the brush. Let's give the flowers very light pink highlights. Now I will do exactly the same thing with each color. I think getting a bit of this light turquoise to the leaves will make them more interesting. Now I'm very excited to paint the fish because that's when it will all come together. I will add oranges for shadows and light yellow for highlights and that will make them stand out. Okay, so on to the top fish's tail and now the last fish. Finally, I'll paint the rope. This is almost done. I think mine needs something interesting in the background. You can choose to do this or not. I'll just add a new layer and drag it down beneath the anchor. Rename it, and use this brush in the water set called Mad Splashes and use a dark blue paint it. That's too dark, so I reduce the opacity. Now I choose that layer, press on the N and choose Lighten in the bottom and then Lighten in that menu and reduce the opacity until it looks right. I can only have 11 layers on this document, so I'll erase this sketch. Now I will add a new layer on top, rename it, and choose a light green color and the Hard Airbrush to add highlights to the fish's eyes and some details here and there like the scales of the fish and some dots on these flowers. Now at some point I'm going to show you what I do to make all the color fit together nicely and live more cohesive. I can pick any layer, so I'm merging it into an ink details layer by pinching them together and create a new one on top. Choose a light yellow color and touch the ink layer and uncheck reference by touching it. Now go to my new top layer and drop the color in it. I go to the layer, touch the N, select multiply and reduce the opacity until I think it looks okay. Now everything looks like it belongs together. That's how I create consistent color pallets every time and we're done. Now, you can select the tool that looks like a wrench. Choose share and select the type of file you want to export. This somehow choose JPEG and save it to the iPad. I can also send it in Photoshop and it will keep its layers so I can keep editing in Photoshop. I hope you enjoy this class and have fun creating your project. Remember to check out my other Skillshare classes and follow me at Sandra Bowers Art. Bye