iPad Artistry: Quirky Animal Portraits - with custom Procreate brushes | Genevieve Crabe | Skillshare

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iPad Artistry: Quirky Animal Portraits - with custom Procreate brushes

teacher avatar Genevieve Crabe, Artist and Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1 - Reference Photos

    • 3. Lesson 2 - Brushes and Colour Palette

    • 4. Lesson 3 - Dog Portrait part 1

    • 5. Lesson 4 - Dog Portrait part 2

    • 6. Lesson 5 - Another Dog Portrait

    • 7. Lesson 6 - Cat Portrait

    • 8. Lesson 7 - Giraffe Portrait

    • 9. Project

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About This Class

Greetings and welcome to my class!

After my last class, Quirky Faces, people encouraged me to try to try animal faces. I was having so much fun I had to make a class.

In the class, I will be creating four portraits from start to finish, showing you how I start with a photo, create a line drawing, and then add colour and texture. The class includes an expanded set of eye stamp brushes.



  • iPad
  • Procreate app
  • stylus optional

Downloadable Resources (under the Project tab)

  • GC-Animals-Class brush set
  • GC-Eyes brush set
  • GC-Animal-Faces colour palette


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Genevieve Crabe

Artist and Teacher


Hello, I'm Genevieve and I live in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. I am retired from a 30-year career in high-tech, and I am now a full-time artist. My interests include digital art, mixed media, and bead embroidery. I am also a Certified Zentangle® Teacher.

I am the author of How to Make 100 Bead Embroidery Motifs, and several colouring books including Genevieve's Mandalas and Magical Mosaics Flora and Fauna, as well as designer of a mandala creation tool, Geneviève's Mandala Stencils. My books and products can be found in the shop on my website.

My artwork has been featured in several books, including One Zentangle a Day, 500 Tangled Artworks, The Beauty of Zentangle, Zentangle Untangled, Tangle Start Strings, Das große Zentangle-Buch, and several b... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi everyone. Welcome to my class. After my quirky faces class, some people suggested, I tried to create animal faces in a similar style. I experimented with dogs and cats. And soon I moved on to all sorts of animals. In this class, I'll show you step-by-step how to start with a photo of an animal face and turn it into a cool portrait like these. If you click the About tab below the video, you'll find a detailed description of the class and other useful information and links. Under the project tab, you'll find the downloadable resources. This is an example from one of my earlier classes. The downloadable files are found on the right-hand side of this page. You must be accessing this page from a web browser, not the Skillshare app. Here I'm using the Chrome browser on iPad. When you tap a brush set, go to the bottom of the page and tap download. You'll see the download progress here. When it's done. Tap Open in, then tap Procreate. Procreate will open automatically and import the brush set. If I open the Canvas, the new brush set is at the top. I'll delete this one because I already have this set installed. Downloading the color palette works similarly. You will need an iPad running the version of iOS needed to run the current version of Procreate. An Apple pencil or other stylus is not necessary, but it can be helpful especially for detailed work. Everything in this class is done in the Procreate app. The videos were made with procreate version 5.1.5 with iPadOS 14 point for point to. Some basic knowledge of Procreate is assumed. But I'll go through all the process in detail. In Lesson 1. I'll show you how to look for and download reference photos on Pixabay. In Lesson 2, we'll look at the brushes and other resources included with the class. Less than three is the first step in creating a dog portrait. The line drawing. In lesson 4, we'll add color and textures. In lessons 567. I'll show you three more portraits. A second dog, a cat, and a giraffe. Before I continue, I want to show you a couple of resources available on my website. You'll find the links under the About tab. These are my Pinterest boards. I have several inspiration boards related to my classes. This is the phases inspiration board where you will find ideas for both human and animal feaces. Now this is my website. I'm a realist creations.com. Under freebies, you can find my procreate brushes. Each set has its own page with the download link for the brush set, a PDF with the preview of all the brushes in this set, and a preview video. All right, then Let's get started. 2. Lesson 1 - Reference Photos: This is Pixabay, the website I use to get the royalty-free photos I'll be using. I'm entering dog face in the search box. I'm looking for a face that is directly facing the camera. Here's a good example. We don't need to get the biggest size. Click view. Then tap and hold on the photo to get this menu and tap Save Image to save it to your photos. Pixabay has a feature called collections. You can tap here to create a collections and save the photo. This allows you to have all these photos available without cluttering your photo albums. This is my animals collection or I save good candidates for my animal portraits. Another kind of photo I find useful is paper textures. We'll be using one of these later. Under the Project tab on the Skillshare website, you'll find direct links to all the photos I'm using in this class. 3. Lesson 2 - Brushes and Colour Palette: This class includes two custom brush sets and the color palette. The first brush set is a collection of useful brushes that I always use when doing my portraits. The monoline thick brush is a copy of the Procreate mono line brush where I increased the maximum size so you can paint thicker strokes. I don't normally do a pencil sketch first, but if you prefer to do that, I've included a copy of the Procreate 6 B pencil, also with increased size. The monoline eraser is a copy of the monoline thick brush with the streamline function turned off to make it easier for erasing. The circles. Brush is for either stamping a single circle or painting a line of them. The graduated circles brush paints a string of circles where you can change the size as you go with pressure on the Apple pencil. These are four of my texture brushes. The one with the C after the name have color variation. And these are three of my favorite Procreate texture brushes that we'll be using. I'm working on a collection of free flower stamp brushes. And these are three examples from that set. If you've taken my quirky faces class, you've seen some of my ice stamps. I've expanded this set to include 56 different eyes. I'm also sharing this color palette that contains a selection of bright colors, each in three different shades. 4. Lesson 3 - Dog Portrait part 1: Here's a little tour of all the portraits I've done so far. You'll recognize some of the faces I showed in my previous class. And here are my new animal portraits at various stages of development. Now let's start our first portrait. I'll create a new square canvas, 3600 by 3600 pixels. If I look under Canvas, canvas information layers, I see that I can have up to 37 layers. This number will likely be different for you because it depends on how much memory your iPad has. You will need up to maybe 20 layers for our portraits. So if you don't have enough, you'll have to create a smaller canvas. Now let's import our photo reference. Go to Recent Photos. If that's where you saved your photos. And I'll choose this one for our first portrait. I need to make this bigger to fill the canvas and rotate it so the face is straight. Now go into actions. Canvas. Turn on drawing, guide, tap, edit, drawing guide, tap symmetry, and vertical. This guide shows you where the symmetry is applauded. I'm increasing the opacity and thickness of the guide. And at the top, I choose a bright color to make the guide more visible. Tap Done. Now we need to select the photo with the transform tool and drag it so that the center of the photo lines up with the guide. This doesn't have to be perfect and it'll still work if the face, is that a little bit of an angle to the camera? Now I'm going to lower the opacity of the photo so that we can see our drawing better. I'll add a new layer and set it to Drawing Assist. I have black selected and I'll choose the monoline thick brush. I'm adjusting the size and testing it until I get the size I like. First, I draw the upper part of the head. Then I draw a line around the eyes and down and around the nose. I don't necessarily follow the features exactly. I use them as a guide. I'll enlarge the ears a bit and then switch to the eraser to erase the extra bits where the lines join. I'll add the mouth and the nose. The nostrils in black and fill the rest with dark gray. Keep in mind that you don't have to follow the photo exactly. You can exaggerate some of the features, make some of them bigger or smaller to get a look that you want. If I hide the photo layer, you can see what we have so far. Now the eyes. Let's try this one. I'll add them on a separate layer so that I can experiment. One thing I want to point out with this guy which is drawn at an angle because of the symmetry setting, the eye is mirrored on the other side. So if I tap here, I get one expression in the eyes. Undo with a two finger tap. And if I tap here, I get a different one because the eyes our angle the other way. So I'll adjust the size. You may need to do this several times till you get it just right and tap to set the eyes. Now set the color to white. Choose the circle brush. Set it to a small size, and tap a small highlight on the eye. Merge the eyes layer with the rest of the drawing. Now, there's a tool you can use to make modifications to the drawing. Under the adjustments menu, choose, Liquify, select push, and set the parameters. As you see here. You can move the outlines and modify them a bit with this tool. And now we're drawing is finished. 5. Lesson 4 - Dog Portrait part 2: Now we're going to add color and texture. I'm just going to move the drawing down a bit because I'll need more room at the top later on. Set the drawing layer to reference so that we can use color drop. On other layers. I'm adding several layers below the drawing layer and hiding the white background so we can see the next step. Set the color to white and use color drop to fill the center of the face. Color drop respects the boundaries in the reference layer. Switch to another layer and fill the rest of the face. Switch to another layer and fill the ears. On another layer, fill the background of the eyes. This way we have separate layers that we can color separately. Go to the layer with the center of the face, add a layer above it and set it to clipping mask so that what we paint here will be clipped to the layer below. If we change our mind, it's easy to erase the clipping mask layer and start over. Choose purple. The 14 see texture, brush, and paint. Clipping masks are the most flexible approach to coloring all the sections separately. But if you don't have a lot of memory for layers, you can set this layer to alpha lock. Choose a darker purple and paint. I'm going to go back to clipping masks for the other layers. Because this is more flexible. We'll do the ears next using a dark pink color. Now this is a little lighter than I wanted. So choose a darker pink and paint again. Now I'm going back to purple. Adding a clipping mask layer for the eyes to the mono line brush and paint. At this point, you can turn off reference on the drawing layer. In the next step, we're going to add a drop shadow to the line drawing. Duplicate the drawing layer. Select the lower layer and nudge it to the lower right by tapping here a few times. Go to the Adjustments menu, choose Gaussian Blur layer, and move your finger left to right until this reads around 10 percent or so. If I hide and show the shadow layer, you can see the difference it makes. If you want to intensify the shadow, you can duplicate the layer and then adjust the opacity of one of them until you get exactly the intensity you want. Now let's add a background. Add a new layer at the very bottom. Choose turquoise. The number 14, texture, brush, and paint. Now for a finishing touch, add a new layer at the top. Choose one of the flower stamps, set the color to black and tap to add the flour. Undo and adjust the size if necessary. Now the flower shows up at a random angle, so you can select the layer to move or rotate it so that it's exactly the way you want it. Use color drop to add color to the petals and the center. Now let's add a drop shadow. Duplicate the flower layer and fill the lower one with black. Nudge it to the lower right. Apply Gaussian blur around 10 percent. Now as a final step, let's add a paper texture to the flower. I'm importing a paper texture photo from Pixabay. You'll find a link to this photo under the Project tab. Move the texture over the flower and reduce the size a bit. To apply the texture to the flower, set the layer to clipping mask, and change the blend mode to multiply. And here's our first portrait finished. 6. Lesson 5 - Another Dog Portrait: Let's do another dog portrait. Import this photo, resize and rotate and turn on symmetry just like we did before. And just the photo, according to the Drawing Guide. Add a new layer above and lower the opacity of the photo. Select the monoline brush and set the color to black. Turn on drawing assist. There are various ways you could draw the shape. I'm making the jaw a little narrower than on the photo. Switch to the eraser and go around and fix the intersection points if necessary. Now 2s the eyes and stamp them on. Undo and adjust the size and position until you're happy. Hide the photo. And here's our drawing. Set the color to white. 2's the circles brush, and add a highlight to the eyes. Set the drawing layer to reference, and add some new layers below the drawing. Turn off the background. And fill the parts of the face with white on separate layers. Oops, I almost forgot them out. Now turn the background back on. And I just realized I forgot the nose earlier. So go back to the drawing layer and fill the nose with dark gray. Add one more layer for the eyes. And add a layer above each of the white layers and set them all to clipping mask. Go to the layer above the center of the face. Choose the rusted decay brush and a light blue color and paint. You can add a bit of white to soften the texture if you wish. To use the layer above the ears. And paint that with the same blue color. Change the color to dark blue and paint the rest of the face. That's a little too dark, so I'll undo that. Lighten the color and pain. I'm going to paint the edges of the ears with the same color. For the large eyelids. I'm going back to the lighter blue. And I'm going to use a solid green for the eyes with the monoline brush. Now the drop shadow. Duplicate the drawing layer. Select the lower one of the two layers, and apply a Gaussian blur around 10 percent. Let's move on to the background. With a layer at the bottom. Choose a darker red color and paint with the same rusted decay brush. This is a little dark, so I'm going to add a lighter red. Go back and forth between the two shades until you're happy. Finally, let's add a flower and flowers stamp. Stamp the flower and fill the petals with color drop. I'm going to use the circle brush at a very small size to add black and white dots in the center. Add a drop shadow to the flower. Duplicate the flower layer and fill the lower one with black. Nudge it to the lower right, and apply a Gaussian blur around 10 percent of the paper texture, just like we did before. And here's a trick to deepen the texture. Just duplicate the texture layer. And here's our second dog portrait. 7. Lesson 6 - Cat Portrait: This time we're going to do a cat portrait. Important the cat photo resize and position. Turn on symmetry like before. And just the photo in the center. Draw the outlines of the face, nose, and ears. Just for fun. I'm exaggerating some of the features. And the eyes and the little white highlight. Now I'm using Liquify to change the face just a little. Add layers for the different parts of the face. Said the drawing layer to reference. And fill each one with white. Including the separate parts of the eyes. Add a clipping mask for each one. The kirwan brush, an orange color and paint the face. With a lighter color. Paint the center. And paint the ears with a darker color. For the eyes. Go back to the mono line brush and paint with three shades of turquoise. For the background, I'll choose a purple color and texture brush. I'll add a layer below and fill it with black. Next, add the drop shadow by duplicating the drawing. Nudge it to the lower right, and add the Gaussian blur. And of course, you know how this goes. Now we add a flower. Here's our finished cat portrait. 8. Lesson 7 - Giraffe Portrait: Let's do a giraffe portrait. Import the photo, resize and position. Turn on symmetry and adjust the photo in the center. In this case, I'm going to start with the eyes and then draw the outlines of the face, nose, and ears. Now that I'm done, I'm not quite happy with this, so I'm going to create a new drawing. I lower the opacity of this drawing to use it as a guide so I can focus on what I want to change. Yeah, I like this one better. Have the highlight to the eyes. Add layers for the parts of the face. Set the drawing layer to reference. And failing to one with white. Add a clipping mask layer for each one. Now let's choose the dove lake brush. An orange color, and paint the center of the face. And with the darker shade, paint the rest of the face. Paint the eyes blue with the monoline brush. Now I'm adding a new layer above the face and it's clipping mask. I choose one of the flower brushes and this light color, I stamp a few flowers overlapping the face. Now you see I'm trying to use color drop to fill the petals, but it's not working. That's because I forgot to turn off reference on the drawing layer. As long as references turned on somewhere, color drop will work according to that reference layer. So I'll turn off reference. Now use color drop to fill all the sections of the flowers. And I'll fill the centers with red. Now set the flower layer to clipping mask. In case you didn't know, you can have more than one clipping mask layer for the same layer that can be really useful. Sometimes. Try different blend modes and play with the opacity until you like the look. Next, add the drop shadow by duplicating the drawing. Nudge it to the lower right, and add Gaussian blur. For the background, I'll choose a turquoise color and the number 3 texture brush. And here is our finished giraffe. 9. Project: For your project, I would like you to create one animal portrait using either a photo of your own pet or someone else's, or a photo from Pixabay. Here are a few more of mine to give you some ideas. With this one, I use the graduated circle brush to add some decoration. If you'd like to doodle or if you're a Zen tangle artist, you can add more shapes and patterns. One cool thing I've found is even using the same photo, you can get different results. For example, here on the left are the four portraits I did in the class. On the right are the practice ones I did beforehand, using the same photos. Remember the downloadable files under the Project tab, the toothbrush sets, and the color palette. And you'll also find links to useful resources including my free brushes. And for those of you who have a print on-demand stores, these kinds of designs can make cool merchandise. Here are some of mine. I didn't want to include the backgrounds. So in Procreate, I hit the background layers and exported in PNG format, which preserves the transparency. If you haven't already, you might be interested in my quirky faces class and also my texture and pattern classes. Even my coloring class has some techniques that you can use here. Thank you so much for watching my class and please share your work in the project section. I would really love to see your portraits. I would appreciate it if you would leave a review and make sure to follow me so you'll be notified when I post a new class. I also post to my followers when I release a new free brush set. If you have any questions, please post them in the discussion area below the video on Skillshare. Thank you.