iPad Art: Create a Monster - An Introduction to Procreate | Nic Squirrell | Skillshare

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iPad Art: Create a Monster - An Introduction to Procreate

teacher avatar Nic Squirrell, Artist and illustrator

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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

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      A Fun Way of Picking Colours


    • 3.

      Set up your Document and Palette


    • 4.

      Designing & Sketching your Monster


    • 5.

      Start to Paint your Monster


    • 6.

      Add Colour and Texture


    • 7.

      Exporting the Finished Art


    • 8.

      More Monsters and Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join me in making a cute and quirky monster using the Procreate app on your iPad.  

In this class you'll be taken step by step through my process from initial sketches to finished art.

I will show you how I come up with a colour palette, things to think of when designing the character, how to use the Procreate app to sketch, draw and paint the monster, and how to export the finished art ready to use on products.

You will end up with a fabulous monster in your own style.

This class is suitable for everyone from experienced artists to creative doodlers.  No previous experience with Procreate is needed. 

Don’t forget to follow me to be kept up to date with my new classes.

Let's unleash some monsters!  Mwahahahaha...

(No monsters were harmed in the making of these videos)

Do feel free to share your work on social media with the hashtag #nicsquirrellskillshare. I do share some of them in my Instagram Stories.

Nice reviews are always very welcome, your feedback makes a difference and means a lot to me.   :)

You might also enjoy these classes to expand your knowledge of Procreate:

Develop a Daily Sketchbook Habit: 10 Days of Birds in Procreate

Procreate Sketchbook Fun - 10 Days of Butterflies, Bugs and Beasties

iPad Art: Create Line Art and Coloring Pages in Procreate

iPad art: Using Textures in Procreate

iPad Art: Making and Using Watercolor Brushes in Procreate

iPad Art: Make Fun GIFs in Procreate

iPad Art: Paint Semi-Abstract Landscapes in Procreate

Meet Your Teacher

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Nic Squirrell

Artist and illustrator

Top Teacher


I am an artist and designer of fun things living in Kent, England.

I studied Creative Visual Art and 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and loved every minute of it.

My illustrations are on many products from prints to suitcases and everything in between.

I love drawing and painting on my iPad as well as using traditional media, particularly watercolour.

If anything stays still long enough, I will draw on it.

Quirky animals, dreamy landscapes and watercolor florals are my speciality.

Follow me below to see what else I'm up to!


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Level: Beginner

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1. Class Introduction: Hello, I'm Nick. I'm an artist, and I have illustrated all sorts of things from prints, to t-shirts, cards, bedding, suitcases, and many more. It's important for me to be able to create art anywhere, so my favorite art material is my iPad. Join me and I'll show you how I use it. In this class, we'll be using the Procreate app on the iPad to design and paint a cute and quirky monster character. I'll take you step-by-step through my process from initial sketches to finished art. I'll show you how I come up with the color palette, things to think of when designing the character, how I use the Procreate app to sketch, draw, and paint the monster, and how to export the finished art ready-to-use on products. So let's get started. 2. A Fun Way of Picking Colours: A really fun way of making a color palette is to go around your house and pick out five or six things whose colors look good together and you think would make a good palette for your monsters. So this is the sleeve of my favorite cardigan. This green tin which belongs to my daughter, thanks Em, which is a lovely color green and pretty red bits too. Have a cheaper paint, still nice blue. My favorite color teal, which I pretty much put in everything, if I get the chance. I've got an orangey red leather ring. This piece of wool, which is a great neutral brownie, purple color. So I think I like the look of that pallete and I take a photograph of it using my iPad and we'll bring that in to Procreate. You can also upload this to your project gallery as it's your first deliverable. 3. Set up your Document and Palette: In this video, we're going to set up our documents and may come once to color palette. There are a few things in Procreate 5, which shall look a little bit different. Where it makes a lot of difference, I've re-recorded, otherwise I've just popped in little screenshots, so I think it should be fairly easy to follow along. Let's start by opening Procreate. At the top right hand corner there is a plus, so tap on that, and you'll get this little drop-down menu with various different presets. If you tap on this little icon up here, you'll come to this screen where you can create your own custom sized canvas. Depending on what iPad model you have, you have different possibilities with this. I'm going to work at 7000 pixels square because I can, and I always work at 300 DPI in order to keep the quality high, and then there are some other canvas options over on the left-hand side, which is worth having a look at and exploring. I'm Just going to leave minus standard for now. When you're happy with that, press "Create". Let's bring in our picture. At the top here there's a little wrench or spanner, which is the Settings menu. You've got so many options here. Most of mine, I've left on standard, apart from in the preferences, I've chosen the light interface just because I think that'll be easier for you to see what I'm doing. I'm going to introduce Add on the top-left and insert a photo, and there it is. The moment it's selected I'm going to make it bigger just to make things easier by dragging these corners. I've chosen uniform rather than free form so that the photo stays in the same aspect ratio, although it doesn't really matter in this case. Then when I'm happy with it, press the arrow to deselect. Top-right, there's little colored circle. If you tap on it, it'll bring up your color palettes, and along the bottom here are all the various different ways you can make your colors for your color palettes. First is the colored disk, and you can just move the sliders around the outer ring, and in the middle to get the color that you're after. Then we've got the classic color picker. Again, you can just move around until you find the right color. You can move these sliders as well, so you get something that you like. Next along is harmony, so it picks out a harmonious color combination for you and give another slider, and then you can put in your own values, if you know the value you want, or you can just play around with it until you get something you like. It's got a little place to put your hex code as well if you know the color that you want. If you tap on the plus, up on the top right, you'll get to new palette. You can tap on the name where it says Untitled and give it whatever name you like, and you can press the Default button to choose which of your pallets you want to be the standard one. The way I'm going to add the colors in this class, is by using my finger and tapping and holding on the photo, and we get this little circle come up. The top part of the circle is the new color that you're picking. The bottom part is the old color, and there's a tiny little cross in the middle, which is the exact point that it's picking the colors from. If you look at the little color circle on the top right, you'll see that it's changed now to the new color. I can now tap on an empty square and my color palette, and it's going to pop my color in there. If I don't like it, I can tap and hold on that, and it comes up with delete. You can also drag and drop to move these colors around within your palette. I'm going to do a lighter and darker version of each of these colors, and again, you can do this on the wheel by moving it around like this. That's the slightly lighter version, or you can do it on back on your fetch bar. So I'm going to do that with, you don't need too many colors, maybe five or six would be absolutely fine. Now I've got my colors, I got a really dark one, and a really light one. Originally, I recorded this using the old procreate so there is a little bit of a continuity issue with some of these pallets, so please forgive me. We've got a great palette to work from and now it's time to design our monster. 4. Designing & Sketching your Monster: I think this is a good moment to have a little look around at most of the settings we're going to be using in this class. There's a copy of this in the project section, so, you can refer back to it if you want to. At the top we have got as well as the settings, we've looked at, the select and the transform. Then on the top right, there's the brush library, the smudge, the erases, and the layers. Then we've got [inaudible] on the left-hand side, the brush size and opacity. Below that we've got the undo and redo, and you can also do this with gestures by a two finger tap to undo and the three finger tap to redo. If you do a three finger swipe down, you get the cut, copy, and paste menu. Now we're going to get rid of our original color palette photo. Up here on the top right, there's a little icon that looks like two squares, which is the layers palette. Tap on the plus to add a new layer, and I can just tap on my original photo layer, slide it to the left, and choose Delete. You could do your sketching on paper and then take a photo of it and bring it in the same way as we did the picture for the color palette. I like to sketch straight into the app. You can tap on the highlighted layer and you can rename it if you want to. Click on the Brush icon at the top and choose a penciled sketch with, I'm choosing that the 6B pencil out in the sketching section. I can just catch my monster to in red, because that way it'll show up with right choose to make a light or a dark monster. Start by sketching out a few different shapes. I don't know at the moment quite what my monster is going to look like, maybe tall and thin, maybe short and fat, maybe somewhere in between, maybe sideways on, maybe frontal. It's a good idea to try lots of different things because, who knows what may emerge. So I've got quite a few body shapes there. I'm going to work in layers, so, it makes it easier if I decide to use bits of one monster and bits of another monster. I can mix and match if I want to. Let's make a new layer and start drawing the eyes. You might want your monster to have a separate head, maybe, or maybe not, probably not for me. So let's draw some eyes, maybe eyes on stalks, maybe my monster will have froggy eyes, I'll try some that are wide apart, and then some that are really close together, not sure about that one, but we'll see, and then I guess I need to do some normalize. This one definitely looks froggy eyes to me. So it's really important not to copy the monsters, but to just do what you find fun so that they're uniquely yours. There's the wrong way of making monster, and of course still turn out a lot more fun that way. Okay. Let's have a new layer for the arms, and legs, or paws, or tentacles, or whatever they're going to have. Let's try some different arms and legs. Maybe we'll put some monstery, scary positions. This one's going to look a little bit fed up, maybe a bit bossy. This one's cute. This one is maybe a little bit creepy. It doesn't matter if you draw over the top of the other ones. You don't have to be perfect at all. Let's do some legs, monstery feet, a little stumpy legs, quite spiky legs, big elephants feet. Now time for the mouth and the details, and you can put things in the same layers as long as they're far apart. Let's try out some teeth, and bring some [inaudible] , tongue sticking out, so many choices. Just have a play, have fun, you really can't go wrong. So let's put in one more layer and put some details in, maybe some horns, and some, I don't know what they are, prongy things, maybe some ears, this one definitely needs something. I think you need some naughty looking ass. Some of them might have tails, I think this one looks like he would to have a magnificent tail, maybe a curly picky tail for this one. So you can just add whatever accessories you can imagine. You could maybe perhaps on them, or maybe they're carrying a flower, or maybe something else. So let's say I'm not a 100 percent happy with my monster, and I want to maybe take these eyes and race knock a bit or put one stalks, so, I'm going to go to the layer with the eyes on, and you can tell by turning it on and off to check it. Found it, so, I'm going to tap on the eye, so it goes blue. On the top bar here there's a squiggle, which is the selection tool, so, I'm going to tap on that. I'm going to choose a freehand selection and to draw a circle around the eye, so that I want to move, and at the top, I'm going to tap on the arrow, which is the transform tool, and then I'll just tap on the eyes and drag them up a bit so that I'll be able to put one stalks, and press the arrow again to deselect. So I'm just going to draw in those stalks, and using these methods, you can combine bits of one monster with bits of another monster until you get the perfect combination. Before we go any further, take it quick screenshots of your monsters sketches so that you can up into your project, and next we're going to start painting our monsters. 5. Start to Paint your Monster: So now we're ready to paint our monsters. We're just going to start by drawing in the main shapes. So choose which ones that you want to start with. I'm going to start with this cheeky little chap here, down here. He's got a bit of a naughty look about him. Get to your layers palette and choose the top layer. If you tap on that layer, it comes up with various choices and it does look slightly different in Procreate 5, but it doesn't matter. We're going to choose merge down and then we're going to keep doing that until we are left with just one layer. I'm going to tap on the transform arrow at the top, and it's going to select the whole page. I'm going to use the [inaudible] movement to zoom in on this little chap here and then tap on the arrow again when I'm ready to deselect. When you're not in transform merge, you can use two-finger pinch to zoom and rotate the canvas as well. We're going to work in layers to paint our monster, which means if we need to make any changes, it's going to be much easier. You can change, for example, the eyes without disturbing the body below. I always work this way. If you are a bit limited with your layers, as long as things are quite far apart, you can put them on the same layer. I'm going to start by doing the body shape and just say that the brushes look a little bit difference in Procreate 5, but they work the same way. I'm going to the inking section in the brush library and choose the ink bleed. It doesn't matter what you use for this, but this one is one of my faves. I want to choose a different color from the original sketch, so I'm going to choose this blue. I'm going to start by drawing out my basic monsters body shape. If you're not happy with it, you can do two finger tap to undo or press the undo button, and you can always will find it later. Makes sure that the ends of your strokes meetup and that there aren't any gaps because we are going to use the color dropped to fill the body with color. So I'm going to grab the color chip in the top right, and I'm going to drag it over to my monster and let go. If you keep your finger on the screen when you've done this, you can adjust the threshold. So let me just show you, the one I just filled in just left a little white margin around it. So let's undo that and I'm going to grab the color chip, but this time just not let go. I'm going to lift my finger on the monster, and I'm just going to move my finger towards the right-hand side to adjust the threshold until it goes away. So I got it fairly high now. If you zoom in then you can see that you have a solid fill layer. This happens more with brushes like the ink bleed because they haven't non-distinct edge to them. That's covered up my original sketch layers so I can't see him properly. So I'm going to drag that layer up at the top of my monster layer. If you original sketch doesn't have a transparent background, for example, if you draw it on paper, then you would do something else. So if you go to the little end on the sketch layer and tap on it. You have got normal and Opacity, either of these will work. You can just drag the opacity to take it down or if you prefer you can tap on where it says normal and this is actually the blend mode. If you change that to multiply then you will be able to see right through your original sketch. I've got this layer how I wanted, but let's say I wanted to just refine the edge. You can go into the eraser tool, which is basically exactly the same as the brush tools. So you can use the eraser the same as your brush to refine the edges ad you can either choose that off this menu or with your brush selected, you can just tap and hold on the eraser symbol to give yourself the same eraser as the pen you're currently using. So I'm just going to shave a little bit off and you can change the eraser size just like you can with the brush as well. So I'm quite happy with that. I'm going to make another layer just above that one but below the sketch and on that layer I'm going to put his eyes. Let's pick a good color for monster eyes and draw those in. I'll use the color dropped to fill in the eyes. You can turn off the sketch layer if you want to see a bit better what you're doing by tapping on the tick on the layer. I think I'll put his fangs in for now as well. I might just go in and alter them later if need be. Let's put in another layer to put the pupils of his eyes so that we can change them without affecting the layer below. Let's choose a nice dark color for his pupils and I think I'm going to turn off the sketch layer so I can see a bit better. His mouth can go on that layer too, I think and I'll just turn back on my sketch layer for that because I can see what I'm doing, and I'll go back to the fang layer and just use the eraser to clean up, but the fang just stick out there. He's looking quite monstrous now, isn't he? So we're going to turn the sketch layer back on because we've got more to do. His arms, his feet and tail need their own layer and it really needs to be the bottom layer, but it's quite difficult to make a new layer above the background. So I'm going to tap on layer 2 and add a new layer with the plus, and then just drag it down to the bottom. Let's do his other bits and pieces, and I'm just going to choose a dark version of the same color blue. I'm just going to be careful to make sure my shapes are close before I do the color drop because if you were to do that with an open shape it just colors your entire background. Let's draw his arms. If you draw this straight and then just hold your pen at the end of it, it turns it into an editable shape. If you tap at the top where it says edit shape, it gives you some options as well and you can move these little notes that gives you to change your shape. It's a great way of getting some smooth lines. You can draw a line and have it straighten for you and maybe turn around and it recognizes other shapes as well. For example, here's my wonky circle turned into beautiful ellipse. I can turn into a perfect circle. Here is a squarish thing turned into beautiful square. This can be really handy when you're drawing and just tap to come off that when you've finished editing. Something else that's useful to know is how to give your strokes a slightly smoother finish. If you're going to the brush settings and tap on the brush you're using, in this case the ink plate. You've got various different settings you can choose from and you've got a path to just demo them. If you go to this one, the streamline and just take it up a little bit, it's going to smooth the strokes for you. Some brushes is going to be more obvious than others. I'm going to press done when I'm finished. So let's turn off the sketch layer and just see how he looks. This is a good point to go in and just make any little adjustments to the shapes if you're not happy with something. In the next video we're going to do, it's going to be fun a bit, we're going to start playing with the brushes and textures. 6. Add Colour and Texture: Now, it's time to have fun painting. I want start to adding texture and color. We're going to get rid of our sketch layer, and because we already took a photo of it and added it to our camera roll, we can always bring it back in later to work on our other monsters. Select the ''Sketch'' layer, slide it to the left and delete it. This is going to leave a small room to play with upper layers. Sketch on the top layer and add another layer. This is going to be an experimental layer, so we're going to be trying out all the brushes. The brushes, which of course, looks slightly different because this is the older version. Just go through and try them out, and see what you like. They all work differently. Some of them blend, some of them don't. Some of them are more opaque than others. Just have a really good play, and find the ones that you like best. You could try stamping with some of them as well to get interesting results. Now, we're ready to start painting. You can get rid of that experimental layer by sliding it to the left and deleting. At this stage, it's a really good idea to make a copy so that if you really hate what you've done, you can go back and lead it in a fresh. Tap on the top-left words as gallery which takes you out to the home screen, and if you swipe to the left of your monster, you have the choice to share, duplicate, which is what we want to do, and delete, which we definitely don't. They've got a copy to work on, and a copy to keep like an insurance policy. For the same reason, I'm going to duplicate the layer I'm working on by sliding it to the left and choosing ''Duplicate''. We'd turn off the visibility for the lower one. Again, to turn on the Alpha Lock for this layer by either using a two-finger swipe to swipe it to the right or you can tap on the layer and choose Alpha Lock from the drop-down menu, and you'll be able to tell when the Alpha Lock is on by looking at the checkered background on the thumbnail. This lock is for transparency so you can only paint on the parts where the pixels are ready. If you go off the edge of your painting, you won't be able to make any marks. If you ever find that you can't draw a tool, it might be because you're trying to draw an Alpha locks layer or maybe a layer where you've got the visibility turned off or possibly you've got parts of that layer selected. One of these things used to happen to me the whole time, so it maybe this knowledge will stop you tearing your hair as much as I did. Anyway, time to get painting, so have fun, flush around, use lots of color, and make your monster fabulous. He's looking snazzy. I've given him a very slight 3D look by putting a bit of subtle shading around the edges in a slightly darker blue. It's going to that lower layer that we don't need now and delete it. On the arms, and legs, and tail, and hairs layer, you can duplicate it again if you want to, and lock the Alpha, and move on to small painting. Now, time for his eyes. I'm going to lock the Alpha there. I think they need to be slightly yellowish monster eyes. Just going to put a little bit of texture around the edges of his eyes to give that. Some slightly 3D effect. I'm going to put one more layer right at the top for only final details for the bits and pixels. I'm going to put some color inside his ears. I need to go up and choose the ''Selection Tool'' and your Alpha Lock needs to be off for this to work. You use the selection tool on free hand setting, and you just draw it in the shape you want, and then with your brush, you can just draw into that part, and when you're ready, you tap on the ''Selection Tool'' again to de-select. The same on the outside, go to ''Selection'', choose your brush, and paint into it, and de-select. Now, it's time to just put in any final details you want. I think I'm going to get my little tufts on his ears like lamas have. I think some claws. Just going to show you one more thing which I haven't had to do with my monster, but you might have to. Let's say, for example, his rather strange arm was overlapping his body like this. You might want his arm to blend into his body in a more subtle way, so if you go to your Eraser tool and choose something subtle like the Bonobo Chalk. I should be sketching library and just to use it to soften the edges and make it a bit more subtle. I'm going to get rid of that, because I don't want him to have three arms, even though that would be excellently monstrous. Now, I think he's finished. I'm going to call him Sydney. 7. Exporting the Finished Art: In this video, we're going to be exploiting a monster and in order to be able to use him on as many things as possible, we can take sport him with no background. Go to the background layer and just switch off the visibility and you can always put him on a background by making another file exactly the same size as your monster file. I'd like to combine my backgrounds and foregrounds separately for maximum flexibility. Before we export, I'm just going to show you a really fun setting in Procreate. Going to the Spanner settings and choose video and time-lapse replay. It takes you through all the steps you've been through in order to get to your final monster, I think it's really fun, it's great to share on social media, on Instagram and you can also put that in the project session if you want. If you tap on export time-lapse video, you get the choice of video length from full length, which is actually sped up rather than the entire full length, to 30 seconds, which is perfect for social media. Also in the spanner settings menu is the share option and you've got various options here. I will always initially save mine now as a layered PSD file, that way you can always go in and change things later. This will obviously work in Photoshop as well as it's a PSD file. In addition to that, I save out as a PNG with no background so that it can be used on something like a t-shirt or so that we can change the background later and also the JPEG file, which means you can share it in your project section. 8. More Monsters and Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] I hope you had fun making your monster and that you enjoyed using procreate. Please upload them to the project's gallery. There's so many fantastic ones there already, so the more the merrier, I can't wait to see all the wonderful monsters we've unleashed into the world. If you enjoyed this class, please do leave a recommendation because it helps others to find my classes too. If you want to be kept up to date with my new classes, please be sure to follow me on Skillshare. Also feel free to post in social media using the hashtag, Next Squirrel Sculpture. Thank you and bye for now.