Pumped Up Digital Icons in Procreate: Enhance Your Highlights | Silvia Volpe | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Pumped Up Digital Icons in Procreate: Enhance Your Highlights

teacher avatar Silvia Volpe, Surface Designer

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

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.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Why Use Stories


    • 4.

      Your Goals and Topics


    • 5.

      Tailoring your Topics


    • 6.

      Your Palette and Mood board


    • 7.

      Finalize Your Design


    • 8.

      Your Icons Presentation


    • 9.

      BONUS: Add Your Designs to Your Highlights


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Social media platforms are a great place to increase exposure and share your art but before being a place to market yourself, they are a place to socialize.

So let’s be social, through your art!

In this class, I am going to show you how to create simple yet captivating illustrations on your iPad in Procreate to use as icons for your Instagram highlights, to strengthen your personal brand and create a cohesive look on your profile.

You will learn:

  • How to identify the main topics to include in your highlights
  • How to brainstorm different ideas for your icons
  • The importance of choosing a limited palette
  • How to create simple and effective illustrations in Procreate 

This class is aimed towards students who are looking to give a cohesive look to their social media profile, using their illustration skills. It’s suitable for beginners, although some prior knowledge of Procreate is required.

Using illustrations as covers for your Instagram highlights is a great way to draw attention to your saved content. Not only it will help give your profile a more interesting look, but it will also guide people on your profile, understanding who you are, what you do, and learning more about your personality.

Throughout this class, I will be using Procreate but feel free to use your preferred software.

Whether you want to highlight your services and/or products, or something about you or your process, or even create digital icons to sell on your website, I’ll guide you step by step all the way.

So, come join me in this class and let’s have fun!

Music: "Chase" by Steve Combs

From Free Music Archive CC BY 4.0

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Silvia Volpe

Surface Designer


Hi, I'm Silvia. I am a Surface Designer and crafter from Italy. My background is in Architecture and Interior Design and a few years ago I switched my career to become a full-time illustrator.

I love to learn and keep myself up to date with the latest software and design trends and techniques.

I am always on a hunt to improve my skills and speed up my workflow and I am also a firm believer in sharing my passion and knowledge with other artists.

Here you can learn all about digital Gouache painting in Procreate, with my new class:

Draw a Gouache Illustration in Procreate + 8 Free Brushes & Paper Texture


And here you can learn all about wreath design and composition: Draw a Seasonal Wreath Illustration in Procreate

&... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: Hi everyone, my name is Sylvia Volpe. I'm a designer and illustrator from Italy, and I'm also the founder of Jamie Foxx Scrapbooking and Illustrations Brand. I love the flexibility and freedom that digital illustration can give, since it gives me endless possibilities and it really speeds up my workflow from selling patterns and illustrations to creating content for my Instagram account. I use posts on my grade to share interesting content relevant to my followers and I use stories to connect with my community and also share exciting news. Using icons as covers for your Instagram highlights is a great way to draw attention to your saved stories. To introduce yourself, tell people who you are, what you do, and show your personality. Social media platforms are a great place to increase exposure and show your art, but before being in a place to market yourself, they're a place to socialize, so let's be social for your art. In this class, I'm going to show you how to create simple yet effective illustrations on your iPad in Procreate to use as icons for your Instagram highlights, to strengthen your personal brand, and create a cohesive look on your profile. I'll show you my process to identify the main topics to include in your highlights that are relevant to you and you will create a mood board for your initial concept. We'll talk about how using unlimited color palette and simplified designs can make for eye catching icons and I will give you examples to come up with ideas for your highlights covers. I will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating effective icons that will help tell your story. Finally, we'll put together a set of five cohesive designs that you can use for your Instagram profile. I will be using Procreate, but feel free to use your preferred software or even pens and paper. Whether you want to highlight your products or services or something about you and your process, or even create digital icons to sell them online, this class is for you. All right, let's get started. 2. Class Project: The project of this class consists of creating five to six icons for your Instagram highlights covers. By completing this class, you'll not only have cohesive illustrations ready to be added to your Instagram highlights, but you will also have a blueprint to create other icons in the future and you could also sell them online as digital illustrations. In each video, I'm going to guide you step-by-step towards the completion of your project. First, you will design the profile these illustrations are aimed at. We will talk about the things that you need to consider for your Instagram highlights. We'll brainstorm and identify five to six main topics to include in your highlights, sketch your concept and create a mood board. Then we'll finalize your designs and we'll put them in a presentation. In the resources section, I've included a few files to help you create your Instagram highlights covers and to follow along with the class. You'll find a list of ideas of the topics you could include in your stories highlights. A couple of examples to spark your creativity and procreate templates to create your highlights, covers, and presentation. Don't worry, I'll remind you which one you need throughout the class. To complete your class project, this is what you need to do. Upload your mood board with the colors you have chosen for your palate and sketches of the main topics you have identified for your profile. Then upload an image with the final five to six icons you have designed for your Instagram highlights. I'll be happy to give you feedback on your mood board and final project. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the community board of this class. I can't wait to see what fun icons you come up with. See you in the next lesson. In the next video, we'll talk about Instagram stories and their role to grow your presence online. 3. Why Use Stories: In this video, we'll talk about Instagram stories and how to make the most of them. Let's dive in. Now more than ever before, people spending time on social media are also looking for real human connection. Even when they're buying something from a brand, they're looking for connection and trust. Connecting with your community is very important to help you grow your online presence as well as your business. From my personal experience, I realized that people often engage with my stories when I share something about my work or my day. That's because people are curious about you and they want to know you better, and stories are a great way to do that. Not just that, when people come across your profile for the first time, they will have a first impression about you and your fit would be like seeing a shop window for the first time. Those saved stories, those highlights, will contribute to their first impression about who you are, what you do, in a more personal and direct way. Coming back to the shop window analogy, is a bit like having your products on display, as well as being at the entrance with the door open, inviting people to come in to try your products as well as see your process and your behind the scenes. Do you see the difference? It's not always possible to create new content every day. That's why I say stories can really help you to create a presentation to invite new people to stay and connect with you, as well as create content for your community that they can revisit every time they want. Highlights icon come in hand because they are positioned at the top of Procreate, and they can draw attention to your saved content. You don't need many of them, as it's more likely the first five of six will be seen. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to identify your goals and topics to create your highlights icons. I'll see you in the next video. 4. Your Goals and Topics: In this video, I'm going to share with you my process of how to identify goals and topics for my story highlights. We'll see different examples of how this applies to different profiles. Whether you're selling a product or service or you're a brand or personal brand, it's very important to identify your goals before creating any content, and this applies to Instagram stories too. For example, a plant nursery could be looking to connect more with people living nearby, creating trust within its community, and being recognized as an authority in its field. If you're a designer and you're looking to grow your personal brand on Instagram, your goal could be growing your community, getting noticed, and increasing engagement with your content. Defining your goals will help you identify what to include in your stories and also what topics to add to your highlights. Generally, when it comes to identify what topics to include in my highlights, I keep my goals at the back of my mind as I go through a list of things that I think are important to me. These are the ones I find work best for me. Who you are. People are curious and love getting to know you batter. If you open up even just a bit, they'll perceive you more like a person and a friend, than someone trying to sell his product. What you do. What's your catalog offer or portfolio. Your profile description often can contain everything you do. So here is your chance to show and present your products or services in a more personal and fun way. Tips and tricks. Depending on your goal, this can be a great way to demonstrate you're knowledgeable in your field and will help you create trust within your community. What people say about you. Nowadays, we all check opinions and reviews before buying something. Here is your chance to reinforce your authority and show you're trustworthy. Your behind the scenes. People are curious about your story, but they are also curious about your creative process. If someone was going to take me in the behind the scenes of how to make pizza, I'll definitely go. These are topics you may also want to add to your save stories. Products or services you want to highlight. Maybe there is a product in your shop or a special offer you want to push, then having a separate save story for that is a great way to draw attention to that product or service in particular. Tutorials. You may want to share some short tutorials in your stories and having them saved could help your community to find them later or in case they missed your stories. Frequently asked questions. This could be related to your work and process or [inaudible]. Freebies. This can be a great way to attract people and help them not miss your content. Challenges. This could be a temporary highlight or it could be updated frequently, depending on how you use your stories. More. Remember, this is just a list of ideas. You can definitely have to list with what is more relevant to you. Don't worry, you can download this list in the resources section. Now that you have an idea of what topics to include, we can start applying these ideas to your highlights. I'll see you in the next lesson. 5. Tailoring your Topics: In this video, I'm going to show you my process for applying the ideas we just explored using an example and we're going to start building our mood board. Before we start, I just want to add that whatever design and content you come up with for your highlights, you don't have to stick to it forever. My highlights don't always look the same as I think it's important to update both content and design every now and then. For this class, I'm going to use the plant nursery example I've used earlier and I will start to think about what topics a gardener might want to include in his, her Instagram profile. So I'll start by opening Procreate and I create a new canvas. For this exercise, the screen size canvas would be fine and I'm going to call my plant nursery, I think Jenny's gardens, and I'm imagining it's a one woman business with a soft and romantic aesthetic and brand identity. This of course, can change later on, but it helps me imagining these right here at the start to give me some guidance. So start by imagining the look and brand you have in mind for your icons. Is it a company or a personal brand, what's the aesthetic of this brand? What are their goals? This will help you define the content and voice of your stories, as well as the style of your design later on, and if you're creating these for yourself, keep in mind what look and message you want to convey in your stories. Think about your goals and what is more relevant to you. So I'm going to grab the list of ideas I shared with you earlier and I'm going to drag and drop the photos folder on the side of my screen to open that document, which by the way, you can find in the Resources section and I'll start to take a look to my list of ideas and figure out what the goals of Jenny's stories are. As I said earlier, Jenny's goals could include creating trust within her community. So I'm going to write it down, trust and community as my keywords, and also one of her goals is being recognized as an authority in her field. So I'm going to write down Authority and finally, one of our goals was reaching out to new potential customers. So I'm just going to make this a little bit smaller to fit everything on one line and I'm going to write customers. So now I'm going to create a new layer where I'm going to draw the circles for my icons. So I'm going to draw a circle, and by tapping and holding, it would become a perfect shape and I'm going to duplicate this four times so that we have five copies and I am going to space them out a little bit so that I have room for any notes. So I will definitely have a who you are section in her stories. This is going to function like an about us page of her website, but it's going to be more charismatic, informal and direct. Her symbol could be something that people can connect to her. Maybe the hat, she often wear in her stories when she's in her gardens. So I'm going to create a new layer and I'm going to start sketching. Remember this is just a sketch. It doesn't need to be refined at all. For your icon, try to think about something that represents you. Maybe it's a detail of your logo or something that can represent your work. For instance, if you love watercolor and posting your artwork, then maybe a brush would be perfect for you. For the next ones, you will definitely need highlights about their products and services. Maybe she's the only one in the area selling a specific plant or a specific tool for gardening and maybe she also takes care of other people's gardens. All of these things are definitely going to find a place here and this highlight is going to act like a catalog for her. I think items that she sells could do the trick here. Maybe a plant and a pack of soil could give the idea of both the products and services she offers. Remember when you think about your icons, there's no need to be literal about your topics, but it will definitely help users understand without reading the title. So for the next one, one of her goals is being an authority in our field and gain trust in her community. So a good way to reach this goal is sharing tips and tricks in our stories. About how to take care of specific plants, how to prune them correctly, etc. These are going to be informative stories and will probably need an icon representing an action associated with nursing plans. I think I'm going to have a watering can or something like that. If you're including this topic, what is the first thing that comes to your mind related to this topic? Is there a fun design that you think will attract people to tap on your stories? Try to play with that as you sketch different ideas. Whether Jenny's plant nursery serves privates or businesses or both. They're both going to love some behind the scenes of her work. So maybe some frequently asked questions about her service and process would be great here. People loved to learn about the story behind someone's work. The icon for this one is a bit tricky. You really depends on how you go about stories included in this section. I think in this case, I'm going to keep it simple and have the classic icon with the cartoon bubble and a question mark in it and maybe some flowers. But it doesn't mean it has to be the same for you. Think about something that people can easily reconnect to this topic in your stories. Maybe you made your stories like an interview then it could be fun to have a microphone icon instead. Finally, going back to Jenny's goal, she wants to earn trust within her community and maybe she's also trying to push her wedding setup service at the same time. She could either have these separated or she may want to combine them in a specific section in her highlights. So I think I'm going to have it as a one icon highlight and it's going to be a product focus highlight. Here she could show a bit of her behind the scenes photos of the finished product and reviews of her customers. So I think that an icon that combines plants and wedding would work really well here and I think I'm going to have an engagement ring with some plants on it. Remember, there is no fixed rule here. Just play with your imagination to come up with an icon related to the content of your saved stories. All right, now it's your turn to think about 5-6 topics you want to include in your highlights and explore and sketch some ideas for your icons. I'll see you in the next lesson where we're going to create a palette and combine all of these in a mood board. 6. Your Palette and Mood board: In this video, I'm going to show you how I go about choosing colors for icons and we will put together all your ideas in your final mood board. When it comes to choosing my palette, my starting point is often either my brand colors, the colors that are on my grid in a particular period of time, or a mix of the two. Again, there isn't really a fixed rule here, as you can always change the colors of your icons later on if you see it doesn't work well with your grid. I've opened a new screen size canvas. Since for these icons I will have to play a little bit with my imagination, I think I'm going to pull out a few colors from a couple of photographs I'd taken from my garden. Feel free to come up with a palette from scratch like me will start by pulling out the colors that you like on your grid. I'm going to import these photos by swiping my finger and I'll drag and drop the photo's folder to one side of the screen. Then I'm going to tap select and select the pictures I want and drag and drop them into my Canvas. I don't need them this big, so with the selection tool I'll reduce the size and position them on one side. By looking at these pictures, I already have an idea of what colors I'm going to use, but will pick as many shades of colors as possible to give myself a broader range of colors to choose from later. I'm going to select a different layer and choose a brush to start pulling out all the colors I like. To choose the color you want, just tap and hold with your finger and start creating your palate. I think I have enough colors to choose from. I'm going to create a new layer and start picking the ones I like the most and see if they work together. I'm not entirely sure about this magenta next to this dark green. I feel like it hurts my eyes a bit. I'm going to try and see if by making it lighter, I'm reducing the saturation and solve the problem. I think it's better now. Since the final design will be seen so tiny on the screen, I'm aiming for five colors max, and I already have two shades of pinks and two of greens. I'm going to go back to my pictures and see if I can find a more neutral color that works with my palette. I like these warm light peach, but I think it doesn't work well with the pink. I'll play with this iteration and brightness to make it work. Perfect. I think I've found the palette for my icons. Now it's time to test it and see if I need to make any adjustment and decide how to use these colors on my icons. I'm going to go back to my mood board. Since I already have my sketches all in one group, I'm going to drag them together onto the other Canvas. Since I don't need them to be all individual layers, I'm going to merge each sketch with each circle by pinching them together with two fingers. Then I'm going to resize and move them where there is room. So now we are ready to see how these colors work together. I'll create a new layer below my sketches and I'll start picking each color and making sure I use it more or less in each icon. I'm also making sure each color is on a separate layer. So that should I make any adjustment, it will apply to all the icons. I'm going to speed up the video here so that you don't have to watch me. Perfect. I think there is no need to make adjustments to my palette. I'm going to match all the color and sketches layers, and I'll copy them back to my mood board. Within our new layer, I'll have the final palette to my mode board. You can either use a single point brush like me, or you can create a circle and drop each color. Then I'll grab the icon's layer and separate each of them on individual layers to replace my black and white sketches. Our mood board is complete. If you want, you can also change the temporary titles you have given to your highlights with the titles you are planning to use. I'm going to replace who you are with a friendly "Hi". What you do is going to be plants and tools. I think I'm going to leave tips and tricks and Frequently Asked Questions as they are. I'm changing, product focus with weddings. Perfect. Once you have your mood board, you can upload it to your project gallery. In the next lesson, we are going to create the final designs for our icons. 7. Finalize Your Design: In this video, we are going to put together the sketches and colors we have chosen to finalize our icons. I got my mode port open and before starting cleaning up my sketches, I'm going to save the palette we have just created in Procreate. To do that, tap on the color icon, tap "Plus", and then create a new palette and give it a name. I'm going to name mine Janny's Gardens Icons. By tapping and holding, you can pick the colors on your Canvas and add them to your palette. Perfect. What I'm going to do now is copying the template I have created for the icons, which you can download in the resources section. I'll just show it to you very quickly. This is some 1920 by 1080 pixels at 300 DPI Canvas. It has one layer that can guide you for positioning and sizing your design and another layer for your background. I'm going back to my mode port and I'm going to copy the icons layer into my story template. To separate each sketch, tap on the "Selection Tool", swipe three fingers down, and press, "Cut and Paste" to paste your selection into a new layer. I'll start with the first icon and I'm going to move the guidelines on top to help me resize my design, and I'm going to make it bigger and also make sure it stays more or less within this circle. I'm going to reduce the opacity to about 20 percent and I'm going to create a new layer and with a black and sketching brush, I'm going to sketch over it to refine my design idea. I'll speed up this part, so you don't have to watch me. I think I'm happy with this. Now I'm going to create a new layer on top and reduce the opacity of my sketch layer. I'm going to draw it with a monoline brush. Perfect. Now I'm going to create a new layer to our color and I can see a piece of light pink for the background in my sketch. I'm selecting the background to have the pink saved in my palette. Then I'm going back to my well-framed layer, tap on it, and select Preference so that I can add color on a separate layer, but it will refer to this one instead. The first icon is complete, so now I'm going to move all the layers in one group and name it with the title of the highlight. I repeat the same process with the other designs. I will speed up the video, I'll meet you once they're all complete. The covers for my highlights are complete. I will see you in the next video where we are going to put them together in a presentation. 8. Your Icons Presentation: In this video, I'm going to show you how to quickly add your highlights colors to your class project presentation. At this point, you should have each design and separate groups. What I'm going to do is duplicate each group, tap on it, and tap "Flatten". I'll do the same for all of them. Once I have flattened each cover, I'm going to copy and paste them into the presentation canvas I've created, which you can also find in the resources section. Here I have created groups for each icon, and I'm going to drag each design into each group. Once I have done this, I'm going to move the highlight cover above the black circle. I'm going to tap and tap again on "Clipping Mask" to resize and reposition my design. I'm going to repeat this process for each icon. Now you should have all your designs nicely arranged. What we're also going to do, is adding those titles back. I'm tapping on the "Action Store" and then "Add Text". Then I'm resizing it and choosing a font. I will copy the text layer to create the other ones. Perfect. The presentation is complete. Now, all you need to do is export this file and upload it to the project gallery together with your mood board. I'll see you in the next lesson where I'm going to show you how to add your designs to your highlights. 9. BONUS: Add Your Designs to Your Highlights: In this video, I'll show you how to add your designs to your Instagram and use them both as icons and covers. In my Instagram profile, I'll tap on plus and then story. Then I'll tap on the photo gallery icon on the left bottom corner and select my design. Here you can also add some text to further explain what your stories are about. In this case, I'm going to leave it as it is and [inaudible] and then on your stories to post it to my stories. Now I'll just wait a few seconds for it to upload and I'm checking it's published, so I'm going back to my profile and tap on the plus icon again. This time I'll tap on story highlight. Instagram will open all the stories I have posted in the past, and I'm going to select the story I've just published. As you can see Instagram already made this story into the icon of this highlight, as this is the first story. Our highlight is published, and if I tap on it and tap on the three dots and then on edit highlight, I can change the icon by tapping edit covers. I can also see the stories that are currently in this highlight, deselect them and have new ones. As you can see, since this is the latest highlight we have modified, it went right at the beginning. To change the order of your highlight, you can add the story to the highlight you want to move, then remove the story and that specific highlight will go right at the beginning. I'll see you in the next video for some final thoughts. 10. Final Thoughts: All right, you did it, you have completed your class, and you have icons ready to be added to your Instagram profile or to be sold as digital products. We covered everything from the benefits of using stories and choosing the topics for your highlights to designing catching icons for your saved stories covers. Don't forget to upload your class project to the project gallery. If you post your work to your social media, feel free to tag me @bysilviavolpe so I can share your work with everyone. Remember there's no rule to the perfect combination of stories and icons. Just add fun with it and remember to keep both your design and content fresh and relevant to your goals and community. I'll also be so grateful if you could leave a review to this class. This is my first Skillshare class and your feedback would mean the world to me as it will help me become a better teacher and create the classes that you want. If you want to be the first one to know about my new classes, follow me here on Skillshare so that you will get notified whenever I post a new one or I have some exciting news to share. Thank you so much for taking my class. I can't wait to see what fun and amazing designs you come up with for your icons. I'll see you next time.