Digital Painting With Procreate: What’s Its Future?

digital painting with procreate - Mudjimba Beach

If you’re an Apple device user, you would likely be familiar with digital painting with Procreate and what it is. If you’re not familiar with Procreate, it’s simply an iPad drawing app that was created for creative people! Developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS, it was launched on the App Store in 2011.

Whether you’re an occasional drawer or a professional artist it really is a clever piece of technology that satisfies all levels of art. With an expanse of brushes and tools you can draw, sketch, paint and create animations with an apple pencil and an iPad wherever you may be. I just love the spontaneity this can bring to creating and designing beautiful works of art!

There is no doubt Procreate is increasingly being used in professional settings! And although Photoshop remains the leading digital software within the creative industry, some notable artists have indeed embarked on the Procreate journey.

David Hockney (an English fine artist) created a series of landscape paintings using Procreate! Comic artist and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee used Procreate to sketch Batman and the Joker! While concept artist Doug Chiang created robots, vehicles, and creature designs for Star Wars in Procreate!

I first started drawing with Procreate as a concept visionary tool for my oil on canvas art. I would draw to scale in Procreate and add colour to see the colour palette for the future painting. I absolutely loved that I had access to such a tool, which in many ways allowed me to be more adventurous and more creative with my art style.

Being able to see colour palettes in advance was genius before taking that step to applying paint to canvas. Some might say this is cheating, but I think it’s no different to drawing on paper and colouring with pencils. And for me being well prepared with my design means greater confidence in the process of creating the art, and a more satisfactory outcome.

The more I practised with Procreate the more I wanted to use it to create art! Drawing my first digital art series the ‘California Coastal Series’ while revisiting California at the beginning of 2020 was magic! I had the creative tools right by my side during my trip while being inspired in the moment of travel.

I started seeing many benefits for using Procreate! One of those, and probably the most important to me, was that I’m happiest when creating art! So, Procreate provided me with the tools to instantly create anytime and in any place! I had more time to create! I could draw all day and not have to clean my paint brushes at the end of the day, or be exposed to solvents and paint fumes!

I also didn’t have to wait for my painting layers to dry before taking the next steps in the design! And the expense of scanning my art in order to produce art prints for art lovers to enjoy was taken away! Procreate also pushed me as an artist to be more creative and to think outside of the box! Designing can be instant and undoing the design can be equally instant when digital painting with Procreate!

So, what is the future for Procreate? Procreate continues to improve its tools and functionality. It is designed for the iPad which make it unique and exceptionally good for just that, iPad use. But because of this it will never likely replace desktop applications such as Photoshop.

There are limitations to creating large scale artworks for projects, so creating solely with Procreate may not suit every artist. Not every artist likes working on an iPad, but equally not every artist likes working on a desktop, it’s a matter of preference. The Procreate app is inexpensive and, yes, there are expenses with buying an iPad and pencil, but equally there are expenses with buying a desktop device and program! Procreate is truly an amazing tool from my experience so far!

I do see it influencing how we create art moving forward, and potentially having greater impact on creating digital art over time! How far can it go? I can’t wait to see!

Have you viewed my most recent digital art series using procreate? Head over to my portfolio and check out the ‘Sunshine Coast Series.’

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Alex Mileham