Procreate For Newbies Tutorial - 1.2 Getting Familiar With Canvas


Knowing Your Canvas

Hey guys! Getting excited to continue with Procreate tutorial step by step? Last time we were talking about gallery interface and also how to create new canvas. If you dont remember, check tutorial 1.1 Introduction. In this tutorial we will go trough the basic interface of the canvas.

Once you have created a canvas with desirable dimensions your screen view will change. Now a whole new world opened for us, here is a place where you would be spending your time, creating a masterpiece. Don’t be scared, your Procreate is always installed in Dark Interface, I switched mine into Light and also the sliders I have on the right side instead of left. But we will come to that soon. Your canvas might look a little bit different depending which size you choose. I went for square one.


You can find the main toolbar on the top of your canvas, on the left side in the middle there are sliders. We will go trough every tool that you can get really deep understanding what is it and how can you use it.



  1. Gallery

  2. Actions

  3. Adjustments

  4. Selection tool

  5. Transform tool

  6. Brush library

  7. Smudge tool

  8. Erase tool

  9. Layers

  10. Colors

  11. Brush size, brush opacity



Clicking on Gallery will take you back to the gallery interface with all your artwork and stacked collections. You dont have to worry to go back as Procreate is saving process automatically but I always back-up my files anyway on iCloud (you never know).



Under actions you will find all necessry settings and adjustments for your workflow. You can add text, instert photo or file, make some adjustments to the canvas like cropping and resizing, adding drawing guides, you can share the whole image or just layers in multiple formats, you can set on time-lapse recording and export it, change the interface of the work place and get some help. We will go trough these in details in the next tutorial.



Under the adjustments there are 7 types of filters as opacity, gaussian blur, motion blur, perspective blur, sharpen, noise and liquify. There are also 4 types of adjustments as hue, saturation, brightness, color balance, curves and recolour. As an example you can see below what is possible to achieve using these filters and adjustments.


Selection tool

The selection tool lets you select an area of your picture and together with the transform function, modify the selected area as you desire. It also allows you to edit only the picked areas of your artwork. Used together with the other tools like the adjustment tool or the transform tool, you will be able to be more flexible with your workflow and more creative with your art. The selection tool offers four different ways to select. They are automatic, freehand, rectangle and eclipse plus additional subselections. But we will go trough these in a separated tutotial.


Transform tool

The transform tool allows you to edit your artwork in different ways using functions like scale, rotate, distort etc. The main ways to transform a part of your artwork are freeform, uniform, distort and warp. Each method has subfunctions for more transform options such as magnetics, flip horizontal, flip vertical, rotate 45, fit to screen, interpolation and reset. I will be going through all these functions and sub-functions some other time.


Brush library

The brush library is a main core for the Procreate artist. You can imagine as a real artist using actually physical canvas and brushes and medias you have many choices to achieve certain techniques. For a digital artist it works a little bit different but we need also different brushes, especially once you are experienced and you want to faster your workflow. In the beginning I strongly advise not to get overwhelmed and excited and just work mainly what Procreate offers as a standard. otherwise you would end up with hundreds of brushes, spending your money and never use them. Choose your brush packs carefully and only if you think you can really use them regularly. So in this library you can use pre-set brushes, adjust every each of them or create custom brushes as well.


Smudge tool

The interface and controls for smudge tool looks exactly same as for brushes. Just notice a difference that the opacity slider for brush is the strength slider for the smudge tool. This tool can add style to your artwork or soften edges. Different textured smudge tools can achieve different looks and feelings to an artwork. You can actually choose how the smudge tool will look like - using the preset for a brush it will smudge your painting with a different style/pattern.


Erase tool

When you want to get rid off of certain parts of your artwork or giving it a different touch or texture. You may want to use the same textured brush for both painting and erasing, however it can also be an artistic/creative choice to use different textured erasers and brushes for eye-catching effects.


Brush size/opacity slider

You can change the brush size and opacity on by adjusting the 2 vertical sliders on the left/right side of the canvas. The top slider controls the brush size and the slider at the bottom controls the brush capacity. In the bottom of the slider there are undo and redo actions.


Basic canvas gestures

  • Painting/smudging/erasing - Tap or drag your finger on the canvas to apply paint, erase or smudge your art

  • Undo action - just two-finger tap anywhere on the canvas

  • Redo action - three-finger tap anywhere on the canvas

  • Zoom in/out - pinching the screen with two fingers in and out

  • Rotating - rotating your fingers while pinching the screen

So now we have a short basic introduction of our working place-canvas, we can dive into deep details in the upcoming tutorials. I hope that you learn something new and feel free to add additional comments or questions.