In this guide, I’ll show you how to print from Procreate, from setting up your canvas to sending your artwork to a printer. This is the sequence in short.
Open a new canvas, set the dimensions, enter 300DPI, set the color profile to CMYK, choose a TIFF or PDF file, draw your design, export your file to a computer, or Airdrop it to a suitable device. Go to File > Print, for your home printer or send a file to your printer.
You’ll need to follow a few simple steps to prepare your canvas and export your digital artwork for printing.
Let’s get straight to it.
(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)
How to Set up Your Procreate Canvas for Printing
Your canvas size should be the same dimensions as your art print. For example, if you intend to print on an A4 sheet of paper, set your new canvas to 210mm x 297mm (8.27” x 11.69”).
When in doubt make your canvas bigger and then reduce the size for printing purposes. Trying to enlarge a small image will produce blurred results.
To set up your Procreate canvas for printing, follow these steps:
- Open the Procreate Gallery
- Tap the plus sign (+) at the top right corner of the screen.
- From the “New Canvas” menu tap the black rectangle with a mini plus sign (+)
- The “Custom Canvas” opens
- Tap “Dimensions”
- Choose your units of measurement: millimeters, centimeters, inches, or pixels
- Set your desired width and height using the number pad
- Set the “Resolution” to 300DPI for print quality
- Tap “Create”
How to Set the Color Profile For Printing
To set the color profile for printing in Procreate, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Open the Procreate gallery and click the Plus sign (+) at the top right
- From the “New Canvas” menu tap the black rectangle with a mini plus sign (+)
- The “Custom Canvas” opens
- Tap “Color Profile” on the left-hand menu
- Choose “CMYK” for printing physical prints
- Choose “Generic CMYK Profile”
Ignore the other CMYK settings unless you are confident that you know what you’re doing. They are specialized settings for certain commercial papers and printing types.
For most users, a generic setting will be fine. If you send the image to a commercial print shop, seek their advice.
RGB is the default setting so if you skipped this setting your file will be saved automatically in the RGB color format. You can always change this later in a photo editor such as Photoshop, Indesign, or Affinity.
It’s important to note that the colors you see on the screen are not exactly the same as the colors you will see on a physical print.
The best you can do is to calibrate your screen to get the nearest match possible or make test prints and see how they look.
RGB files will often print different colors entirely, while CMYK colors will appear muted when compared with a backlit screen image.
The Key Difference Between RGB and CMYK Color Profiles
RGB stands for red, green, and blue. It’s used for digital displays because it has a wide color gamut (color range). You’ll see it used on digital screens and TVs.
CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black which produce fewer color combinations and are used to print on any type of paper and other physical products.
The RGB color mode is supported with all file types.
When you convert an RGB profile to CMYK for printing, you’ll lose some color range. It’s for this reason that you should always make a test print first
When you send a file to your print shop you must ask for a proof copy before authorizing any subsequent printing.
Only when you are happy with the results should you sign it off. This is your record and your printer is obliged to match the quality of your proof.
How to Save Your Canvas Size as a Template
If you know that you’ll need to use your settings again you can save them as a template:
- Under “Custom Canvas” tap “Canvas Properties”
- Tap “Canvas Settings” from the menu.
- Tap “Untitled Canvas” at the top and change the name
- Choose a background color or leave it at the default white background setting
- Tap the “Create” button
Your canvas will be saved as a template for the future. To find your template, tap the “New Canvas” black icon in the drop-down menu and select the template from the list.
How to Choose the Correct File Type for Printing
When you open the “Actions” tab and click on the “Share” icon you’ll be presented with a list of file options.
In the top section, under “Share Image” you’ll see a list of 6 file types. As this is about printing options we will ignore the video files.
I’ll outline each file type for you: (source)
The .procreate file extension is the default file type unique to the Procreate app. It contains all the information used within the app and saves it as you draw. The files are quick to load and use less storage on your Apple device.
They are not used for printing and must be converted beforehand.
PSD (Photoshop Document) was developed by Adobe for its native image editing software.
Many digital artists prefer to create their artwork with the Procreate app and then export their artwork to Adobe Photoshop for final editing. They convert the file for the web or save it as a PDF or TIFF file for printing purposes.
You cannot print directly from a PSD file. It’s converted first.
PDF (Portable Document File) is an industry standard file type that can be viewed and opened on most devices.
A PDF uses lossless compression, meaning that the original file remains intact with no loss of quality. It is an ideal file type for printing, but it has some drawbacks.
Lossless files can be huge and difficult to share and edit. It’s best to save the file exactly as you intend it to be printed.
JPEG or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a common file type used mainly to store and present images on the web.
JPEG files are “Lossy” meaning they are compressed to reduce the file size. They are easy to share, open and download.
Compression reduces the image quality to such an extent that for most purposes, the print quality is unacceptable. Sharp edges are softened, the color range is limited, and detail and gradations are lost.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is another widely used file type used mainly because it supports transparent layers.
It is a lossless format and as such, many articles suggest that it’s a suitable file for printing. This is not entirely accurate.
PNG files work with RGB color profiles that are designed to be seen on a digital screen. This is the wrong color profile for printing. Printers require CMYK profiles.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files are used to save and store digital files without loss of quality.
TIFFs are “Lossless” and widely used in the printing industry. TIFF files support a wide range of colors, are easily edited, and produce high quality prints.
High-resolution images are generally large files and take up a lot of storage space. Large files can be sent for free at Wetransfer.com
In all the years I have been sending files to my printers, I have only ever been asked for TIFF or PDF files for printing because they offer the best print quality. I have always preferred printing with TIFFs because I can copy and edit the original files in Photoshop and repurpose my images as I wish.
Now it’s time to actually make your Procreate artwork and export your final image.
How to Export Your File From Procreate
You’ll need to follow these simple steps:
- Open the image that you want to print
- Tap the wrench icon and open the “Actions” tab
- Tap the “Share” icon at the top of the “Actions” box
- Tap “TIFF” or “PDF” from the share menu to open the export menu
There will be an “Exporting” page with a white tick in a blue circle marking a successful command, and a new page opens up with your export options.
It’s important to note that unless you’re using Airdrop to send your file wirelessly, (only available on selected printers) you’ll need to download the image to your computer.
You can email the image to yourself, or send it to Dropbox, Google Drive, or any cloud storage you’re using.
From there you can download it to your computer.
How to Print an Image File from Your Computer
The easiest way to print your image to a local printer will be as follows:
- Open the image file
- Press Ctrl +P on a PC or Command + P on a Mac
- Alternatively, right-click and choose “Print” which opens a new box
- Choose or add a printer
- Select “Landscape” or “Portrait”
- Select “Paper Size”
Bear in mind that the quality of your print will vary depending on the type of printer you use, the printer settings, the type of paper, and the calibration of your monitor. That’s quite apart from the color format and DPI.
If you want to know more about printing art read these:
- How to Make Prints of Your Art: A Complete Printing Guide (2022)
- How to Price Art Prints: A Practical Guide For Beginners
- How to Sell Art Prints on Etsy: Mega Selling Guide
- Where and How to Print Art Prints From Etsy (Downloads / Printables)
- What Size Art Sells Best? Prints and Frame Sizes
- How to Negotiate the Price of Your Art: Prints and Originals
How to Print From Procreate: Final Thoughts
If you find printing confusing, you’re not alone. There’s so much to learn, especially when you want to print from home. There’s a lot to be said for using a print shop.
As it is the most important factors to remember are:
- Print at 300DPI or higher
- Use the CMYK color mode
- Save the master copy as a TIFF file
If you save your Procreate designs with these settings you can convert your files into any other format and always achieve the best quality and that’s what it’s all about.
Now check out these posts for helpful Procreate tips:
- Is The Procreate App Worth it For Beginners? Get the Facts
- Is it Worth Buying an iPad for Procreate?
- How to Make Straight Lines in Procreate: Step-by-Step
- How to Make a Stamp Brush in Procreate: Step by Step
- How to Use the Symmetry Tools in Procreate: Step-by-Step
- Do You Need an Apple Pencil for Procreate? I Found Out
- Does Procreate Work on iPad Mini 5? What You Need to Know
- How to Use Layers in Procreate: 15 Essential Tips and More.
You’ve got to start somewhere so if all this is new, why not do as I did and follow a video course? This is the course I took on Domestika.
Brad covers the basics of digital illustration in his Domestika course.
It’s super affordable and with no hidden fees!
Never heard of Domestika? Check out my review: Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons (2022)
If you want to sell your digital art as physical art prints,
I can show you how!
These are business-related posts:
- What Kind of Art Sells Best? All The Secrets Revealed
- Is Print on Demand Worth it? The Pros and Cons for Creatives
- Are Online Drawing Courses Worth it? I Chose 5 of The Best For You!
- Can You Copy Art and Sell a Painting of a Painting? I Found Out
- Is Selling on Etsy Worth it? Pros and Cons for Artists and Crafters
- 25 Platforms for Artists to Sell Their Art Online and Make Money
- 19 Ways to Make Money as an Artist Online and Off: No Fluff!
- Drawing Ideas for Adults: 120 Cool and Easy Things to Draw
- Is Redbubble Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers
This Domestika course is subtitled from Spanish to English but don’t dismiss it out of hand. It could inspire you.