Is The Procreate App Worth it For Beginners? Get the Facts

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Kevin Hayler: Professional Wildlife artist, author, and traveler.

Procreate is a digital illustration app used by amateur and professional artists, designers, and illustrators to produce outstanding digital artwork, but it’s only available on Apple devices. Is it worth buying an Ipad just for the app? Is Procreate Worth it?

Procreate is great value for money and costs $12.99 as a one-time purchase. It offers a wide range of creative features and tools that allow artists of all levels to enter the world of digital drawing and painting. It’s user friendly, has a short learning curve, and is great fun.

With Procreate you can make art that you wouldn’t think possible. With this powerful tool, you can take your drawing skills to the next level. This could be your game-changer.

Intrigued? Let’s move on

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What is Procreate and What Does it Do?

In short, Procreate is a digital art and design app that allows users to create illustrations and designs on their iPad or iPhone.

The Procreate Ipad app has a wide range of features and a massive suite of art tools, that include brushes, texturing tools, and paint effects to help you sketch, paint, and draw pretty much anything.

This great app allows you to digitally create designs and illustrations to suit your needs and the limits of your imagination. Create artwork, posters, murals, greeting cards, album covers, postcards, logos, you name it, and the list goes on.

If you want to get started in digital art, it’s never been easier to get started, BUT!…. yes there had to be a but, you’ll need a newish iPad. It is exclusive to Apple. There’s no Android version and that sucks!

Is Procreate Good for Beginners?

If you’re looking for a powerful and easy-to-use drawing app for your iPad, Procreate is the best choice because it has features and functions geared toward the beginner.

The basics of Procreate are easy to learn, you can advance your skills when necessary, and there are plenty of online tutorials to help you.

Procreate pays for itself in another way, and that’s in planning. You can develop your ideas for use in your traditional painting by using Procreate as a simple photo editor.

Import your photo, erase the background, flip it, resize it, and even trace it. You can manipulate your references and cut, paste, and stitch the layers together.

Everything you do can be saved or undone. There is full creative control.

Get started with Procreate with a real course. Brad has 37 lessons, over 23,000 students, and 99% positive reviews. Find it on Domestika

This is the Course I Bought on Domestika

Can I Use Procreate Even If I Can’t Draw?

If you’re wondering if you can use Procreate even if you can’t draw, the answer is yes!

Procreate has tools to help you learn to draw, like the revolutionary Quickshape feature for instance, which draws perfect shapes for you.

You can add a grid if you want to, and use the ‘drawing assist’ feature to straighten lines and correct perspective. You can even balance out an awkward drawing by correcting the symmetry. No more wonky butterflies woohoo!

When you learn to add layers you’ll understand how easy it is to build a design or illustration from the bottom up. Each layer is disposable, keep it or ditch it. It’s up to you.

The whole Procreate experience allows you to experiment to your heart’s content.

Find a PROCREATE COURSE that suits you

What is Good About Using Procreate?

The Drawing and Painting Process is Intuitive

Using a stylus to draw and paint on a flat surface feels ‘normal’, in that sense it is easy to get to grips with the process. Once you get used to changing the brushes, marks, and colors from a menu with one pencil, everything falls into place.

There’s a Great Selection of Brushes

The Procreate app comes with a great selection of brushes in the brush library. You can also make your own custom brushes and import 3rd party brushes from elsewhere, even from Photoshop.

A Seamless Workflow

Working on a newer iPad model with an Apple stylus pencil is a breeze, There is no lag to worry about, and zooming in and out, and rotating the image is instant. It has to be if you are to maintain your momentum.

The Time-Lapse Feature Is Handy

The Time-Lapse Feature is a great way to see how your project is progressing over time. Recording it back is a great way to remind yourself how you did things.

The other great advantage of having a time-lapse recording is to make tutorials. If you want to make Youtube videos or instructional videos on Patreon, this is a great way to do it.

If you want to watch how timelapse works on Procreate, Brad has a lesson in his Domestika Course

These reviews will help you to make an informed decision:

Saving Multiple File Types

Procreate allows you to save multiple file formats. PSD, TIFF, PNG, PDF, and JPEG files can all be saved and downloaded to be reworked later with different software.

Procreate can also be saved in the CYMK format which is essential for printing accurate colors. This is something you need for printing.

The Portability is a Blessing

I don’t know about you but I hate big tech. Procreate is designed to be used on the go on a tablet. It’s like having your sketchbook and mini studio all in one. It’s so convenient. I love it.

Read this post for another viewpoint: Are Drawing Tablets Worth it? Pros and Cons Guide

What Are The Drawbacks of Using Procreate?

Storage Space Issues

To use Procreate effectively you will need plenty of storage space, the more you have, the easier life is.. You can get by on 32GB but if you paint regularly and use your iPad for other resource-hungry things, the storage will soon fill up.

Plus the app slows down if you fill it up with too much.

A Frustrating Layers Limit

As well as plenty of storage space you’ll need plenty of memory space (ram) and the size will limit the number of layers you can make. Anyone making simple graphics or smaller artwork will be fine, but for very complex illustrations, the layer limits might be insufficient.

The standard Ipad models have 3GB of ram. Ideally, you’d like at least 4GB of ram for more advanced layering. The newest Ipad Pros have 8GB

Annoyingly Apple withholds this information on its website. You will have to search the net for the info. It’s safe to say that the more expensive iPad Pro models of recent years have more ram to play with.

I’ve just googled Ipad Air 3, which, at the time of this writing, is a 3-year-old model (2019) and surprisingly it has 3GB of ram too.

N.B. You can’t get a whizz-kid to upgrade the ram, it’s built-in. You have to buy a new Ipad. Typical of Apple.

You’ll Need Some Help For Advanced Features

The basic functions are very easy to learn and getting started is a breeze for most people.

It gets more difficult as you progress. There are so many hidden tips and tricks and multiple ways to do the same tasks that at some point, you’ll need some tuition.

Most information is easily found online for free, but you’ll miss some things that you didn’t know existed in the first place. Luckily there are plenty of active Facebook groups you can join, and some good but inexpensive courses.

It Feels Like Cheating

This is purely subjective. If you are familiar with using traditional drawing and painting media you might be underwhelmed slightly with the actual painting experience.

Related post: What Does Media Mean in Art Terms?

If you are able to adjust your expectations, you’ll be fine. The results are good look-alikes, but the ‘feel’ is still artificial, and there is another thing, will you feel like a fraud?

The problem with using a new medium to simulate a traditional one is the overwhelming impression that its fakery.

If you are making a watercolor why aren’t you using watercolor? For a commercial artist, the answer is obvious. They want results as quickly and easily as possible to please a client and get paid, but for a hobbyist? Isn’t it an admission that watercolor is just too hard to master?

I wrestle with this dilemma, others might not. It’s just fun after all, and it does make painting very accessible.

Here’s one tip that will help with your drawing and improve your experience. There’s a paper-like screen protector that does what its name suggests, it has the feel of paper. Get one, it makes a big difference.

The Classic Apple Trap

The Procreate App is only $9.99, but that’s of little help if you only use Android tablets. Will you buy an iPad to buy an app? For most people, that’s a no. A seasoned digital artist might, even though there are plenty of great drawing apps that work on Android

And there is an issue with stylus compatibility. Apple wants you to buy Apple products and Procreate is designed to work fully only with Apple Pencils.

There is one viable alternative, and that’s the Logitech Crayon. It’s a high quality stylus based on Apple technology and works with all models since 2018. It works in the same way as Apple Pencils BUT it lacks pressure sensitivity.

Other third-party styluses have limited functionality and will prompt annoying Apple pop-ups about compatibility issues. They’re a waste of money.

Typically Apple has a 1st generation and a 2nd generation stylus. Basic Ipads work with the 1st gen’ and lack some of the shortcuts on the more advanced 2nd gen’ stylus.

How Much Does Procreate Cost?

The Procreate app typically costs around $10, making it one of the more affordable options on the market, if you already own an iPad.

The cheapest Apple device that can run Procreate is the iPad 10.2, available as I flick through Amazon for about $300, but you could get away with an older model running iOS 12.4 or later.

The only way to use Procreate on an older iPad is to buy the app and send it to yourself as a gift. The older Procreate version will upload to your device.

Bear in mind that the app was only created in 2011, so if you are trying to get an old app on a very old device, it might not work or have updates.

You’ll also want (not need) to purchase a Paperlike screen protector and an Apple Pencil, another $100. it all adds up.

To get Procreate, for the cheapest price, you’ll need a basic Ipad 64GB, a stylus 1st gen pen, and pay for the app. Roughly $400 all in.

What iPad Models Work with Procreate?

According to in 2022, the app works with the following models:

Is Procreate Better Than Photoshop?

Think of Procreate as your sketch pad and Photoshop as your studio. Which one you prefer to use will depend on the way you work.

Photoshop has more features and in expert hands will produce amazing artwork, but it takes a lot of time to learn. For many users, Adobe Photoshop is overkill.

In contrast, you can get started with Procreate in just a few minutes by creating quick line drawings, and once you understand how it works, you can get great results quickly.

Learn How to Use Procreate with this Course by Scott Harris on

Procreate Masterclass How to draw and paint on iPad. An Udemy course

Procreate is more intuitive and if you have come from a traditional art background, it will feel more natural.

There are a few things Procreate struggles with at present. If you enjoy using vectors and masks, Procreate will disappoint you, plus Photoshop is preferable for printing.

In truth, using both is ideal, doing the body of the work in Procreate and the final adjustments in Photoshop. Alternatively, you can use Gimp, the free open-source photo editor, and learn just the stuff you need to finish your projects.

you’ll need tuition, it’s too difficult for trial and error

You’ll find these related posts useful:

Is Procreate Worth it? Final Answer

If you already have an iPad, YES, Procreate is worth it, in fact, it’s a no-brainer. Procreate is a one-time purchase with no renewal fee or recurring membership crap.

If however, you already use an Android or Chrome tablet and want to use Procreate for fun, I personally wouldn’t buy an iPad for that reason alone, not unless you have a clear commercial reason to do so.

There are perfectly good Procreate alternatives available, Krita, Sketchbook, and Artrage, to name but three.

Procreate is an awesome app. It has incredible illustration capabilities. The few things it can’t do can be done with free software in post-production.

You can also use the Procreate Pocket app on your iPhone.

If you have an Ipad, go to the Apple store and download the Procreate app now. You won’t regret it.

Wait there’s more!

Keep scrolling there are more useful posts to check out and a couple of super handy courses for you to view.

Advance Your Skills on Domestika

Procreate for beginners. Digital illustration 101. A domestika course
More like this on my Procreate Classes page

If you want to sell your art, the same way I have sold my art for over 20 years, take a look at my eBook below. I think you’ll be interested

Selling art made simple digital guide for starting a small art business

If You Want to Sell Your Art

Check this out!

Psst…it’s only $12.99!

There are more posts about drawing and business, have a look at these:

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Advance beyond the basics and give your illustrations some life. Another Procreate course by Brad Woodward


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The artist and Author Kevin Hayler

Hi, I’m Kevin Hayler
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy

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