Procreate for iPad App Review

Procreate is designed for sketching, drawing and painting

Businessman in office working on digital tablet
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Procreate is a powerful digital sketching and painting app designed specifically for the iPad. Procreate offers exceptional performance, an elegant user interface, powerful layers support, stunning filters, hundreds of brush presets (including pens, pencils and abstract tools), and the ability to import, create and share custom brushes. The app supports Apple Pencil and iCloud Drive and records each brushstroke as you work so sharing your work by video is seamless.

Procreate Pros

  • Highly responsive with zero stroke lag
  • Exclusive Perspective Blur
  • Gaussian and Motion Blurs
  • Hue, Saturation and Brightness settings
  • 64-bit color
  • 128 brushes, each with 35 customizable settings
  • Work is saved automatically in the background
  • Right or left-handed option for user interface
  • Supports large canvas sizes up to 16k by 4k on iPad Pro 12.9"
  • 250 levels of undo and redo
  • Records your drawings as videos that can be exported in full HD

Procreate Cons

Procreate receives overwhelming high reviews. It has been named an Apple Design Award winner and App Store Essential. This app doesn't have many cons; they are more of a wish list.

  • No animation tools
  • No free version to sample the app
  • Only available for iPad (although the company offers the less powerful Procreate Pocket for the iPhone)
  • You need to read the handbook to get the most out of the app

Procreate User Interface and Performance

Procreate's user interface is strikingly simplistic.

The most striking thing about Procreate is not the depth of features but how responsive and fluid it is to work with. This is partly due to the high level of performance, and partly due to the well-thought-out user interface that doesn't get in the way.

Unlike many mobile painting apps, there is zero stroke lag when painting in Procreate.

This responsiveness is something you'll appreciate if you enjoy working with a smudge tool for blending colors. When you rotate the iPad, the canvas stays in place, but the user interface rotates so the tools are always oriented to your drawing position.

Procreate Brushes and Layers

Procreate comes with hundreds of brush and tool presets and enables you to create your own custom brushes directly on the device, which is accomplished by importing images for the brush shape and texture and then setting the parameters of the brush attributes such as spacing and rotation. You can share your custom brush presets and import new presets from other users. The active Procreate Community forum is a good place to find and share custom brushes.

When it comes to working with layers, Procreate provides a great deal of flexibility. The maximum number of layers is limited by the canvas size. Use them to work with blending modes, lock layer transparency and merge layers.

Procreate and Third-Party Devices

Procreate supports only Apple Pencil on iPad Pro with tilt, azimuth, accumulation and flow settings. If you have a different iPad, you can use these pressure-sensitive stylus pens:

  • Adonit Jot Touch 4, Jot Touch Pixelpoint, Jot Script and Jot Script 2
  • TenOneDesign's Pogo Connect 1 and 2
  • Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 1 and 2, Bamboo Fineline 1 and 2
  • FiftyThree Pencil 

Getting Help in Procreate

Help for Procreate is available through an in-app quick start guide, as well as a detailed handbook you can download from within the app. Links are provided for the Procreate Community forum, online tutorials and customer support.