Procreate for iPad Art App Review

Unleash Your Artistic Potential with Procreate for iPad

Procreate for iPad
Procreate for iPad. © Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

Publisher's Site

What is Procreate?
Procreate is a digital painting app designed specifically for the iPad. Procreate offers exceptional performance, an elegant user interface, powerful layers support, hundreds of brush presets (including pens, pencils, and abstract tools), and the ability to import, create, and share custom brushes. Since my last review of Procreate, the company has addressed nearly all of my listed "cons" and continues to enhance the app beyond my expectations.

Version Reviewed: Procreate 1.9.1

Cost and Compatibility: Regular price $4.99. Compatible with iPads running iOS 6.0 or higher.

Procreate Pros:

  • Highly responsive--zero stroke lag
  • Simple and intuitive user interface quickly toggles off or on, and doesn't get in the way
  • Includes hundreds of brush presets, and lets you create custom brushes, import and share brush presets
  • Work is saved automatically in the background
  • Right or left-handed option for user interface
  • Supports large canvas sizes (up to 4096 x 4096px for iPad 3/4), and custom canvas sizes
  • Supports many pressure sensitive stylus pens
  • Records your drawings as videos that can be exported in full HD - very cool!

Procreate Cons:

  • Maximum layers are limited by canvas size.
  • No free version to sample the app.

Procreate Description

  • Well-designed user interface which is simple, yet powerful
  • Paintbrush, smudge tool, and eraser all share the same brush library
  • Import and create custom brushes; adjust a variety of brush attributes (30 customizable settings) such as shape, grain, speed, scatter, and spacing
  • Adjust size and opacity of painting tools quickly and with precise controls
  • Powerful layers: Use up to 128 layers (maximum layers depends on canvas size); merge, duplicate, and reorder layers; adjust layer opacity; layer visibility toggle; alpha transparency and 17 blending modes; layer transformations and distortion
  • 250 levels of undo and redo, with auto-saving of work in progress
  • HSL color picker, favorite color swatches, and tap-hold to pick colors from the canvas
  • Import images from device, iTunes, or Dropbox, and export canvas to Photos, iTunes, Twitter, Dropbox, Facebook, Weibo and email
  • Export Procreate work as layered native Procreate file, layered Photoshop document (PSD), and transparent PNG or JPEG files
  • Gallery allows browsing small previews of your artwork and duplicating, stacking, naming, sharing, exporting, and deleting it
  • Records your canvas in 1080p full-HD resolution video; videos can be saved to Photos, uploaded to Dropbox, exported to iTunes or emailed
  • Supports popular pressure sensitive stylus pens including Hex3 JaJa, Pogo Connect, Jot Touch, and Wacom Intuos Creative

Working with Procreate

Procreate from Savage Interactive is a painting app for iPad which has been developed specifically for the iPad platform, and only the iPad platform. In other words, it did not originate as an iPhone or desktop PC app and was later adapted for the iPad, as is the case with many other art apps. Procreate has come a long way since my original review of version 1.01, eliminating almost every one of my "cons" from that review, while maintaining performance, intuitive workflow, and adding innovative new features.

Procreate's user interface is strikingly simplistic, yet once you begin working with the app, you begin to realize how powerful and elegant it is. All the features are readily accessible, and the company is quick to issue updates and address issues. When I was reviewing several pressures-sensitive stylus pens around the time that iOS 7 was released, Procreate was one of the first art apps to work with all of them without issues. Continued on page 2...

Publisher's Site

Publisher's Site

Procreate User Interface and Performance

The most striking thing about Procreate is not the depth of features--although it does have many unique offerings--but how incredibly 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 - and truly allows you to immerse yourself in the painting experience.

Unlike many mobile painting apps, there is zero stroke lag when painting in Procreate. This responsiveness is something you can truly appreciate if you enjoy working with a smudge tool for blending colors. Another thing I like about Procreate is that I can rotate my iPad as I work and the canvas stays in place, but the user interface rotates so the tools are always oriented to my drawing position.

Procreate Brushes and Layers

Procreate comes with hundreds of brush and tool presets, and is the first app I know of that enabled you to create your own custom brushes directly on the device. This is done by allowing you to import images for the brush shape and texture and then setting the parameters of the brush attributes such as spacing, rotation, and so on. Not only that, but you can share you 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. Although the maximum number of layers is limited by the canvas size, you can work with blending modes, lock layer transparency, merge layers, and so on.

Procreate and Third-Party Devices

Procreate is quick to add support for many third-party devices, and currently supports these pressure-sensitive stylus pens: Adonit Jot Touch, Hex3 JaJa, Pogo Connect, and Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus.

The Wacom iPad stylus was released fairly recently at the time of this writing, and Procreate was one of the first apps to support it. I personally used all those mentioned except for the JaJa, and they worked well in Procreate 1.9.1. It's worth noting, however, that Procreate does not incorporate palm rejection with these stylus products, due to limitations of iOS and conflicts with multi-touch gestures. (See FAQ.)

Getting Help in Procreate

Help for Procreate is available though an in-app quick start guide, as well as a detailed 189-page handbook you can download from within the app. Links are provided for the busy Procreate Community forum, online tutorials, and customer support.


Procreate is no longer the newcomer app it was when I first reviewed it, and has proved to be one of the more innovative and enjoyable iPad art apps to work with. Whether you are a professional artist or you just like to dabble with art, Procreate for iPad is one you'll definitely want to check out. If you only get one art app for your iPad, Procreate is the one to get. If you need more convincing, download the handbook, linked above, to get a better idea of Procreate's features before shelling out a fiver.

Procreate in the iTunes App Store

Publisher's Site

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.