Pattern design using Procreate

Welcome to the story of how I got over my technophobia of using the iPad to draw and why I now love doing pattern design using Procreate.

I’m one of those people that struggle with technology and tend to avoid using it unless I have to. Whenever I hear something with the prefix ‘smart’ my eye starts twitching ha ha! I like creating art with my hands and am not that keen on lots of screen time.

So I knew the hype about Procreate but had zero interest in trying it out.

Fast forward to July 2021 and I was stuck in bed following my first thyroid surgery. I had no energy to sit at my desk and I was sick of watching tv. I thought I can lie in my bed and draw… so it’s time to see what all the fuss is about, and took the leap to download Procreate onto the iPad.

This was the first artwork I did in Procreate using a photo as a reference:

my first proper Procreate illustration

I played around a bit more and realised, actually I can see how Procreate could be useful and even fun!

A handful of Skillshare classes and lots of trial and error later, and I have now discovered the joy of using Procreate for pattern design. I like to use it for patterns that have somewhat complex layered or abstract elements as I can achieve a seamless repeat if I switch my art between Procreate and Photoshop. I know you can do the entire seamless repeat in Procreate but I haven’t quite figured that out yet (yep still not the best at technology!).

The pattern designs I have done most of in Procreate seem to all have a very similar theme of being inspired by fish patterns. I have no idea why but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out:

I have also done some more realistic drawing in Procreate – this bird of paradise took me 3.5 hours to draw, whereas if I did this by hand it would take me less than 2 hours.

This was a great lesson for me to figure out that some things, like flowers, are easier and quicker for me to draw by hand, and if I am using them in a larger artwork or pattern I can easily blend them with digital illustrations in Photoshop.

So by playing around with pattern and illustration I have discovered how to make Procreate work for me – I use it to draw those things that take me less time than if I were to do by hand. This way I now see Procreate as another art material and so use it like my other art materials to achieve whatever look I am after.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and I’d love to know if you use Procreate and what you love most about it! If you’d like to see more of my patterns, just say hi for access to my full print library!

I'd love to know what you think!