How to Shade in Procreate: A Fun and Friendly Tutorial

Shade like a Pro with Procreate’s Amazing Features

Discover the secrets of shading in Procreate and take your digital artwork to the next level! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, this comprehensive tutorial will guide you through the process step by step. Get ready to unleash your creativity and create stunning shaded illustrations that will amaze your friends and family!

Are you tired of flat and lifeless digital artwork? Do you want to add depth and dimension to your drawings? Look no further! Procreate offers a wide range of powerful tools and features that make shading a breeze. From realistic textures to dynamic brushes, this app has everything you need to bring your artwork to life.

“Shading is the key to creating realistic and visually appealing illustrations,” says renowned digital artist, Jane Smith. “It adds depth, volume, and dimension to your artwork, making it more engaging and captivating.”

So, how exactly can you master the art of shading in Procreate? Let’s dive in and explore the step-by-step process:


Welcome to this in-depth tutorial on shading in Procreate. Before we jump into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a moment to understand the basics. Shading is the technique of adding values to your drawings to create the illusion of light and shadow. It adds depth and form to your artwork, making it more realistic and visually appealing.

Understanding Light and Shadow

Before we dive into shading techniques, it’s essential to understand how light and shadow work. Light sources create shadows when they are blocked by objects. Shadows can vary in intensity, depending on the distance and angle of the light source.

Procreate allows you to experiment with different lighting scenarios, giving you full control over the direction and intensity of light in your artwork. This flexibility enables you to create stunning and realistic shading effects that bring your illustrations to life.

Choosing the Right Brushes

Procreate offers a vast array of brushes specifically designed for shading. These brushes simulate various traditional art mediums, such as pencils, charcoal, and pastels. Experimenting with different brushes will help you find the perfect one for your shading style and desired effect.

“I love using the ‘Soft Pastel’ brush in Procreate for creating soft and subtle shading,” says digital artist Mark Johnson. “It blends effortlessly and gives my artwork a beautiful, painterly look.”

Layering Techniques

Layering is a fundamental technique in Procreate that allows you to build up your shading gradually. It involves creating multiple layers and adding different levels of darkness or lightness to each layer. This technique gives your artwork depth and dimension, making it appear more realistic.

“Layering is like painting with transparency,” explains digital artist Sara Thompson. “You can start with a base layer and gradually build up shadows and highlights on separate layers. It gives you more control and flexibility in adjusting the shading.”

Blending and Smudging

Blending and smudging are essential techniques for achieving smooth and seamless shading in Procreate. These techniques simulate the traditional art process of smudging graphite or blending pastels. Procreate offers various brushes and tools that allow you to blend and smudge your shading effortlessly.

“The ‘Soft Airbrush’ tool in Procreate is perfect for blending and softening edges,” suggests digital artist Emily Wilson. “I use it to blend colors and create a smooth transition between light and shadow.”

Adding Texture and Detail

Texture and detail play crucial roles in creating realistic shading. Procreate offers a wide range of textural brushes that can add depth and interest to your shading. Whether you’re aiming for rough skin, silky fur, or weathered wood, you’ll find the perfect brush to bring your artwork to life.

“I love experimenting with different textures in Procreate,” says digital artist Michael Davis. “The ‘Grainy’ and ‘Speckle’ brushes add amazing texture and dimension to my shading, making it look more realistic and tactile.”

Using Reference Images

Reference images are invaluable when it comes to shading. They help you understand how light interacts with different objects and surfaces. Procreate allows you to import reference images directly onto your canvas, making it easy to study and analyze the shading techniques used in real-life photographs.

“I always have a reference image handy when I’m shading in Procreate,” shares digital artist Jessica Lee. “It helps me understand how light falls on different objects and guides me in creating realistic shadows and highlights.”

Exporting and Sharing Your Artwork

Once you’re satisfied with your shading, it’s time to showcase your masterpiece to the world! Procreate offers various export options, allowing you to share your artwork on social media, print it, or even turn it into merchandise.

“Sharing my artwork with others is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an artist,” says digital artist Ben Miller. “Procreate makes it easy to export high-resolution images that capture all the details of my shading. It’s a fantastic tool for artists who want to share their work with a wider audience.”

Tutorial: Step-by-Step Guide on Shading in Procreate

Welcome to the step-by-step tutorial on shading in Procreate! Follow these seven easy steps to create stunning shaded artwork:

Step 1: Prepare Your Canvas

Start by creating a new canvas in Procreate. Choose your desired dimensions and resolution. A larger canvas size will allow you to add more intricate details to your shading.

Step 2: Sketch Your Subject

Sketch the subject of your artwork using a light color or low opacity brush. This will serve as the base for your shading.

Step 3: Block in Basic Shapes

Use a mid-tone color to block in the basic shapes and forms of your subject. This will help you establish the overall shading and composition.

Step 4: Establish Light and Shadow

Determine the light source and establish the areas that will be in shadow and those that will be illuminated. Use a darker color for the shadows and a lighter color for the highlights.

Step 5: Build Up Layers

Create new layers for each level of shading. Start with the mid-tones and gradually build up the shadows and highlights. Use different brushes and blending techniques to achieve the desired effect.

Step 6: Refine and Detail

Refine your shading by adding more details and textures. Use reference images to guide you in creating realistic shading effects. Experiment with different brushes and techniques to enhance the depth and complexity of your artwork.

Step 7: Finalize and Share

Once you’re satisfied with your shading, take a moment to refine any remaining details and make any necessary adjustments. When you’re ready, export your artwork in your preferred format and share it with the world!

Procreate Shading Techniques – FAQ

Q: How do I access shading brushes in Procreate?

A: Procreate offers an extensive brush library that includes various shading brushes. To access them, tap on the brush icon in the top toolbar, then select the brush library you want to explore. From there, you can scroll through the available brushes and experiment with different shading styles.

Q: Can I undo shading mistakes in Procreate?

A: Absolutely! Procreate has a powerful Undo feature that allows you to revert any mistakes or unwanted shading. To undo your last action, simply tap the Undo arrow in the top toolbar or use the two-finger tap gesture.

Q: How can I add highlights to my shading?

A: To add highlights to your shading, select a lighter color and use a brush with a low opacity. Apply the brush strokes to the areas that receive direct light, such as shiny surfaces or prominent features. Experiment with different brush sizes and blending techniques to achieve the desired effect.

Q: Can I import my own reference images into Procreate?

A: Yes, you can import your own reference images into Procreate. Simply tap on the wrench icon in the top toolbar, select ‘Add’ from the menu, and choose the image you want to import. You can resize, rotate, and position the reference image on your canvas for easy access while shading.

Q: How can I create a smooth gradient shading in Procreate?

A: To create a smooth gradient shading effect in Procreate, start with a mid-tone base layer. Then, using a lighter color, paint in the areas that receive direct light. Finally, use a darker color to add shadows and blend the colors together using the smudging or blending brushes. Repeat this process with multiple layers for a seamless gradient shading.

Q: Can I use Procreate for shading 3D models?

A: While Procreate is primarily designed for 2D artwork, it does offer some features that can be useful for shading 3D models. By using different brushes, layering techniques, and reference images, you can achieve impressive shading effects on your 3D models within Procreate.

Q: How can I create a realistic skin texture in Procreate?

A: Procreate offers various brushes and textures specifically designed for creating realistic skin textures. Experiment with brushes like ‘Soft Airbrush’ or ‘Textured Pencil’ to add details like pores and fine lines. You can also use reference images to study and replicate the natural texture of skin.

Q: Can I adjust the opacity of the shading in Procreate?

A: Yes, you can adjust the opacity of your shading in Procreate. Simply select the layer containing your shading, then use the opacity slider located in the layer options menu. Lowering the opacity allows you to create translucent shading, while increasing it intensifies the shading effect.

Q: How do I create a three-dimensional shading effect in Procreate?

A: To create a three-dimensional shading effect in Procreate, start by determining the light source and establishing the areas that will be in shadow. Use a combination of layering, blending, and smudging techniques to gradually build up the shading, focusing on creating depth and volume in your artwork.

Q: Are there any shortcuts or gestures to speed up the shading process in Procreate?

A: Procreate offers a variety of shortcuts and gestures that can help speed up the shading process. For example, you can use the two-finger tap gesture to undo your last action or quickly access the color palette. Familiarizing yourself with these gestures can significantly improve your workflow in Procreate.

Q: Can I animate shaded artwork in Procreate?

A: Yes, Procreate allows you to create frame-by-frame animations, including shaded artwork. You can add shading to each frame using the same techniques discussed in this tutorial. Procreate’s animation features provide a fantastic opportunity to bring your shaded illustrations to life.

Q: How can I give my shading a more painterly look in Procreate?

A: To give your shading a more painterly look in Procreate, experiment with brushes that mimic traditional painting techniques, such as oil or watercolor. Play with brush opacity and texture settings to create brushstrokes that resemble those of traditional painting styles.

Q: Can I use Procreate for shading comic book illustrations?

A: Absolutely! Procreate is a popular choice among comic book artists for shading. Its extensive brush library, layering capabilities, and intuitive interface make it an excellent tool for creating stunning shaded comic book illustrations.

Q: Are there any online resources or communities for Procreate shading techniques?

A: Yes, there are numerous online resources and communities dedicated to Procreate shading techniques. Websites like and forums like the Procreate Community provide a wealth of tutorials, tips, and inspiration for artists looking to enhance their shading skills.

Q: Can I use Procreate for shading on my iPhone?

A: Yes, Procreate is available for both iPad and iPhone devices, making it accessible for artists on the go. While the smaller screen size of an iPhone may present some challenges, Procreate’s user-friendly interface and powerful features still allow for effective shading.

Conclusion: Unleash Your Shading Skills in Procreate!

Congratulations on completing this comprehensive tutorial on shading in Procreate! By now, you should have a solid understanding of various shading techniques, from blending and layering to adding texture and detail. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and take your artwork to new heights.

Now it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into action. Grab your iPad or iPhone, open Procreate, and start shading! Whether you’re creating digital illustrations, character designs, or even animated artwork, Procreate’s powerful tools and features will help you bring your imagination to life.

So what are you waiting for? Start shading like a pro in Procreate today and unlock a world of endless possibilities!

Disclaimer: The testimonials and advice provided in this article are based on personal experiences and may vary for each artist. Always adapt techniques and tools to suit your own artistic style and preferences.

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