10 Common Procreate Problems and How to Solve Them

Procreate is a helpful digital art software, but it does have some issues. Whether you’ve wondered why your work looks pixelated, run out of layer space, or want to save time in your design process, there are ways to fix all those issues.

Here are 10 helpful tips for common Procreate problems.

1. Brush Size Changing When Zooming

If your brush size keeps changing while zooming in or out, it can disrupt your workflow. To fix this, tap Actions (wrench icon) > Prefs and toggle Dynamic Brush Scaling. Now you can work at the same brush size, whether you’re zoomed in close or working on a large overview.

Your brush size may also be affected if you have any issues with your Apple Pencil. Read our list of tips to try if your Apple Pencil is glitching in Procreate.

2. Can’t Find Previous Brush Widths

If you’re drawing, painting, or inking, and you need to reuse the same brush width later, there’s an easy way to save the width to come back to. As you move the brush slider to your desired size or percentage, a small box appears. Continue holding the slider in place with one finger and tap the + icon on the size box. You can also do this for the Opacity scale in the same way.

This saves the current brush size on the slider for the selected font, so you can access it later. Click the line on the slider to access saved sizes. It will save across all other Procreate files when using that font until you delete it. To delete a saved size, tap and hold the line and click on the size box.

Once you’ve mastered the brush sizes and opacity slider, you’ll easily be able to use the color picker. Read our guide on how to use the color picker and fill tool in Procreate.

3. Imported Images Become Pixelated

If you open an image directly in Procreate, then the document will be the same DPI—Dots Per Inch—as the image. This isn’t always as high as it needs to be for the best quality, and this can result in pixelated designs.

To avoid a low-quality design, open a blank canvas to your desired size and set a high DPI, like 300. Then import your photo to the canvas by tapping Actions > Insert a photo. The photo will follow the DPI settings of the document, rather than its original DPI—resulting in better quality.

4. Too Many Layers

Procreate only lets you have a limited number of layers per project. If you’re working on a large-scale project, your limit is less. If you find you have too many layers, it’s easy to merge multiple layers to free up your quota.

If all the layers in a group are to be merged, put your thumb on the bottom-most layer and index finger on the top-most layer. Then, bring your fingers together. All the layers between the top and bottom ones shall merge.

5. Drawing Intricate or Symmetrical Designs

Procreate drawing guides offer mirrored drawing, 2D and isometric grids, and perspective grids. These guides are helpful if you’re doing a lot of repetitive elements, symmetrical designs, or need precision at any point.

Toggle on the drawings guides by going to Actions > Canvas > Drawing Guide. Then choose Edit Drawing Guide to choose the type of guide and apply its settings. These guides help you draw complex ideas with extra precision you don’t get by hand.

6. No Drop Shadow Option

Procreate offers no native drop shadow feature, but there’s an easy workaround. First, duplicate your layer by swiping the layer left and choosing Duplicate. Select the lower layer, go to Adjustments > Hue, Saturation, and Brightness and turn down the Brightness.

Then, go to Adjustments > Gaussian Blur and slide your finger left or right until the blur creates a shadow effect. Use the Selection tool to move the blurred layer to one side, if desired.

You can add to this effect by lowering the opacity levels of the top layer. To change a layer’s opacity, tap N on the layer, choose Opacity in the menu and slide left until your desired result.

7. Losing Quality When Duplicating Layers

If you need to duplicate the same layer multiple times, it will lead to quality loss. There’s a way around it. Uncheck all the other layers on the layer palette, so only the one you’re duplicating is visible. Then save the file as a PNG: Actions > Share > Share Layers > PNG Files.

Recheck your hidden layers. Then, instead of duplicating the layer, insert the PNG as a photo by going to Actions > Add > Insert a photo. You can do this instead of duplicating the same layer, and it will retain the quality. Once you’ve finished your high-quality project, make sure to add your signature in Procreate with one of four techniques.

8. Colors Look Weird When Printed

Do you know the differences between RGB and CMYK? RGB stands for red, green, and blue and is the color profile for digital art and imagery. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and is the color profile used for printed art and imagery. The color profiles each use slightly different saturation or hue of colors.

In Procreate, you cannot change color profiles retroactively or midway through a design, so it’s best to set up the correct color profile before starting your artwork. If your art is only ever going to be shared digitally and not going to be professionally printed, it’s best to use an RGB profile. The RGB P3 profile will offer the best saturation levels for ultimate vibrancy.

If you’re creating artwork for print, especially professionally printed, then you should use CMYK. The colors may look slightly muted compared to RGB, but this means the colors will be accurate when printed.

9. Designs Become Pixelated

Procreate is a raster-based program. This means that when you scale your designs up or down, they lose quality. This is even the case while creating the artwork, not just in saving the file.

The best advice to avoid pixelation is to avoid scaling up or down as much as you can. The second-best advice is to create your artwork as large as possible, as you still retain quality when scaling down from a large canvas or layer. It’s when scaling back up that the quality loss becomes evident.

Work on the largest canvas you can. And if you must scale any layers or the whole work, try to do it only once. For some Procreate users, creating a very large-scale design may limit the number of layers you can work with, so keep this in mind when deciding how large to work.

Procreate has many menus, but it takes time to learn where everything is. Luckily, you can use finger gestures or Apple Pencil gestures as shortcuts. The default Procreate gestures are helpful, but they can be changed for your preference: go to Actions > Prefs > Gesture controls. Apple Pencil gestures are also time-saving. You can view, change, or disable Apple Pencil gestures in the same Gesture controls menu.

Default Procreate Gestures:

  • Tap the screen with two fingers to undo an action.
  • Tap the screen with three fingers to redo an action.
  • Scrub the screen with three fingers to clear the selected layer.
  • Pinch or push with your finger and thumb to zoom in or out.
  • Twist two fingers round to rotate your canvas.
  • Tap the side of the Apple Pencil to toggle between eraser and brush.

On top of the touch gestures, there’s also the QuickMenu. We’ve written about this before in our guide of tips and tricks to master in Procreate.

Procreate Just Became Even More Convenient

Procreate for iPad is already a convenient and helpful tool for artists and digital artists. Now you know 10 helpful features to make your Procreate projects less stressful, less time-consuming, and produce better results.

We have many Procreate tutorials, so you can easily test out these new tricks. Some of these tips are also helpful with other programs and good to know for any digital artist.

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