Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (2022)

Procreate is an iPad app tattoo artists use to create tattoo designs way faster than they could on paper.

Designing digitally makes it easy to create perfect lines for stencils, present work to clients, and quickly resize designs during an appointment.However, learning how to create art digitally can be really frustrating if you don’t know how to use Procreate.

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (1)

To help, we’ll be breaking down the basic settings you need to know as a tattoo artist, including how to:

  • Use layers to organize your work
  • Add texture using brushes and create perfect shapes
  • Adjust photos to make better realism references

Table of Contents

Get the “Paper” Feel on Your iPad

Using the Procreate App

How to Organize Your Work with Stacks

How to Pick a Canvas Size

How to Use Layers

How to Add Color

(Video) Procreate Tips For Beginners

How to Use Different Brushes

How to Get Perfect Shapes

How to Create Realism Designs

Get the “Paper” Feel on Your iPad

The screen of an iPad can feel really slick, especially if you’re used to drawing on thicker sketchbook paper. You can make your iPad screen feel more like paper by putting on a matte screen protector.

Using the Procreate App

How to Organize Your Work with Stacks

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (2)

When you open the app, you’ll see your “Stacks,” which look like mini stacks of paper. You can name and organize these stacks however you’d like. For example, you can have a stack of “Finished Tattoo Designs” or “Art Prints.”

You’ll also see individual drawings. If you want to stack them together, hold down on one drawing and drag it on top of the drawing you want to “stack” it on top of. You can tap the title of the stack to rename it.

Pro Tip:

If you have a client getting multiple tattoos, you can keep all their designs in a stack. This way, you don’t need to search through your iPad for all their designs during the appointment.

How to Pick a Canvas Size

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (3)

Even though you’re designing digitally, you’ll still need to pick the “size” of your paper. If you plan to print off your tattoo design, you’d want your canvas to be the same size as a piece of printer paper (8.5” x 11”).

If you are working with bigger designs (for example, prints and posters), make sure to adjust the canvas to that larger size.

Pro Tip:

The bigger you make your design, the fewer layers you can use. If you're working on making a design for a poster, you're not going to have a ton of layers, which can make it harder to create a good design. Generally, we recommend sticking to 11”x17” for bigger prints.

(Video) All Brushes YOU NEED To Be Using In Procreate!

How to Use Layers

When you are drawing a tattoo design, you want to make sure each part of the drawing process is on a different “layer.”

For example, your sketch, your rough draft, and your final design will all have their own “layers.” If you make a mistake while you’re drawing, it’s easy to fix because you’ll only be working on that layer and all the other layers won’t get messed up.

Pro Tip:

(Video) Procreate Tips For Beginners

You can lower the opacity of a layer. For example, if you still want to see your red sketch but not have it be so noticeable, you can lower the opacity. To change the opacity, click the “N” on the layer.

Using Layers to Draw with Flow

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (7)

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (8)

We recommend having a layer with a picture of the body part you’re designing for. This will help you include the flow of the body in your tattoo design.

If you are using a reference image, you can also include that on its own layer.

How to Add Color

If you’re doing a design in color, it helps to have the color on a separate layer so it’s easy to “hide” the color and see just the linework for your plain stencil.

However, if you go and try to color on a new layer without any linework, you’ll be coloring “freehand.” This makes it super easy to color outside the lines:

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (9)

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (10)

Incorrect: Adding shading without setting linework as a “Reference.”

Correct: Shading sectioned off by linework.

To make it super easy to color inside the lines, go to the layer that has your linework, double tap it with your pencil, and make it a “Reference.” Then, you can easily add shading and color inside your linework on different layers.

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (11)

When you pick an area to fill in, the program won’t let you draw outside the lines. It’ll look like you always color perfectly inside the lines.

How to Use Different Brushes

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (12)

While you’ll want to use a plain pencil brush to do your sketch (Brandon uses “Perfect Sketcher”), you can use different brushes to add texture and your personal style. You can make your own or buy brushes online.

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (13)

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (14)

(Video) Pro Create for Tattoo Artists - basics

How to Get Perfect Shapes

If you want to make a perfect circle, all you have to do is draw a circle and hold it. If it’s more of an oval shape, but you want an absolutely perfect circle, you hold down the pen like normal and use your other hand and press a finger on the screen somewhere next to the circle.

This process will work with other shapes as well.

How to Create Realism Designs

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (15)

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (16)

The image above is pretty dark on its own. You can adjust it using the “Hue, Saturation, Brightness” option to see the highlights and any details in the dark areas.

If you’re doing a realistic tattoo, it can be helpful to have a couple different versions of the image printed off: a dark one, a lighter one, and one right in the middle so you can see all the depth in the image.

The settings you’ll use the most often are saturation and brightness:

  • If you want to make a color design black and gray, turn down the saturation.
  • If you want to see the highlights in an image, turn up the brightness.

Become a Tattoo Artist With the Artist Accelerator Program

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (17)

Having a career in tattooing is not only fulfilling, but it’s also the most stable way to make a living as an artist. However, for decades, the process to become a tattoo artist has been notoriously difficult.

The apprenticeship process requires aspiring tattoo artists to work 50-60 hours a week without pay for 2-4 years. That, combined with the toxic culture of abusing apprentices, makes getting into the industry almost impossible for newcomers.

That’s why we created the Artist Accelerator Program. Our online course provides a simple, structured way of learning to tattoo that has been proven to work by over 2500 successful students, with many of them having gone on to open their own shops all around the world.

Inside the program, we’ll take you through every step of the tattooing process in 9 clear, easy-to-follow modules and support you along the way within the Tattooing 101 Mastermind online community.

In the Mastermind group, you’ll collaborate with other students, get answers to your questions, and receive personalized video feedback on your artwork and tattoos from professional tattoo artists. With this friendly community of both new and experienced tattoo artists, you’ll never be stuck again.

When you join the Artist Accelerator Program, you’ll have instant access to the full course and the Mastermind community, as well as our 30-Day Flash Challenge and recorded interviews with tattoo artists from all over the world.

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

Procreate Tips for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (18)

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community


What brush do tattoo artists use on procreate? ›

Fineliners Procreate Brush Pack

This set of brushes was created from different styles of fineliner pens, often used for monoline illustrations and will work amazing as tattoo brushes on Procreate.

Is procreate good for tattoos? ›

But when it comes to tattoo design software and the level of functionality needed, if you're happy to change or are just starting out, Procreate is the way to go.

How do Beginners start tattooing? ›

How to Become a Tattoo Artist: 7 Tattoo Tips for Beginners
  1. 1) Get Ready to Take Your Time. ...
  2. 2) Consider Going to Art School. ...
  3. 3) Take An Online Course. ...
  4. 4) Get Advice, Experience, and Mentorship From Current Tatto Artists. ...
  5. 5) Invest In Good Equipment. ...
  6. 6) Never Stop Practicing. ...
  7. 7) Master All the Techniques But Find a Style.

How do tattoo artists draw perfectly? ›

Dip pens and tracing paper are valuable tools used to create what is called a “tattoo stencil,” and helps ensure a client will get exactly what they want from their ink. After a traced design is applied, the artist can use their skills to follow the lines and fill in the blanks for the perfect tattoo.

What drawing app do most tattoo artists use? ›

Adobe Illustrator Draw

This app is available for Android devices in the Play Store. It is another of the editing programs created by Adobe, like Photoshop, as mentioned above. On this occasion, they present this perfect application to design tattoos, focused on mobile devices or tablets.

What app do tattoo artists use for stencils? ›

1. Inkhunter. The most popular app to use for tattoo design ideas is Inkhunter. There are plenty of positive ratings and reviews that go along with this app.

What is the best surface to practice tattooing? ›

The human skin is not the same as a piece of paper so it's important to get used to different textures like rocks, oranges, and even apples. By practicing on surfaces that have curves you'll be better prepared for tattooing.

Is it normal for tattoo artist to design day of? ›

Almost all artists will make minimal changes and adjustments to the design on the day of your appointment so that you're sure to get the piece you want.

Is tattooing 101 worth it? ›

amazing course, with the best teachers you could find. friendly, and polite, with experience to match, tattooing 101 has given me the tools needed to rise in the tattoo industry. FIVE stars. Michael Briggs recommends Tattooing 101.

How hard do you push when tattooing? ›

Push the needle into your skin.

It's very difficult to push a tattooing needle in too deeply because of the design of the needle will keep it from happening, but you do need to make sure it goes deep enough, at least a few millimeters. As you do, start moving it along the outline of your design.

How deep should a tattoo needle go? ›

The tattoo needle goes through 1/16th of an inch of skin. That might not sound like a lot of skin, but it is really going through five sublayers of the epidermis, the dermal layer, and also the top layer of the dermis.

What angle should you tattoo at? ›

Migliaccio says you should insert the needle into the skin at a 45 degree angle, as if you're sewing the ink into the surface of the skin, and not poke it in too far — less than an eighth of an inch deep.

What Setting Should you tattoo on? ›

As a basic guide, when doing linework, you need to aim for a voltage of 7.5 to 8.5 volts. When shading, most tattoo artists will use a voltage of 8 to 10 volts.

Which iPad is best for tattoo artists? ›

iPad Pro with apple pencil is a great tool for tattoo work and can make creation of any tattoo design a lot easier and less time consuming. The 12.9 inch large screen will feel as big as a laptop, plus apple pencil will blow your mind with on intuitive and reactive it is.

What software do tattoo artists use on iPad? ›

Procreate on the App Store.

What is the best app to create a tattoo? ›

Users can review the online consistency of the app, and it's one of the most fantastic tattoo design free apps.
  • Download: Procreate ios Apps Now!!
  • Download: medibang paint Android Apps Now!!
  • Download: magic poser Android Apps Now!!
  • Download: INKHUNTER Android Apps Now!!
  • Download: Tattoodo Android Apps Now!!
29 Jul 2021

What do tattoo artists use to draw flash? ›

Media – Quality drawing pencils, markers and coloring pencils are the standard for most flash artists. Colored markers don't usually allow for blending and shading the way pencils do. Prismacolor makes some of the best colored pencils that are highly favored by flash artists.

What speed should you tattoo at? ›

Voltage and Hand Speed

However, if you're new to tattooing, we recommend sticking to 8 volts until you're comfortable with a quicker hand speed. You need to have the fundamentals down before running the machine at a higher voltage, or you'll be at a higher risk of chewing out the skin.

What speed should you line a tattoo? ›

Set the speed of the tattoo machine for line work. Some machines display a readout of voltage. Six volts is appropriate for lining. Most tattoo artists adjust voltage by listening carefully to the sound of the gun--it should produce a steady buzz or a hum.

What speed is best for tattooing? ›

Conclusion. Tattoo needles move up and down at a speed of between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The rate can vary depending on the needs and preferences of the tattoo artist.

What stroke is best for tattoo shading? ›

Medium Stroke Length: 3.5mm

That's because medium stroke lengths can perform a little bit of everything. It's most commonly used for color packing and shading.

How do you do the perfect tattoo shade? ›

Ensure that the needle is protruding no more than 1 mm (0.039 in) for the purposes of shading. Select the right speed on your tattoo machine to create the effect you're going for. A slower speed helps create a softer shade that you can build upon. Using a faster speed creates darker shading.

What brush is best for shading in Procreate? ›

The smudge tool is a great resource when shading and blending on Procreate. While any brush can be paired with the smudge tool, a brush from the airbrushing collection is a great choice given how delicate and airy it is when using it for fading and shadows.

Is it rude to show a tattoo artist another tattoo? ›

The majority of reputable tattoo artists will not copy another tattoo and will be offended if you ask them to. They are artists in their own right and are able to produce stunning designs of their own. By copying another tattoo, it's not only seen as rude, but it could be violating copyright laws.

How much does a tattoo beginner make? ›

Tattoo Artist Salary

Tattoo artists make $51,867 per year on average, or $24.94 per hour, in the United States. Tattoo artists on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $24,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $108,000. Location impacts how much a tattoo artist can expect to make.

Are Most tattoo artists self taught? ›

In fact, many of the top tattooists are self-taught and many old-timers started off working out for themselves the techniques involved.

What's the hardest part of tattooing? ›

It's likely most painful to get a tattoo on a part of your body with many nerve endings, close to bones without much fat, or where your skin is very thin.

Can you hit a vein when tattooing? ›

As each puncture is made, a small amount of ink is dragged down with the needle into the skin. The dermis contains many blood vessels and nerves. Therefore, there is a risk of tattoo ink getting into your veins. How much really depends on the skill of your tattoo artist.

What do you use to wipe while tattooing? ›

Use the diluted mix of green soap and water as needed during tattooing process when wiping down the area. “This could be during a color change or simply to cool and clean the skin during long sessions,” says Charest. Clean and sanitize the skin with the green soap solution at the end of the process.

Should I use Vaseline while tattooing? ›

During the Tattooing Process

Tattoo artists use Vaseline when tattooing because the needle and ink are creating a wound. The wound needs something to help heal, and Vaseline can act as a protector for your skin. While it may not prevent scarring and other changes, it can help keep your skin healthy.

How do I know if I'm tattooing deep enough? ›

So, how deep, to be exact, should a needle go into the skin? The answer is – approximately 1/16th inch deep into the skin. This means that the ink will be placed exactly between the 2mm of the dermis layer.

How do you make tattoo brushes with Procreate? ›

Open the brush the Hard brush in the Airbrushing brushset... copy the Hard Brush and rename it to Tattoo or something.... open the Tattoo brush... increase the spacing until the dots separate.

What IPAD program do tattoo artists use? ›

Procreate on the App Store.

What is whip shading in tattooing? ›

Whip shading is accomplished by inserting the needle into the skin and rotating the hand away from the needle's entry point on a rounded axis. You are doing whip shading correctly if the needle cannot enter the skin fast enough to make a solid line.

What do professionals use Procreate for? ›

There are a great number of professional illustrators and artists who make their artwork using the Procreate software. Users range from freelancers to influencers and lecturers.

What brushes should I use for ink? ›

Explore an Age-Old Medium with the Best Brushes for Ink Painting
  • Sinew Trading Company Happy Dot Brush. ...
  • Yasutomo Hake Flat Wash Brush. ...
  • Oriental Art Supply Super Flow Brush. ...
  • Johin Kengou Shinyou Brush. ...
  • Yasutomo Mountain Clouds Sumi-E Brush.
22 Apr 2021

What pen do artists use? ›

Technical drawing pens, or drafting pens, are the artistic tool preferred by architects, engineers, illustrators, and anyone else who depends on precise and consistent lines. They typically feature needle-point tips in assorted widths, such as 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm—making them ideal for any detailed linework.

What is the next best thing to Procreate? ›

There are more than 25 alternatives to Procreate for a variety of platforms, including Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad. The best alternative is Krita, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like Procreate are ibis Paint X, MediBang Paint, Inkscape and PaintTool SAI.

Which is better Procreate or painter? ›

Reviewers felt that Procreate meets the needs of their business better than Painter. When comparing quality of ongoing product support, reviewers felt that Procreate is the preferred option. For feature updates and roadmaps, our reviewers preferred the direction of Procreate over Painter.

Which Procreate app is the best? ›

Best Overall

Procreate is a fully-featured art-creation app that's chock-full of professional-grade features. You can import brushes or create your own, and edit everything from texture to flow dynamics and pressure curves. The interface is designed for the Apple Pencil, and it shows.

What is the easiest thing to draw in Procreate? ›

9 Procreate Drawing Ideas For Beginners
  • Flowers and Plants.
  • Simple Animated Art.
  • Recreating Photos Into Digital Watercolor.
  • Abstract Designs.
  • Handcrafted Lettering.
  • Tattoo Designs.
  • Personalized Drawings.
  • Water Droplet Drawing.
27 Jan 2022

How do I improve my Procreate skills? ›

15 Procreate Tips and Tricks For Beginners
  1. 1# Create Perfect Straight Lines and Shapes Every Time. @rheatibbey. ...
  2. 2# Fill Shapes in One Simple Step. ...
  3. 3# Make Your Own Custom Procreate Brushes. ...
  4. 4# Use Liquify to Warp Your Illustration. ...
  5. 5# Alpha Lock Tool. ...
  6. 6# Use Blend Modes. ...
  7. 7# Create Custom Color Palettes. ...
  8. 8# Opacity Slider.
30 Jun 2022


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