Six unconventional Procreate drawing ideas for beginners

Are you stuck in front of a blank canvas? Here are six unconventional ideas to draw in Procreate.
Last updated
October 15, 2022
How to cultivate ideas to draw in Procreate
How to cultivate ideas to draw in Procreate

Whether you want to draw more with your kids, communicate ideas more clearly in your presentations, or simply enjoy your vacations in a more exciting way, drawing on Procreate gives you a new perspective to view the world.

While I love drawing with a pencil and paper, being able to draw on Procreate is much easier to do if you want to publish at the end. It's so simple, from drawing to publishing. You might think, "what's easier than using paper and pencils?" Well, it's a bit more difficult to trace and copy photographs without buying fancy drafting paper. Using the Procreate app for your digital illustrations allows you to import photos, giving you the ability to trace them in your unique style.

What do you need to start in the Procreate app?

Create original art by remixing your ideas

When we learn a new skill—like cooking—we rarely attempt to create something from scratch. We usually follow a recipe until we get better, learning how to measure ingredients, what certain foods look like, and how to follow instructions.

The same thing goes for drawing in Procreate. Too many Procreate tutorials try to get you to look at a blank page and tell you to draw while looking at their video. Instead, it’s easier to copy or trace images, focusing on creating a mental image of the objects we're drawing.

Don't draw from a blank canvas in Procreate

It's not easy staring at a blank canvas, wondering what you should draw. Worse, if you don't consider yourself an artist, you'll likely shut it down even before you know what you're capable of.

The best way to learn at first is by copying or tracing in our case. We'll use digital photos, Google images, or personal ideas to do just that.

We'll also create hand-drawn text by tracing over something we typed out in Procreate. This is useful for headings of emails, websites, or even presentations where you want your handwriting to look professional and highly designed.

But mainly, I use this technique for my writing because it is difficult to draw ideas from brain to paper. If I need to draw a hand in Procreate, I'll take a picture of myself and trace them in my style. I find this helps me spend less time being frustrated, and more time creating successful pieces that I am proud to show off. 

Six Procreate drawing ideas

Most Procreate tutorials highlight digital illustration ideas based on the artwork of other artists. I find it more helpful to search our stories and apply our natural style to existing images.

Instead of replicating an existing drawing, come up with an idea for a drawing using words or ideas. I find that drawing an image from a quote, a book, or an article I wrote gives you a much more vivid landscape of ideas.

So, below are six things to draw when coming up with your own Procreate drawing ideas.

Idea #1: Draw your initials or your full name

Draw your initials or your name in Procreate
Draw your initials or your name in Procreate

There's nothing more personal than our name. So it makes sense that one of the first things to draw in Procreate is something personal to us.

I recommend starting with one letter because it's large enough to allow you to appreciate the character of your typeface. But if you want to get more advanced, you can draw your initials or full name.

Start by adding text to your canvas in Procreate

First, we'll type out our names or initials using the text tool. Then pick a font that looks fun to trace. I chose a serif font since I'm drawn to their elegance, and it's more interesting to draw the slopes from the columns.

Decrease opacity of that layer to 10% in Procreate

Outline and fill in your initials
Outline and fill in your initials

Setting the opacity back gives us the ability to see what we’re drawing over. Create a new layer on top of the one containing artwork, and outline your initials or name. 

Fill in or color your name

Color in your initials or name for a polished look
Color in your initials or name for a polished look

On a third layer, add color or fill in with one of the Procreate brushes under the outline layer you created before. For the image above, I used a black background and filled the shape in with white afterward.

Having a custom illustration of your own name is great for invites, websites, newsletters, or blog articles. 

Idea #2: Create a digital illustration in Procreate based on your favorite book

Article illustration based on, "Hello, My name is Awesome"
Article illustration based on, "Hello, My name is Awesome"

Sometimes the best Procreate ideas come from the things you love the most. I love to read, so some of my drawings come from themes or ideas from the books I read.

Take notes or ideas from a book

Illustration process for book title illustration

I start by taking copious notes. Sometimes a theme stems from a concept or a story in a book, just based on the notes I took.

I recently read the book, Hello my name is Awesome, and I had to write about it. It’s a book on naming, and so I decided to take a literal approach and use the keyword “Name.” But instead of just drawing out the word in Procreate, I thought about the refrigerator magnets you might find and how you can create any word or sentence with those magnets. So this idea was based on a scrambled version of those. 

Look for images based on your idea, and then import those into Procreate first. 

You might surprise yourself with an interesting illustration that took me less than 30 minutes to draw.

Lomi Compost digital illustration
Final book inspired illustration

Idea #3: Create an illustration of a favorite product you use in Procreate

Lomi Compost digital illustration

There are moments when you buy an item, and you either love it or hate it. Take a moment and illustrate it in Procreate!

I wrote a satirical review recently about an expensive Lomi Compost bucket, and all I did was take a picture of it on my counter and took another image of some strawberries to add to the image. It's a signature piece for my Procreate article because it's unique, and no one else has anything like it.

Take a photo or import from Google images and trace, outline, and color it in.

Process for product illustration
Process for product illustration
Final process for product illustration based on the Lomi Compost
Final process for product illustration based on the Lomi Compost

Idea #4: Create a remix from two images in Procreate

Nose meets ladder illustration

The best images come from the unexpected collision of ideas. Non-obvious ideas with a twist. You don't get here by drawing still life fuits on a table. There's a time and place for that, but unless you're dying to draw fruit, I recommend starting by tracing.

But what if you combined a picture of a watermelon sliced open with the insides filled with a with the water of a swimming pool? Images can come from anywhere, and sometimes it's more interesting to combine images that exist, to create something truly unique in the Procreate app.

Google image search

Composing a shot in Procreate from multiple images
Composing a shot in Procreate from multiple images

Start with a search of your favorite food. Or your favorite animal. Or your favorite plant. The point is, find something you love and start there. Get yourself excited—or weird—to draw is the best way to keep drawing.

Search Google images and pick two images to work their way into a single composition. I went with a couple of random images like a nose and a ladder.

Import your images into Procreate

This part requires a little bit of imagination. But you'll want to create a basic composition by scaling, cropping, or rotating your images in a way that gets you 80% of the way there. You're going to trace over the composition in Procreate, giving you an idea to work with quicly.

Outline your images

On a new layer, start by outlining your composition with a pencil or pen, by directly tracing over your own image. Add a new layer for color, and add new layers as needed for other parts of the image you want to keep separate.

Add color

Use one of the Procreate brushes and pick a color to add to your new layer. I place the color layers underneath the outline layer so there is no overlapping of the two.

Idea #5: Draw a signature stamp in Procreate

Process for creating your own watermark stamp

Creating a simple signature stamp is a fun way to personalize the drawings you want to share or use on your blog, Instagram, or newsletter.

Drawing ideas in Procreate gives you a lot of freedom to explore, but to also quickly export it and use it immediately.

Start by drawing out and exploring the letters of your name. Play with your initials, your signature, and get everything on the page. Try different combinations of your name in a stack, boxed in, horizontally on a line, or even in a circle.

Final watermark stamp

Once you create your signature, export it as its own image and use it on all your future digital illustrations!

Idea #6: Combine images from pop culture

Pop culture reference based illustration
Pop culture reference based illustration

You know the saying, "If you're getting something for free, you're the product." In other words, we're being bombarded by cultural ads every single day, demanding our attention. If you're not careful, you'll drown in information. But, instead of drowning, you can draw your way out of it by creating. Like I did with this compost bucket.

Use the cultural moments as an opportunity to take images and icons to transform your ideas into art. Iconic pieces are waiting to be remixed for the cultural zeitgeist that seems to change on a daily basis.

Look around you, and you'll notice what is demanding our attention. Save these images, quotes, story ideas, and bring them into Procreate. Trace them, copy them, remix them, and export them into your own cultural art moment.

Pop culture process illustration

Get started drawing ideas in Procreate!

Being able to create original artwork can set your writing or posts apart from everyone else. But most importantly, being excited about what you can create on a daily basis is how you stick to it for the long haul. Hopefully this tutorial will help you in your Procreate journey.


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