Common Sense Review
Updated April 2017

Procreate

Outstanding art tool supports the workflow of seasoned digital painters
Common Sense Rating 5
  • A bunch of customizable brush choices for painting.
  • Usefully varied pencil strokes for sketching and drawing.
  • Choose from standard and custom canvas sizes.
  • A free, comprehensive Artist's Handbook is available as an iBook.
  • Import media from other applications.
  • There's robust in-app and online support communities.
  • The number of available layers depends on overall canvas size.
  • Procreate's iOS Settings.
Pros
Highly-responsive brush technology, intuitive interface with customizable tools and canvas sizes; video recording.
Cons
Steep learning curve for students lacking digital drawing experience; optimized features for Apple Pencil and iPad Pro only.
Bottom Line
For iPads, this is a best-in-class tool with enough pro-level features and technology, and some nice support resources.
Kim Alessi
Common Sense Reviewer
Other
Common Sense Rating 5
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Students familiar with digital drawing will be enthralled with the tools at their disposal, and the inspiring possibilities offered by the Procreate community's creations.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

Pro-level tools empower digital artists to paint, illustrate, and sketch with industry standard technology.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Robust support available; free, instructional Artist Handbook/Pocketbook available as iBooks; helpful online forums very active and responsive. Available in 13 languages.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Procreate’s best for older students and those with prior digital drawing experience, either in direct, whole-class instruction or for self-directed, individualized learning. For beginners, learning in tandem will help establish a common understanding of Procreate’s powerful toolbox and digital drawing vocabulary. Then, unleash students to run with their own creative flair. Consider lessons that focus both on elements of design and Procreate’s signature strengths. Explore Space using the Layers tool to bring perspective and depth to superimposed objects; study Line and Form using dozens of customizable brush and pencil strokes and textures. Use it to design posters for school events, yearbook, or class websites. Teaching Art History? Imagine layering painting techniques that have evolved over time and record/share designs using Procreate’s impressive video features. Students can easily share work with each other and showcase examples within Procreate’s gallery or online.

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What's It Like?

Procreate is an impressive, pro-level drawing app designed around a digital artist’s workflow. It's a stand-alone drawing tool for the iPad (there's a separate Procreate Pocket app for smaller devices) that untethers artists from laptops and desktops, freeing them up with liberating, mobile creativity. Optimized for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, Procreate is loaded with powerful features including custom brushes and pencils, advanced layering options, canvas sizes up to Ultra HD 4K, live and time-lapsed video recording, and more. Especially helpful are the customizable undo/redo, an interface showing number of available layers relative to canvas size, and the ability to assign certain functions to the stylus/Apple Pencil and finger separately. It’s highly-responsive, lag-free, and every tool can be customized with fine precision. Tap the + to begin a new project. Start with a blank canvas, import an image, or take a photo with the in-app camera. Export options include PDF, PSD, JPG, and PNG. Time-lapsed video can be shared via email and SMS, across social media, and to iMovie and iTunes U.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Procreate’s powerful and impressive enough to replace most desktop art apps, plus its mobility makes it ideal to sketch, draw, and paint anywhere. As a pro-level tool, it’s best for older and/or experienced digital artists in high school (or some students in middle school);  younger or beginning students just getting the basics down would benefit from a more focused experience. Procreate excels due to its advanced customization, unique brush system, high-resolution/multi-touch interface, and support. Power-users might lament the absence of a dodge/burn technique feature, however. Online support is robust, including forums and many how-to YouTube videos. Artist’s Books and Procreate Pocket (official user guides) and are available for free at iBooks. Now optimized for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, this particular pairing (tough for schools to implement, of course) creates unparalleled performance and results for the price.

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