How to Blend Colors in Procreate on the iPad
By David Weedmark
Procreate, the Apple Design Award 2013 winner, is a powerful tool for drawing or painting original artwork and photos. Just like art programs you may use on a PC, there are a couple of ways to blend colors using Procreate on your iPad. The Smudge tool works much like a dry brush on a wet canvas and can be used to blend two or more colors into each other. The other method involves blending colors on different layers by adjusting their opacity levels, much like graphic design artists do on programs like Photoshop. With either method, it's best to practice a few times on a new canvas before trying the techniques on a serious art project.
Using the Smudge Tool
Open a new blank canvas in Procreate, and tap the "Brush" tool at the top of the screen. Tap the "Color Selection" button in the upper right corner, and select a bright shade of blue from the Color Palette. Tap anywhere on the canvas to make the Color Palette go away, and then drag your finger from left to right to draw a thick line of blue across the canvas.
Tap the "Color Selection" button again, select a bright shade of yellow and tap the screen once. Drag your finger from left to right about a quarter-inch below the blue line to draw a yellow line.
Tap the "Smudge" tool at the top of the screen. This tool looks like a pointed finger and is positioned between the Paintbrush and Eraser tools.
Drag your finger down from the middle of the blue line to the edge of the yellow line and then again from the middle of the yellow line to the edge of the blue line. Note that this makes the colors smear across the empty space between the lines, mixing with each other. Repeat this process, dragging your finger up and down until almost no white remains between. This creates a series of vertical blue, yellow and green streaks.
Drag your finger from left to right across the vertical streaks. As you smudge the colors, the vertical streaks begin to blend, creating a blended green. Drag your finger up, down and sideways as needed until the yellow and blue lines blend into each other, creating soft green in the middle.
Practice additional techniques by changing the Smudge tool size and brush settings. The Smudge tool uses the same settings as the Brush tool. Tap the "Smudge" tool button and select a "Flat Brush, "Wet Flat Brush," "Damp Brush" or any other brush as desired.
Repeat the blending process using the Smudge tool with different pressure sensitivity. Increase the pressure of the smudge tool by dragging the "Pressure Sensitivity" slider up. This is the second slider on the right, with an icon showing four arrows pointing outward and forming a square. Smudging with higher pressure creates harder blends. Drag the "Pressure Sensitivity" slider down to decrease the amount of smudging, producing softer blends.
Paint a swatch of any color on a blank new canvas using the Brush tool. Click the "Layers" button in the upper right of the screen, which looks like two overlapping squares. Click the "+" button to add another layer above the color you just painted.
Tap the "Color Selection" button, and select any new color. Drag your finger across the first color. As you paint with the new color on the second layer, it completely covers the first layer.
Tap the "Layers" button again, and select "Layer 2." Tap the "Opacity" option. The options disappear even though the Opacity option is still selected. Drag your finger upward, and Layer 2 becomes more transparent, making the colors blend together. Drag your finger downward, and the layer becomes more opaque. Each time you drag your finger up or down, a dialog box appears showing the layer's opacity percentage, such as "Opacity 100" or "Opacity 88."
Tap the "Layers" button when you are happy with the blend. Tap "Layer 2" and select "Merge Down." The two layers merge into a single layer, and the blend becomes permanent.
- Using a stylus gives you more control when painting or drawing on an iPad rather than using a finger. If you use a smart stylus supported by Procreate, the amount of pressure you place on the stylus will determine the strength of the Brush or Smudge tool.
- Information in this article applies to Procreate version 1.8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.