Procreate for Beginners project

Beginner lettering project in Procreate

I don’t know how it happened, but in the last few weeks I’ve become obsessed with Procreate. It’s been on my iPad for over a year, and I’ve used it here and there for some things. It was really helpful for my 20 days / 100 Notans project.

I guess the catalyst was watching some of Teela Cunningham’s tutorials. I first ran across her on Skillshare a few years back, and loved her course on Lettering Layouts. When I saw that she has a free Procreate for Beginners course I figured it would be a great way to get more comfortable in the app. In the course she provides an overview of the basic functionality and tools, then guides students through four different projects that take advantage of features like masking, brush customization, and rotational symmetry.

I completed the four projects she demos and then wanted to create one of my own design. During my daily Duolingo French classes, one phrase stuck in my head and inspired me: je veux lire en livre. I loved the way it sounded, and also the English translation — “I want to read a book”.

I started by creating a mood board of some visual inspiration. Then sketched some quick thumbnails in pencil, and brought my favorite into Procreate. Using the grid and some diagonal lines for alignment, I sketched out my design with my Apple Pencil, making some design adjustments along the way.

It was so much fun to learn how to use the app by mimicking the designs that someone else had figured out. I always want to skip that baby step and jump right into being a pro — but by focusing on building some muscle memory with how the tools work instead of also solving design problems, it was much more enjoyable. Teela did such a great job at making the projects interesting without being overly complex, and they definitely got me inspired to create my own version.

I tried not to overthink this project, and wanted to jump in while I was still feeling energized from the course. But if I were to take another pass at this phrase and concept, I’d spend more time in the preliminary concepting phase so I had more of a clear plan. I bumbled around a bit on this one, trying to figure out when it was done. If I had a more clear vision, I “done” would be easier to spot.

But the most important thing is that this was a really fun project! Getting familiar with the tools is helping me have tons of ideas for other lettering illustration projects.