I’ve been thinking about getting an iPad for years because I was interested in Procreate, but I kept putting it off because I already have a Wacom tablet and I didn’t really need a new gadget. Until this year, when I finally decided to get an iPad and Procreate and I wanted to see if Procreate is good for pattern design.
Procreate review: is it good for pattern design?
View my review on YouTube:
Tips for getting a new iPad
For a long time, the only iPad that worked with Procreate was iPad Pro. It doesn’t have anything to do with the app, but with the pencil. The Apple Pencil used to be compatible only with the Pro and so you needed to make a large investment in order to use it. Well, now it works with other versions of the iPad so you don’t necessarily need to get an iPad Pro.
I thought long and hard about the type of iPad I needed and I finally decided to go with iPad 7 and the first generation Apple Pencil. The main different between them is the memory and screen size.
I knew for sure that I wanted to be able to take my iPad with me so I wanted a smaller one. As for RAMs, it dependents on the type of artwork you normally do. Procreate is similar to Photoshop and you work with layers. The more complex your artwork is, the more layers you need and the more memory you need. iPad 7 works perfectly for the flat illustrations I make and I usually assemble my patterns in Illustrator.
If an iPad Pro is the better choice for you, you can also get an older version. Procreate will still work on that and you don’t have to spend as much money.
My first impression of Procreate
I love it! What I love most about it is that it has a quick learning curve. Even though you are drawing on a digital device, it still feels like drawing on paper. My Wacom tablet had quite a steep learning curve because the way you draw on it is a bit different from drawing on paper. Maybe newer tablets are different, but I didn’t have this issue with the iPad.
Procreate also has a quick learning curve if you are used to Photoshop. They are very similar because both work with raster images and you can use layers, different brushes and blending modes, but Procreate is not as complex and has many other cool features that I will show you soon.
My first complaint, and I knew about this before I bought it, is that you work with raster images and can’t create vectors. Vectors are images that you scale without losing quality and this is very important to me. I want my patterns to be scalable. I hope it’s something they will add in the future.
What I really love about it is how easy it is to create illustrations and pattern motifs. You can find a way to make them in your own style and I believe it even helps you develop your own style by playing with all the brushes and textures. It will definitely help you stand out among all the cookie cutter vector art.
If you are used to drawing everything by hand, Procreate will help you speed up your process as you can draw everything and then airdrop your illustrations to Photoshop or Illustrator.
So is Procreate good for pattern design?
As much as I love drawing in Procreate, I’m not very impressed with its pattern making tools. Well, you don’t really have anything that helps, but you can create patterns in a similar way to traditional pattern design. It doesn’t come close to how easy it is to make them in Photoshop and Illustrator, although it has a few tools that you can use to make beautiful tile patterns.
I think it’s great for making quick patterns that you can share on Instagram. I do that all the time and it helps me grow my following. Unfortunately, I feel it’s too slow and not very precise for a pattern collection or for an intricate pattern that you make for a client.
You need to be very careful to make sure everything is aligned and it’s not something I want to spend so much time on when I know there are better tools for this.
Do I recommend it?
Yes! I love it! I use it every day and I’m impressed by what you can do with it and how much it has improved my workflow and even my style.
I think it’s great for stickers, illustrations and even simple GIF animations, but it’s not the best tool for pattern design. Of course, you can still use it and you can create beautiful patterns with it, I just feel that Illustrator works better for me and I can do complex patterns with it.
Do you use Procreate? What are your thoughts about it?