The Easiest Way To Create Lettering With Procreate & iPad Pro
In this lesson, I’m going to teach you how to create a lettering piece using nothing but Procreate’s built-in tools and a photo background. We’ll be lettering the words ‘No Limits’ on top of this photo from Unsplash.
The first thing we’re going to start with is our guidelines. These are important as they ensure our letters are the same height throughout the full word, which will give this piece a cohesive, intentional feeling.
Using the pencil tool in Procreate, I’m going to draw a horizontal line, but keep my Apple Pencil touching the screen when I finish, not removing it. After a few seconds, Procreate will convert my shaky line into a perfectly straight line, as if ruled by a ruler.
The last thing to do for these guidelines is to touch the screen with a second finger, while still holding the Pencil to the screen. This locks our new straight line to a horizontal angle. Voila! A perfectly straight guideline! Do the same for a second below it and you’re good to go 👍
Within these guidelines, we want to sketch out the rough shape of our word. This is the stage for being messy, for experimenting, for playing around with what shape we want our letters to take, to place flourishes, links, and shapes within each letter.
You’ll notice I’m using the shape of the T’s crossbar to house the simpler ‘No’; this is what this stage is for, playing around with the placement of elements like this and finding out where they work the best. 99% of our piece is preparation!
Get your word as mapped out as you can in this stage, and don’t be afraid to erase and re-do. This is your time to go crazy! It’s best to try out a million different options here when it’s easy to erase and re-do, than later on in this piece when you’ve started locking elements in.
Here’s what my skeleton sketch looked like:
Once you’re happy with your sketch, create a new layer and call it ‘lineart’. Here’s where we start to flesh out our piece. You’ve built the skeleton, now we add some weight and shape to it.
Before we start drawing on this layer, though, tap on your ‘sketch’ layer with two fingers. This opens up Procreate’s opacity controls. Slide your finger from right to left on the screen while the opacity controls are active to turn the opacity of your sketch down to 40% or 50% – we don’t want this sketch to be overly distracting while we use it to build our lettering.
Done? Excellent! Now we can go back to our ‘lineart’ layer and start on the fun stuff. Draw over your skeleton sketch, still using Procreate’s pencil tool, and create each letter as if it’s been drawn with a brush or a brush pen, imagining the shapes each letter take when created by a brush, and utilising the idea of downstrokes being thick and upstrokes being thin.
If you’re not sure how to do this make sure you sign up for the free Lettering Studio email course here or at the form at the bottom of this tutorial before going further, I’ll take you through everything you need to know there 😊
Move through your full sketch, adding cleaner line art over the top, mapping out the shapes of each of the letters, until you have the word complete. This doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect yet! We’re still sketching, so don’t stress.
Once the full sketch is in place, with each letter’s weight and shape locked in, go back over each letter and refine it. This could be erasing parts that aren’t needed, going over certain lines to make them stronger, and basically preparing each lettering for the finished product.
At the end of this stage you should have a nice, clean, solid drawing of every letter’s outline, no more changes needed. Make sure you’re entirely happy with each letter’s placement in relation to its neighbours, including underlines, flourishes, and connecting lines.
All ready? Awesome!
Let’s get filling in then! Create a new layer and call it ‘fill’. Select Procreate’s ‘soft pastel’ tool and start to fill in your outline.
The reason we’re doing this on a new layer is so that we can erase and change the fill and/or outline later without affecting the other.
Fill in all your letter’s outlines – thanks to all our preparatory sketches and line art this is the easy part, it’s basically colouring in!
Once this is done you’re 99% finished, there’s just one final step that’s needed. We’re going to tie-in the background image with our artwork. This is always a nice touch, whether it’s erasing parts of your word to have elements of the background overlap, or adding shadows like we’re about to.
See where the shadow of the backboard and hoop overlap the lettering? This is what we’re going to play with.
Set up a new layer and name it ‘shadows’. Select Procreate’s softest airbrush tool, and set your colour to black.
Now, paint on top of your letters everywhere that the shadow would be covering.
Once that’s done, turn the opacity of your ‘shadows’ layer down significantly, until it’s no longer aggressively back, but more of a hint of a shadow.
And there we are! Your piece is finished! Nice and easy, using just Procreate’s built-in tools and a photo background.
I’d love to see what you make with this, so leave some art in the comments for feedback 😊
See you in the next lesson! 👋
‘No Limits’ Monoline Lettering – Tutorial Package
Everything you need to learn how to create this lettering piece
Inside you’ll find:
- Full 16min video lesson and walkthrough, teaching you from start to finish in 1080p HD
- Full layered Procreate document to open on your iPad
- The original photo so that you can create the piece along with the video