How to shade on Procreate – Step by step tutorial

Today, I will explain something that many have asked me to do: How to Shade on Procreate? (Quick and Easy) This is based on my Youtube video, which shares the same title and can be found below. This blog explains some basic information about how to use soft and hard shadows accurately, and which brushes I like to use and why. Also, I will share a secret technique which has made shading much easier for me! I hope you guys enjoy! 

First of all, sit down, close your eyes and imagine: Where will the light come from? What will the shadows look like? Try to see the composition of the face in your mind. When you have an almost clear image in your head, then you can begin with hard shadows by taking a brush with hard edges starting.

how to shade on procreate before
This is my drawing before explaining how to shade on Procreate
Stap 1 - Draw the hard shadows
Selection tool

In order to learn how to shade on Procreate you need to mix the hard and soft brushes.  Here is an interesting technique that I want to share with you all: creating shadows using the selection tool. Basically, first you select an area that you want to color. 

selection tool tutorial how to shade on procreate easy fast
Step 2 - select the area you want to add shadow to
Step 3 - Take a soft airbrush and fill in the area (partly)

By using an airbrush, you can easily and quickly create a combination of hard and soft shadows. Because as you can see on the cheek, there is a hard shadow, although I will blend it out later.
I am selecting the nose because I want to add a light area on it.

As you practice this technique, it will become really easy because it helps you understand the face structure a bit better.

shading nose how to shade on procreate selection soft brush easy
I repeat step 2 and 3 to create a light area
how to shade on procreate
How the drawing should look like after finishing previous steps
Soft Shadows

After you are done making shadows with the selection tool, take a soft edged brush, I use the one from my cartoon-ish make up brush set, and start to make your soft shadows. This brush is handy because it’s very easy to create both hard and soft shadows, simply by pressing harder or softer.

In other words, if you apply less pressure, the flow of the brush is lower, which makes it blend the color in a softer way. But when you apply more pressure, it will create hard, sharp edges. The cool thing about this is that you don’t need to switch between soft en hard edges brushes. This way, you are in absolute control of the kind of shadow you create.

smooth brush how to shade on procreate fast and easy
Brush for easy mix of hard and soft shadows - The Extra Smooth Edges Coloring
Step 4 - Add more shadows if needed
After adding extra shadows
Blending

Further, I’ll take a blending brush from my basic portraits brush set. Then blend out some of the areas that are supposed to have soft shadows, and by pressing it with different pressures, I can control how the edge will be blended, to have a variety of soft and hard edges.

how to shade on procreate brush
Take a blending brush
blending shadows how to shade on procreate tutorial blend brush step by step
Step 5 - Blend edges out accordingly

Afterwards I blend every edge of the shadow made using the selection tool, even the hard ones, just a bit, using a very small blending brush, simply because it looks better. That way, it’s not as messy. Once I have blended everything out, you can see, for example, on her lips, that the shadow has hard edges when its closer to her skin, and the further the object that casts the shadow is, the more blended it becomes, or, the softer the shadow gets. I’ll give you an example, right here in the corner as to how it works. And if you understand this rule it will really improve your shading skills.

blending how to shadows shade procreate tutorial
Don't forget to blend out the hard edges from selection tool slightly with a small blending brush, to avoid pixel edges
how to shade on proccreate last step
While blending, mix the hard and soft edges (like on the upper lip above)

To this end, that is all I have for you guys today. I hope you all have learned something useful about how to shade on Procreate that you can apply to your individual styles! If you guys liked this blog, please show some love and you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and on Youtube
Until next time, take care, explore your creative side, and stay artsy!

Brush sets used in this tutorial:

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