Procreate for Comics: My Learning Curve.

The Procreate iPad app is a great bargain. It cost $12.99 in the U.S. It was under $10 when I got it in 2020, half the price of my monthly Photoshop subscription. Procreate is intuitive. It comes with lots of crisp tutorials, but I wasn’t able to teach myself to the point that I would want to share my work. I found a class that helped me a lot.

In January, 2022, I enrolled in an online course in Udemy called Procreate Solid Foundations. The teacher, Simon Foster, is based in Manchester, England. The class has 18 hours of video tutorials. Simon, pictured below, is affable and knowledgeable.

I recommend this course for anyone just getting Procreate. If you do a search for Udemy coupons you can often find this class on sale for $20 or less.

Lately, I’ve been drawing a comic strip for the Sunday HaHa. The Sunday HaHa offers free comics ever Sunday by children’s book creators, including the page’s founders Mika Song and Jen De Oliveira.

95% of ‘Small Word Rat and Big Word Rat’ is done in Procreate. It is easier to refine the type in Photoshop, so I haven’t given up my Adobe subscription. I’ll share some images here to give you an idea of my process.

I begin, as always, with pencil and paper. Then ink. Above is the very rough ink over the even rougher pencil sketch. Below is the finished strip for the Sunday Haha.

Here is how I do the lettering. First I letter the text, then I draw the speech bubble around it on a separate layer. I spill white into that bubble, then rearrange the layers so the text on top. I added the “?” to the text before exporting the final art.

I drew a dozen “Small Word Rat and Big Word Rat” strips before I realized the little bird should have a name. It needed to be short enough that Small Word Rat could say it. She is a Wren named Jen.

Not only am I getting a feel for Procreate, I’m getting a feel for the characters. If someone uses small words it doesn’t mean they are are unintelligent. Both Small Word Rat and Big Word Rat are clever. They understand each other most of the time. Sometimes we need Jen to ask for a bit of clarification.

I hope to do more strips to the Sunday Haha. Meanwhile, I’ve posted more Small Word Rat and Big Word Rat on my website See you there.

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