5 Essential Gestures to Know when Designing in Procreate  | Screenprinting.com

Knowing the tricks of the trade helps screen printers fine-tune their process. When learning something new, figuring things out on your own can be time-consuming and frustrating. Procreate, the most popular drawing software on the market, has a lot of features that may pass you by. Here are five essential gestures that will improve your Procreate experience.

A hand draws a perfect circle around the word "Fresh" in Procreate

Procreate is a popular drawing software, compatible with Adobe® Illustrator. This software is great for printers who want to add a hand-drawn touch to their artwork. Cory Romeiser of Golden Press Studio teaches graphic designers how to use Procreate in a free online course. In one segment of the course, he touches on different gestures that will make your life easier when designing. 


Let’s go back to basics for a minute. Since Procreate is exclusive to Apple, you’ll likely be using an iPad. You can draw either by touching the screen with your finger or using an Apple Pen or other stylus. To zoom in, pinch either in or out. To fit the screen to your device, use a quick pinch. 

There are basic drawing controls, and then there are shortcuts. Here’s where you can really speed up your art creation process and become a Procreate master. 


If you don’t like the line or shape you just drew, don’t worry. You can undo it. To undo an action, tap the screen with two fingers. To redo that action, tap with three fingers. This will restore the action you just undid. If you want to undo a series of actions, press and hold two fingers on the screen. This will undo actions until you lift your fingers off the screen. 

Pro Tip: If you exit the artboard or the app, your artwork will save the way it was when you exited the app. You won’t be able to redo any action when you reopen the document. 


One of the most annoying parts of hand-drawing a design is trying to get a perfectly straight line or excellent shape. Procreate has your back. 


To draw a perfect line, simply draw a line and hold your finger/stylus on the screen. The line will snap into a perfectly straight line. Once the line is snapped, hold anywhere on the screen and continue to draw the line in order to make it longer or shorter. You can also adjust the angle of the line using the same tactic. This trick also works with curves.

A hand draws a line under the word "Fresh"


If you draw a triangle, but you’re not happy with it, simply hold down once you’ve finished drawing. The triangle will snap into a perfect shape, just like the line did. If you want to create an elongated triangle, simply hit “edit shape” and move the anchor points so the shape is just the way you want it. 


Procreate is equipped with a “predictive stroke.” Any wavy, wobbly writing will appear sharp and clean, just the way you want it. With enough practice, you’ll be able to write essays in Procreate (not like you’d want to). 



To enter full-screen mode, tap the screen with four fingers. It will remove the task bars and give you a clear view of your design without distractions. To bring the taskbar back, simply do another four-finger tap. 


Procreate, like many design softwares, uses layers to help you bring more depth and precision to your art. You can copy and paste elements from your designs into a new layer. Simply swipe down with three fingers and you’ll be able to access the full copy and paste menu.

This is helpful when you’re creating a complicated design with lots of detail. Having multiple layers means you can edit one section of your artwork at a time, without worrying about messing up other areas of the design. 



Pinching gets you pretty far in Procreate. Let’s say you copied and pasted an element into another layer, but now you want the two layers to merge together. It’s not a problem in Procreate. In the Layers Menu, simply pinch together the layers that you want to merge. Voila! They’re now the same layer. 

If you’re working on a design and need a different angle, you don’t have to turn the iPad all the way around. Pinch and twist to rotate the artboard. Remember, you can always quick-pinch to fit your board to the screen again. 

The copy/paste menu in Procreate


  • Zoom In/Out: Pinch 
  • Undo: Tap with two fingers
  • Redo: Tap with three fingers
  • Undo a Series of Actions: Press and hold two fingers on screen
  • Copy/Paste: Swipe down with three fingers
  • Straighten Lines, Curves, or Shapes: Press and hold finger or stylus until the line or shape snaps
  • Merge Layers: Pinch layers in Layers Menu
  • Rotate Artboard: Pinch and twist
  • Full Screen: Tap with four fingers


If a shortcut isn’t working for you, or you never use a certain action that’s assigned to a gesture, you can improve your workflow. You can customize the gestures in Procreate to match the way you work. Go to Actions> Preferences> Gesture Controls to access the Customization Menu. 

You can set up multiple shortcuts for the same action. Let’s say you want to have the option to double-tap in order to undo something, as well as tap with two fingers. You can change the shortcut settings however you want, as long as the same gesture isn’t servicing two shortcuts. If the double-tap you set to undo interferes with another action, you won’t be able to use it for both actions. 

If you don’t use certain shortcuts, you can deactivate them and use the gestures for another shortcut. It’s all about customizing Procreate to the way you work.

If you’re working on a design and need a different angle, you don’t have to turn the iPad all the way around. Pinch and twist to rotate the artboard. Remember, you can always quick-pinch to fit your board to the screen again. 

The "gesture controls" menu in Procreate

Procreate can seem like a daunting software to learn. There are many shortcuts that you can activate to make Procreate work for your style. With a basic knowledge of helpful gestures, you’ll be drawing like a pro in no time. 


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