Have you ever drawn a design in Procreate and thought it was missing something? You’re not alone. Cory Romeiser, art director at Golden Press Studio, feels the same way. He created textured brushes so you can create weathered designs in Procreate for that perfect worn, faded look. Want to see it in action? Let’s jump in.
First things first: the design. Cory opens a new canvas in Procreate to get things started. He decides to draw a skull. He draws a few different types of skulls until he finds one that he likes: a skull with a beanie.
Once the sketch is done, he inks the final design on a different layer and cleans up the sketch to get a finished product.
INVERTING THE DESIGN
Now that the final design has been inked, Cory wants to invert the design so it looks good on a black background. To do this, he goes to the “Layers” panel in Procreate.
Create a new layer and grab the black ink (final draft) layer. Place the final draft layer above the new, blank layer and change the background color to a dark color. This shouldn’t be a true black because you’ll need to see the design overtop the background.
Now, head to the new layer you created and change the brush color to white. Color in the skull using the white brush so its outline becomes negative space. Repeat this process for the beanie in whatever color you want it to be. Cory chooses an orange shade and gets to work.
Now, go to the top layer that shows the dark background. Touch the layer’s thumbnail and hit “Select” to select everything on that layer. With the top layer selected, head back to the colored layer and grab an eraser tool. The bigger the eraser you have the better.
Use broad strokes to brush over the entire image. This will get rid of those black lines, creating negative space instead of a black outline in your design. You’ve successfully inverted your design.
Now, Cory gets started on the most important part: adding texture. A good practice to do before you make any texture changes is to duplicate the colored layer of your design. That way, you’ll have a clean palette if you need it.
To get started, Cory hits the eraser/brush menu and grabs a textured brush. Many textures in the pack are very subtle, so play around with the brushes and figure out which work best for your aesthetic.
Here’s four easy steps to create texture in your design:
STEP 1: CREATE A TEXTURE BASE
An important first step to creating an organically textured design is to create a base layer of texture over the entire design. To do this, Cory selects a brush from the pack, turns the opacity all the way up, and uses a medium brush size.
Paint over the entire design to set a base layer of texture. This makes the design look like it was printed on a canvas material and has weathered away in areas. Now you’re ready to start layering on more textures.
STEP 2: LAYER IT ON
The key to getting good textures is to layer them on top of each other to make it look natural. Once the base layer of texture is painted on, Cory chooses a different brush. He brushes it onto the edges of the skull, because the edges of a design show wear and tear first. He also adds some to the inside of one of the skull’s eye sockets.
Pro Tip: There’s no set-in-stone formula to create great texture. It’s all subjective, so play around until you find what looks good for your design.
For the next layer of texture, Cory chooses a denser brush and layers it on the eye sockets. Since this brush is a little more dense, he doesn’t brush it on as strongly. The texture makes the skull look cracked, which Cory likes. He adds more texture to different areas of the skull to make it look like it has cracked.
Now for the beanie. He wants to make the hat look very faded, so he keeps weathering the edges away until he’s happy with the outcome.
The goal is to make the skull and beanie look authentic, like they’ve been placed on a substrate and have worn away over time. To take this to the next level, Cory needs to add some texture outside the original lines of the design.
STEP 3: ADD SOME TEXTURE BACK
Cory wants to make the design look like the edges are breaking away from the main design. To do this, he needs to add some texture outside the skull and beanie. You can create another layer to do this, but it’s not necessary.
Head to the brush library and choose a finer, textured brush. Select the color of the element you’ll be adding texture to. Cory starts with the orange beanie.
Pepper some texture in outside the original lines of the design to make it look like the design is flaking away. Want bigger flakes? Choose a chunkier brush. Try to mimic what a design would look like if it was left on a substrate for a long time and eroded away.
Pro tip: If you don’t like something, you can always tap with two fingers to Undo. To redo that action, tap with three fingers.
Switch to the white color of the skull and repeat the same process. Make sure that you’re only adding texture outside the original lines where the main design has been textured. If you add erosion on the outside of the design, but the inside of that section hasn’t been weathered using a brush, it won’t look natural.
STEP 4: EXPERIMENT
Adding texture is subjective, and you can always go back and redo things. Experimenting is part of the fun. Now that he’s happy with the main design, Cory wants to experiment a little bit.
Cory takes a dense brush and heads to the left cheekbone of the skull. He wants to really erode it away to balance it with the erosion on the right side of the design. Then, he uses a finer brush and a standard textured brush on the outside of the cheekbone to make it look really weathered, just like he did with the beanie.
Pro Tip: Did you know you can use texture to erase texture? Simply select a texture brush, choose the color to be the color of your background, and brush it over the texture you want to erase. This will erase some of that texture, but not all of it. You won’t have to start over in that section.
Play around with the texture and design until you’re happy with the outcome. Once you’re happy with it, step back and admire your art. If you’re planning to screen print the design you’ve created, simply separate, print your films, and get screen printing.
EXTRA DIGITAL TECHNIQUES
There’s another texture that can take your digital art to the next level. Let’s get into it.
Click on a lower layer and create a new layer below your colored skull layers. Choose a black shade and choose a brush with a more paper vibe from the library. Make your brush as big as you can and bring the opacity down.
Using broad strokes, paint over the entire canvas. This texture brush adds a subtle paper texture to the background, so it looks like you’ve drawn your design on a sheet of black paper.
Now, heat to your main design layer. For Cory’s design, it’s the one with the skull. Grab your eraser and set it to the paper brush. Layer it ever so lightly over the skull. If it’s too dark, simply tap with two fingers to undo, drop the opacity, and try again. It’s like it never even happened.
With just a couple of brush strokes, you’ve created an awesome background texture that makes your design that much more authentic.
Adding texture is a great way to add depth to your design without much effort. By layering different textures you can create a rad design that looks weathered and distressed. Say goodbye to too-perfect digital art with textured brushes.