Workshop 21: On Location with an iPad & Procreate

Instructor: Rob Sketcherman

Workshop Description

Sketching digitally is on the rise for many reasons – tablets and apps are becoming more powerful, making all sorts of truly mixed media options possible – watercolors on pastel, oil and ink washes – go beyond the limits of normal chemistry! The era of too-smooth, crude, synthetic-looking work is ending, making way for effects that can look wonderfully organic without the mess. This is an incredibly versatile medium that makes your bag lighter and is lightning fast to set up. Like learning any medium or tool however, it takes a little getting used to.

As digital sketching is still relatively new, we will begin with getting to know Procreate, the best art app in the iOS store. We’ll look at gear options including styli, cases and stands. Whether you use the latest iPad Pro or earlier iPads, I’ll show you how to set up your digital toolkit and customize the interface to your liking.

Digital workflows differ somewhat from traditional ones, and we will next go through some quick exercises that help you get to know Procreate and what it can do. Learn about working in layers, tweaking brushes and various process options for planning and executing your sketches.

With your new-found understanding of Procreate and its possibilities, we’ll then go on location and apply what you’ve learned. I’ll also show you what to do to prepare your files for print and show examples of printed work so you can see how digital work translates to paper.


Learning Goals

You’ll walk away knowing how to

  • use the best art app for iOS: Procreate
  • customize digital tools and brushes to suit your sketching style
  • use layers to plan and execute your sketches
  • learn specific digital workflows and processes for faster sketching
  • export your artwork for sharing and printing
  • and discover supplementary gear you can purchase to take digital sketching to the next level. 

Workshop Location

We’ll begin the workshop indoors at The
Manchester School of Art, as we explore the possibilities of Procreate
on your iPads, then head up to the lovely rooftop terrace and get to the
main event -sketching! Whether you’re into drawing people, plants or
places, there are subjects up there for everyone. 

Workshop Schedule

Introduction and Gear (10min)

We will begin with an introduction to the possibilities of digital sketching, and the best equipment to use, including stylus options and additional helpful equipment.

Getting to know Procreate (30min)

A series of demonstrations and quick exercises will familiarize you with Procreate and its interface. You will then learn how to customize important settings, set up favorite tools for optimal use, see what effects are digitally possible, and learn to create a digital toolkit to suit your analog style.

The Digital Workflow (20min)

You’ll do a quick sketch while exploring your digital tools to ensure you’re familiar enough with Procreate to sketch on location anywhere.

Sketching on Location (2.5 hours on Rooftop Terrace/Garden)

what you’ve learned and sketch. I will go among participants to help
and guide you, and we will end the session with a review of work,
sharing and Q&A.

Supply List

  • An iPad (iPad 3, iPad Mini or newer. Older versions are too slow and probably incompatible with equipment discussed.)
  •  Preinstalled Procreate app (USD5.99 or equivalent in the App Store)
  • A stylus for the iPad (You may use any stylus, although I highly recommend one that supports pressure-sensitivity. If in doubt, you can email me at for recommendations that will suit the iPad you use.)

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