Intro to Layers

Brad Colbow
A free video tutorial from Brad Colbow
Freelance Designer and Illustrator
4.7 instructor rating • 9 courses • 59,400 students

Lecture description

Making a layer is easy, but how do the pros use layers? That's what we're going over in this section. And to do it we're going to be sketching and painting a strawberry.

Learn more from the full course

Drawing and Painting on the iPad with Procreate

Learn everything you need to know about Procreate with hands on drawing lessons. Now updated for Procreate 5.

05:06:34 of on-demand video • Updated February 2020

  • Users will have a deep understanding of Procreate
  • Create Speedraw videos they can post online
  • Create and import custom brushes
  • Have a basic understanding of how to compose and create a painting
English [Auto] We are ready to talk about lairs in the upper right hand corner of your tap on the little layers icon. You're going to see all of that laid out before you and over the course of the next exercise. We're going to be diving deep into all the different things we can do with layers and how we can use layers to stack them on top of each other to build out some more complex maybe not complex but some more intricate illustrations. One thing that I do a lot of is I tend to grab a pencil first and I'll sketch out with a pencil and then I'll lay down my colors on top of that. So I'm going to go over to my brushes and I'm going to go to the sketching section and I'm just going to grab a pencil. It doesn't really matter what pencil you use I'm going to use this one called peppermint and I'm just going to go ahead and start drawing. And the thing I'm going to be drawing today is a strawberry and what I want to do with these lessons is I want to make most of the things that I'm drawing pretty easy to follow along with and pretty easy for you to just say oh I can draw that so I'm going to be using some pretty basic shapes and some basic ideas that really hopefully anybody can kind of come along with. So if you're drawing along and you want to pause at any time to work along like if I'm moving a little too fast just just pause the lesson. Catch up with me finish drawing and then keep watching as we go. So that's what we're going to do. So let's start by drawing the straw bearing at a start with a circle here. And like anything if I hold my pencil at the end of the circle it's going to give me my shape. And then if I put one finger down on the canvas it's going to snap to a perfect circle. So this is going to be the start of our strawberry. And when you think about a strawberry it's not a perfect circle but we can take this circle and kind of make a shape sort of like that doesn't have to be perfect or clean. I'm a really ugly scratcher but it gives me a pretty good idea of what shape I want that strawberry to be. And I'm just going to kind of overlap it and kind of make it dark to give myself an idea of where that strawberry is. And then when I'm done getting the edge of that shape I'm going to just take my razor. And I'm going to take up that middle line and that strawberry because I don't really need it anymore. Now the next thing I want to do is I want to think about the stem at the end of the strawberry and the stem is just simply a line. Right. There's just a line but it's a little thicker than a line. So we'll add an end to it and we'll just kind of sketch in the end of that STEM and where that strawberry goes. There are also going to be leaves. Now I could go through how this would work on a 3D angle and say OK the strawberries round and we'll add our leaves that way but I'm going to keep it simple today. We're going to keep this more iconic than realistic. And in order to do that I'm just going to draw some triangles like I'll draw a triangle there maybe come down here draw another triangle like that and then maybe draw a triangle on top something like that draw a triangle this way and this will give us the start of the top of our strawberry. Now I'm going to take my razor after I've put in a couple of my triangles and I'm just going to come in here and I'm going to raise some of those inside lines so we can see it. OK. That's starting to work and then I'll just round up the top of those leaves. So I'd like to find shapes and things. And since my work tends to be cartoony or more like icon type illustrations oftentimes that really helps me understand when I can break things down into their basic shapes and sometimes of a shape looks weird like for example this left hand side of that leaf. I might just take my pencil and say oh I'll just round that off a little bit more over there and I can always take my razor. Come in in a race that edge and I think that really helps me I want this leaf to kind of poke out a little more so I'll add a little extra on that side. Take my razor and a race a little bit more so. So you get the idea. This is how I'm going to draw the top on my strawberry cool so now that that's in place let's start using our layers to layer some paints on top of each other to bring the strawberry to life and give it a little bit of depth and make it kind of interesting. So in order to do that I'm going to create a new layer by opening my layers hitting that plus button to create my layer. It's going to be called Layer 2 by default. In fact every time I add a layer it's going to add a number at the end of it. And as these illustrations get more complicated something you might want to do to make it easier to read is to tap on your layer like hearing it a tap on Layer 1. And I'm going to tap it again and it brings up a bunch of options and there's a lot of things we can do with this layer. I want to look at the very first thing which is renaming it so I'm gonna go ahead and tap on that and I'm going to call this pencils. And as you see my keyboard came up so it's really easy for me to go ahead and rename it and I'm going to name layer to what do I name it. I'm going to name this base color because that is the main thing that we're going to be using that layer for while we're there. I'm going to tap on that layer again and we can talk about some of the options we have here for example we have select we have copy we have fill. Let's try some of these out when while we're there I'm going to use the pencil layer actually for this obviously select what it does is it will select all the contents in that layer. So if I tap on select you will see this little bit of an angled pattern that means that there is a selection down below there's this selection box we're gonna be talking about that later but that is how you select all the contents on a layer so say I grab my arrow tool I would now be able to move those around anyway. More and more on that later. What else do we have here we have copy. So if I just want to copy the contents on that layer and then paste it into another layer I'll take three fingers swipe down and I'll say paste and it just paste it in a second version of that strawberry. I don't need that right now. So and what it does is it pastes it as another layer so I'll just swipe over and delete that layer we can fill that layer which will fill the entire layer with the color that you have currently selected. I can clear it which will delete everything in the layer an alpha lock. I'm going to talk about that in a minute because that's awesome. And then there's masks there's a whole section on masks or we can invert it which will change all the colors and reverse them. So in this case this dark grey colored slash black colored lines will turn into white color lines so if we actually invert that you can see it in the preview that the strawberry is still there and it's white but you can't see it on the canvas anymore because it matches the background so going to take two fingers tapped to undo. There we go. And then lastly we have reference which again we're gonna be learning about that later on that is awesome when we draw comics. You're gonna see how cool it is to use a reference layer to color your comics so fast so easy. So on this base layer what I'm going to do is I'm going to color my strawberry. I'm going to create a big strawberry colored shape so I'm going to go to my colors and I'm going to grab a nice pinkish red color and then on that base layer I'm going to basically paint a large swath. So I'm gonna grab an inking pen so I got to thinking that I'm using the technical pen because it'll give me a nice clean line and then I can just come in here on my base layer and trace my pencil sketch of my strawberry just like that and I'm gonna make sure that I close that in. So there is no white space at all in this shape. And then I can tap and hold on the color and drag that color into my empty space inside that strawberry and it's going to fill it in. If you're used to other painting applications oftentimes there's a paint bucket icon which will do this. Well that's how you do it and procreate is if you have a shape you can just take your circle you drag it down from the upper right hand corner and it fills in your shape and you get a tap to undo that. Now one thing that's happening is I want to be able to see my sketch and my colored blob here is covering that up so I'm going to go back to my layers and what I want to do is move my base color layer underneath my pencil layer which I just noticed is called pencil is which is weird but I'm going to keep it for now. So what I'm going to do is I get a tap and hold on that baseline and you see it just changed a little bit when you're holding on it. And that allows you to drag it's all tap and hold. And it allows me to drag it in my layer order so I can put it above or below other layers and when I let go it goes below. And what you see now is that color layer is going to be beneath my pencils. So as I add more layers I'm still going to be able to see what I'm drawing here I'm still gonna be able to see my sketch basically. Now one thing is I tend to sketch kind of heavy. It gets a little bit dark. I don't need it to be this dark it's actually kind of distracting me a little bit because it's kind of hard to see the edge of my lines. So there is some layer properties that we can use to adjust that in every layer on the right hand side. There is the ability to toggle that layers visibility on and off which is this little checkbox. So if I tap that check box it turns the layer off. If I tap it again it turns that layer on and there's the letter and next to that. So let's check that out. If I tap on the letter n it brings up a whole bunch of options we're going to talk about some of these options and a little bit. But for now just kind of know that they're there. The most important option for me right now is this opacity slider right now set to max. But as you see I take it and with my finger I can slide it on down and I can make it transparent so I can just barely see my sketch. I might want it a little darker than that but this way the sketch won't get in my way. I'll be able to see my colors really vividly but I'll still be able to see my sketch and it very various times during this illustration process you're probably going to see me come in here and tap that checkbox to turn it off just to see how that illustration is coming along. So I'll tap that again. And now my sketch layer is on. So I get a tap on my base layer and my next step is to add the green stuff on the top of the strawberry so I'm going to hit the plus button so that I can put that leafy thing on its own layer going to tap on the name of the layer again. And of course I'm going to go to rename. So we can keep this all in order. And I'm going to rename this leafy stuff. There we go. Perfect spelling Brad as always. Now I can go to my colors and I can grab a nice shade of green. Probably want to be a little darker than that. So now on this new layer what are we gonna do. Same thing we did before we're just going to start tracing with our technical pen. I'm going to start drawing in these leaves it's kind drawing them in here. My lines are curving a little bit. They're not perfect triangles. That's OK. We'll get the idea. There we go. I'm going to get the stem in they're just like that now that everything's closed. I could drag my color in there. Let it go. And I have the start of a strawberry. Go to my layers toggle off my pencil lines and you can see this is starting to take shape.