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How to Create an iPad Drawing App Like Procreate

02.04.2020 Christina Kovalevich
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How to Create an iPad Drawing App Like Procreate

A drawing app may become a good investment if it improves artists’ lives. If you are wondering how to create a drawing app for iPad like the Procreate app, you will find the answers to commonly asked questions here. We will show you the potential benefits, outline Procreate’s missing features, and estimate the cost of creating a drawing application.


Why should you invest in drawing app development?

Investing in drawing app development means enabling artists to express themselves in the digital environment. Also, it allows them to draw and sketch everywhere: on the bus, at home, during a break in the office, and so on. Another benefit for the artists is that they can concentrate on the process without looking for an extra brush in their room.

Procreate offers stunning instruments and materials for flawless work: paints, smudge, pencils, wet and dry brushes, calligraphy pens, brush pens, erasers, sketching brushes, technical pens, markers, gel pens, dry ink, airbrushes and spray paints, realistic textures, charcoals, elements like hair, water, grass, light effects, noise, vintage effects. You can create your brushes, customize the existing ones in Brush Studio, or import them from Photoshop.

Such apps have become highly popular on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Entering ‘Procreate art’ into the search line, you will see millions of posts showing the full power of the app. Some of those bloggers launch digital drawing classes and tutorials; some of them sell custom brushes. The app markets itself via social networks, so the app’s design should make the users want to share their process with others.

What makes Procreate so popular?

Procreate is a simple but feature-rich drawing app for iPad that became the App Store’s best-seller in 2018.

Procreate was produced in 2011 by Savage Interactive — a tech startup from Tasmania. The innovation they offered was the lack of intent to look like Photoshop. Others assumed that a product closer to Photoshop was better, but Savage Interactive bet on a simple design and gestures instead of buttons to zoom, rotate, undo/redo, cut/copy/paste, and even work with layers.

The current version is Procreate 5.0.2, which is available on the US App Store for $9.99. Procreate’s use cases include:

  • Working with raster graphics
  • Working with animation
  • Digital illustrations
  • Working with layers
  • Design
  • Working with brushes (including the ones imported from Photoshop)
  • Sketching
  • Painting (including hyper-reality paintings)
  • Comic creation
  • Logo creation
  • Lettering and calligraphy

Procreate is a complete art studio you can take anywhere. The app is designed for both digital artists and regular users. No other professional app can beat Procreate in its power, flexibility, and rich feature set. The app is created for artists by artists, and this explains its incredible popularity.

Who needs such an app?

  • Hobbyists and advanced artists
  • Beginners who want to try different instruments
  • Illustrators
  • Typographers
  • Logo creators
  • Interior design artists
  • Web designers
  • Game designers
  • Comic artists
  • Street artists
  • Artists who travel
  • Digital marketers

Notable Procreate users:

  • Jim Lee — comic artist — used it to sketch Batman and The Joker
  • Kyle Lambert — poster artist — created The Stranger Things poster and an extremely famous finger painting of Morgan Freeman
  • Eric Merced — an American cartoonist — worked as an illustrator for Marvel and DC

What makes the app so attractive?

  • Powered by the best painting engine for iPad — Valkyrie
  • Super intuitive interface
  • A wide collection of brushes
  • Ultra HD canvases
  • 64-bit color
  • Smooth smudge
  • Keyboard shortcuts and gestures for advanced features
  • 250 undo/redo levels
  • Auto-save
  • Time-lapse recording of the process
  • Export in different formats
  • Quick Shape feature — you draw how you can and the app makes the perfect figure
  • Animation Assist for creating beautiful animations and GIFs

In 2014, Savage Interactive launched Procreate Pocket — a stripped-down version of Procreate available for the iPhone. Initially, with the evolution of the iPad app, it lacked some handy features. But the current version has everything artists love about Procreate. In December 2018, Procreate Pocket was awarded Apple’s ‘App of the Year’ award.

Procreate’s imperfections

  • iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are expensive
  • No demo version
  • Some shortcuts and gestures are hidden
  • No ability to resize the canvas and make a large project
  • Compatible only with tablets while some designers love the desktop working format
  • Only for iOS
  • Not an industry-standard software
  • Hard to achieve a super smooth line

What features should you add to the Procreate-like app?

Compatibility with other platforms

According to the Procreate Folio, the main reason people don’t use it is that it is available only for iPad Pro and iPhone. Greater compatibility after creating an Android drawing app will make your app more profitable since you can penetrate several markets at once.

Demo version

No doubt, $9.99 is a very affordable price for such a powerful tool but a paid app must have a demo version. Users should be able to test the features before buying it.

Interactive guide

Procreate offers users a Handbook to read before using the app because without reading it, you will feel the lack of buttons — the most useful features have gestures. It may be more effective to implement a short interactive guide or create a short video on how to start drawing in the app.

Procreate Handbook

Availability for desktop

Procreate is created specifically for iPad and iPhone, but some artists prefer the desktop format with a drawing tablet.

How much does it cost to create a Procreate-like app?

Our specialists estimated the approximate price of a Procreate-like app MVP (minimum viable product). A detailed estimate is set out in the table below:

Process Efforts (man/hours) and price
Min Max
Development 639 915
Project Management 64 92
Quality Assurance 128 183
UX/UI Design 160 180
Business Analyst 80 160
Predicted total efforts 991 1,370
Predicted project cost $27,726 $39,610
Predicted project duration 4 months 5.6 months

This table shows the cost of development for one of the platforms, so the total sum may vary depending on what platforms and features you want to include. For example, the development of the three platforms (desktop, iOS, and Android) will cost you around $100,000.


Savage Interactive introduced a brand-new way of creating digital artwork. Thanks to Procreate, the iPad became a full-fledged digital art instrument. Procreate is considered an app that comes closest to the ‘paper and pencil’ feeling and is also a very Instagram-friendly tool. By creating a Procreate-like app, you may get the opportunity to continue the total transformation of the art sphere.

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