Procreate | Clipping mask & Alfa lock

Hoi! Welcome to my blog! Today I wanted to explain how I use some of my fave tools on Procreate, some of you may find them helpful too!

But if you are looking for a more pro version of this tutorial check my latest one!

Download | Procreate tutorial

1. Before starting

1.1. Procreate brushes

Before starting, my favourite brushes. Actually just one, since I use it for everything: the 6B pencil. I love how it looks, I use it for lineart and colouring.

1.2. Basic tools

On this tutorial, I will be talking about some tools that you may not know from Procreate. So this is a recollection of all of them in case you don’t know them. As you will see they are not unique to Procreate, they can also be found in Photoshop:

  • Multiply: It is a blending mode that can be applied to layers, the effect is very similar to what happens if we superimpose different colour acetates. If we have a blue base layer and the top one is red, the results will be almost black. I love using cause perfect for quick shading.
  • Alpha lock: Lock the layer, but only the places where we have painted. Therefore, we can re-paint over it but without leaving that area.
  • Clipping mask: To use it we need to have a base layer. By creating another one on top and putting it as a clipping mask, when we paint over it you will see that it works as a mask, the colour stays within the limits of the first layer.

2. Clipping mask & Alpha lock

2.1 How to colour faster

Over the years I’ve been developing a method that allows me to focus on the drawing and not so much spending time changing colours. Sometimes it can be frustrating finding the perfect palette and changing over and over the colours on the drawing.

That’s where the Clipping mask and Alpha lock come into play.  The first step is to create a base layer where we can clip the other layers, so we can have the drawing separated to change the details more easily.

Start by creating a base layer, and use it to paint the whole drawing, you can use the same colour. We don’t need to pick colours at this point. After that, create new layers every time you want to separate a new colour and set them into Clipping mask. Now we can paint our details freely, you will see that we can’t paint outside our base layer. Useful right?

But what if I messed up the colours? I have to be really careful and repaint the layers again?

No, you don’t need to. Set your chosen layer into Alpha lock (leaving the Clipping mask ON). Now you can paint freely without drawing outside of that shape.

But isn’t then the same? We are masking our drawing so we can paint quickly and messy without changing the shape, you may say. Yes and no, both methods are used to create “fake masks” but they complement each other pretty nicely.

2.2. Shadows and the multiply effect

Once we have the main layers ready, we can start shading. The first thing you will need is to know where your light source comes from. If you need it, draw some guides, from the source to the main objects, so you can visualize it more easily.
Create a layer for the shadows and place it in Multiply and Clipping mask, this way we can see what is below and the effect will be more successful. Now you can start drawing the shadows. I usually use a pale lilac, which looks great in almost all colours.

2.3. Last details

To finish there are always little things to improve, right? I even usually make quite important colour changes because at this point I realize the small flaws or improvements I could make. In this phase I usually add small details and fix the colour of the line or the shadows, to adjust it well.

And that’s the whole process! It was fairly quickly explained, so if you need more details and handy tools, check out my latest Procreate tutorial.

Download | Procreate tutorial

See you on the next one!