Are you having trouble with blending in Procreate? You’re not the only one! Getting your colors to blend nicely can be quite a challenge and might take some practice. With these 10 tips to improve your blending technique, I’ll help you on your way. Be sure to watch the video as well, to see all the tips and techniques in action!
1. Keep it together!
Colors that are closer together when it comes to value (how light or dark the color is) and/or hue (what color the ehhh.. color is!), are easier to blend. Colors that are far apart on the color wheel on the other hand, are much more challenging to blend properly. If you want to make your (digital art) life easier, try bringing the values and hues in your painting together by painting in the inbetween colors as well.
2. How to blend using low opacity brushes
Perhaps you’re used to using the smudge tool to blend in Procreate, but you can actually do quite a lot of blending using the regular brush tool. If you set your brush to a low opacity and/or set the opacity to pen pressure, then you can glaze the colors on top of eachother, creating a nice blend. While glazing you can pick up midtone colors to blend the colors even more.
3. Different brush = different effect
The Procreate standard brushes can easily be used to blend, but keep in mind that every brush has a slightly different effect. Some of the Procreate standard brushes that can be used for example are the Gouache (under Artistic brushes), Bonobo Chalk (under Sketching brushes) and the Stucco brush (under Artistic brushes). The Gouache gives a smooth blend, while the Bonobo Chalk and Stucco brush give a more textured look.
I prefer using my own custom brushes though and do most of my blending using the standard blender from my Blender brushes set.
4. Vary the size of your brush
When blending colors in Procreate, don’t forget to vary the size of your brush. Some areas are more suitable to blend with a big brush and some areas need to be blended by using a smaller brush. When you want a soft gradient in a larger area, it is a good idea to make your blending brush big. Smaller areas and areas where you need to be careful about edges, need a blending brush with a smaller size. So be sure to switch up your brush size to match the blending situation!
5. How to blend using selections
The selection tool can come in very handy when blending. When you have an active selection, you can only paint, erase, smudge, etc. in the area of the selection. You can make use of this! Using the freehand selection tool, you can select an area that needs blending. Now you can use a big blending brush to make smooth gradients without worrying about ruining the edges!
6. The right time to blend
Blending should be used sparingly. I usually blend mostly in the middle section of my painting process. In the first fase of the painting process, build up the shape of your subject, add values and build up the contrast. As soon as you have a pretty decent base, you can start blending areas a bit. Waiting with blending until you have a solid base, saves you time!
At a later stage of your painting process, you don’t need to blend much anymore. It would be a shame if you’d smudge that nice texture that you have laid down. In the final stage you’ll only blend small areas using small brushes.
7. Smudge and drag
The smudge tool isn’t just useful to blend colors in Procreate, you can also use it to drag colors around and paint in a sense. Using the smudge tool for this gives you great control. You can drag darker colors onto lighter areas and vice versa.
8. Be careful WHERE you blend
When blending your painting you want to avoid a smudgy, fuzzy, blurry look. To avoid this over blended look, you need to be mindful of edges in your painting. Take a good look at your subject, where do you see soft transitions and where do you see crisp edges? Make sure you don’t blend areas where you need these crisp edges. Around nostrils for instance!
9. How to blend with Gaussian blur
Did you know you can use gaussian blur to blend areas? All you have to do is make a selection using the freehand selection option and add a slight feather to your selection. Now you can apply gaussian blur to this selection. Only the area inside of your selection will get blurred/blended.
10. Get rid of the mud
Using the smudge tool can sometimes cause your colors (especially in the shadow areas) to start looking a bit muddy. To get rid of that mud I like to use the Overlay blending mode. You can either make a new layer set to overlay or use an overlay brush. Setting the color to an orange, pink or red tone and glazing over the muddy areas can spice up those muddy shadows and bring some warmth to your painting.
VIDEO: 10 TIPS for better BLENDING in Procreate
Check out the video to see the 10 tips to improve your blending technique in action!