How to Create Custom Pattern Brushes in Procreate

Pattern brushes are a powerful tool in Procreate that allow you to paint with a repeating design. Instead of a solid color, the brush applies a seamless pattern as you draw. This opens up exciting creative possibilities, enabling you to quickly add detailed textures and patterns to your digital artwork.

Hi, I‘m Jenna, a professional illustrator who uses Procreate daily. Over the past 5 years, I‘ve created countless custom pattern brushes to use in my illustrations. Pattern brushes are one of my favorite Procreate features because they make it so easy to fill large areas with intricate designs. I use them for everything from subtle background textures to bold print patterns.

In this article, I‘ll show you exactly how to make your own pattern brushes from scratch. I‘ll walk you through the process step-by-step and share all my best tips for creating professional-quality, seamless patterns. Once you master this skill, you‘ll be able to create pattern brushes for any occasion and really level up your artwork. Let‘s get started!

Why Use Pattern Brushes?

There are so many reasons to love pattern brushes! Here are a few of the biggest benefits:

  • Speed up your workflow – Pattern brushes allow you to cover large areas very quickly compared to hand-drawing patterns. You can fill a whole background in seconds.
  • Easy to edit – If you decide to change the pattern, simply edit the brush and the changes will automatically apply everywhere you used it.
  • Consistency – A pattern brush ensures the design looks exactly the same every time you use it. The spacing and layout is always perfect.
  • Customization – You can create any kind of pattern imaginable and really personalize your artwork. The options are limitless!

What You‘ll Need

  • iPad or iPhone
  • Apple Pencil (for drawing on iPad)
  • Procreate app

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Make a Pattern Brush

Follow along with these steps to create your own custom pattern brush:

  1. Create a new square canvas in Procreate. I recommend using a canvas size that‘s a power of 2 (e.g. 256 x 256 pixels, 512 x 512 pixels, etc.) This will ensure your pattern tiles seamlessly.
  2. Use any brushes and tools you like to draw the design for your pattern. I‘m going to make a candy cane stripe pattern, so I‘ll draw diagonal red and white stripes.
  3. Drawing red and white diagonal stripes

  4. If your design has multiple elements, combine them onto a single layer. This will make the next steps easier.
  5. With your pattern layer selected, open the Actions menu and tap "Add".
    Add button in Actions menu
  6. Choose "Brush" from the menu that appears.

    New brush option
  7. Your new brush will open in the Brush Studio. Open the "Shape" menu and select "Texture".
  8. Tap "Import" and choose "Import from file".
    Import texture menu
  9. Select the pattern design you created. It will appear as the shape source for your brush.

    Selecting pattern file
  10. Adjust the brush settings to your liking. The texture scale will control the pattern size. I also recommend turning up the spacing a bit so the pattern elements don‘t overlap too much.
  11. Give your brush a name and tap "Done" to save it. That‘s it, your very own pattern brush is ready to use!

To test it out, create a new layer in your artwork and start painting with the pattern brush. You should see your design repeating seamlessly as you draw!

Example of drawing with pattern brush

Tips for Creating Seamless Patterns

The trickiest part of making pattern brushes is ensuring the design tiles without any noticeable seams or gaps where it repeats. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a square canvas. This will make the math easier when it comes to repeating the pattern.
  • Keep away from the edges. Avoid putting important elements right up against the edge of the canvas. Aim to keep some blank space around all four sides.
  • Offset the design. If you want a more organic, less grid-like look, offset some elements so they flow from one tile into the next. You can do this by having parts of the design wrap around from the right edge to the left, or from the bottom to the top.
  • Check the tiling as you go. Periodically test how your pattern looks tiled by duplicating your canvas and placing the copies side-by-side and top-to-bottom. This will help you spot any awkward seams early on.

With a bit of practice, you‘ll get the hang of creating seamless patterns. Don‘t get discouraged if your first few attempts have some imperfections. Like any skill, creating pattern brushes takes some trial and error to master.

Pattern Brush Ideas to Try

Now that you know the basics of making pattern brushes, here are some ideas to inspire your next creation:

  • Geometric – Create patterns with shapes like triangles, squares, circles, plus signs, etc. Play with arranging them in different grid formations.
  • Nature – Look to plants and animals for inspiration. You could make patterns with leaves, flowers, paw prints, seashells, etc.
  • Abstract – Experiment with organic, free-form shapes and see what kind of intriguing patterns emerge. Layering translucent elements can create cool effects.
  • Textural – Try making subtle patterns that resemble woven cloth, tree bark, water ripples, or other tactile textures.
  • Holiday – Create festive patterns for different times of year, like hearts for Valentine‘s Day, stars for the 4th of July, or snowflakes for winter.

The possibilities really are endless! Feel free to combine multiple elements into a single pattern too, like a nature pattern featuring both leaves and flowers. The more you practice, the more creative your pattern brushes will become.

Using Pattern Brushes in Your Art

Once you‘ve created some pattern brushes, it‘s time to put them to use in your illustrations! You can use pattern brushes for:

  • Backgrounds – Fill a layer behind your subject with an interesting pattern to add depth and texture.
  • Clothing/Fabric – Use plaid, floral, or other print patterns to decorate your character‘s clothes.
  • Landscapes – A pattern brush can quickly lay the groundwork for grass, sand, or water. Then you can go in and add details on top.
  • Coloring book pages – Turn your illustrations into coloring pages by filling areas with black and white patterns.

Those are just a few examples, but really pattern brushes can enhance almost any illustration. Spend some time exploring all the different ways you can incorporate them into your artwork.

Level Up Your Artwork with Custom Patterns

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to start making your own pattern brushes in Procreate! It‘s easier than you might think and once you get started, you‘ll be hooked on dreaming up new patterns.

The ability to create completely custom pattern brushes is so liberating as an artist. You‘re no longer limited to the default textures or dependent on purchasing brush packs from others. You have the power to make the exact patterns you envision to take your art to the next level.

Practice the steps I‘ve outlined and experiment with all the different kinds of pattern brushes you can make. Most importantly, have fun with it! Happy pattern making!

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