We hope you're ready to welcome Nathan Brown from Trailhead Design Co. for a session about layering different drawing materials onto Procreate illustrations! He used all sorts of materials like water and wood to spark our creativity and inspire a few easy drawing ideas.

Nathan is one of our foremost graphic designers and product creators, consistently going above and beyond to provide designers in the industry with the most detailed creative resources. In this session, he used a longstanding Design Cuts bestseller, The Ultimate Brush Toolbox, to guide us through an hour packed with actionable drawing tips and tricks.

Draw a Rock

Once the canvas is set, color the background in brown. Draw a shape for the rock. Use the Pen Tool and use a reference image of a rock. Put it parallel to where you wish to draw the rock and follow along by outlining. Use the Ultra Fine Pastel Brush as an eraser to clean the edges. 

Use the Alpha Lock on the same base layer to lock anything from going outside of the bounds of the initial shape of the rock. Add some shadow areas by using the selection tool. Choose a darker color and select the Grain Painter Brush to shade the rock. 

Pro tip: With the Alpha Lock on, you can select outside the rock but continue to shade inside the rock. This gives it a three-dimensional shape. 

Add a new layer and select the Ultra Fine Brush again. Choose a darker color and add little detail shape and lines, using really light pressure. Make cracks by adding detailed lines.

Pick the More Grain Brush and use that as an eraser. Erase away some of the detail lines at the ends of the stroke to add some texture to the lines. Switch to the Alpha locked rock shape and add highlights. With the Grain Painter Brush, select some areas that you would want to highlight and where the light would be landing on the rock. Add another layer and add a lighter detail for line work with the Ultra Fine Brush. 

Deepen the shadows of the rock layer. Pick the Grain Painter Brush to darken. Use the Pastel Dust and add a rocky texture to the rock. Flatten everything and adjust the color towards a red tone. Play with the curves adjustment and make the contrast pop. 

Draw Water

Add a reference image of water and create a new layer. With the selection tool, draw the shape of the river. Apply Alpha Lock. Instead of drawing like a rock with hard edges, draw a flowy river drawing using the Grain Painter Brush. Choose a darker color, and add some random loops and flowy shapes. Add a reference image of water and create a new layer. 

Switch to a lighter color and pick the Grain Painter Brush. Add highlights to the river using a light blue color. Add a new layer and use the Ultra-Fine Brush. Pick a darker color and add detailed line work to enhance the river. Make sure to erase some of the edges to add a little bit of texture to the line along with variation. 

Pro tip: You can add shadows first or highlights later as per your preference. 

Merge the layers down and add curves. Use the Smudge Brush on a new layer and add spray on the river. Use the eraser with the same brush and erase some strokes, creating a very subtle effect. 

Draw Tree Trunks

Use a reference image of a tree trunk. Add a rectangle using the rectangle tool. Pick a light brown color and fill in the shape. Add two more rectangles and shift the angles slightly. Choose a darker color. Assume where the lighting will come from and combine the three trunks to lock them together. 

Draw the shadow and adjust them. Similarly, add highlight using a straight line and erase the clean edges to finish the look. Create a rough edge by shifting the highlight or shadow line. 

On the Alpha Lock layer, draw detailed lines on the tree trunk. Use the curves and change the contrast of the trunk. Make sure it fits well with the rock. Add the rock and the river to the composition. Draw some branches from the tree trunk, pointing upwards. 

Adjust Color Balance

Copy all the layers and paste them. Add a layer of the flattened image on top of everything. This will unify the whole composition. Play with the mid-tones and adjust the color. Pick a yellow shade for highlights and a darker color for the shadows. 

Add Sunlight

Add a new layer and change it to overlay. Add sunlight coming in. Add multiply and pick a dark blue color. Add shadows at the foot of the tree trunks. 

Add Grass

Pick a green color and choose a basic shape to make grass. Add a new layer and draw the grass by adding the colored shape under the rock.

Alpha lock the layer and choose a darker green. Use the Big Grainy Brush and reduce the opacity to get some variation. Add the grainy texture and variation to the grass. To add highlights, use the lighter color to erase some of the dark grainy texture.

Switch to the layer above the rock and add a texture using a darker highlight color. You could also make fine grass lines at the bottom of the rock. 


Pro tip: Copy and paste the leaves to the other side of the rock to save time. 

Bravo! You have successfully learnt how to add different materials to drawings in Procreate.