Guides and Tutorials

My Tips For Procreate, iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

It’s a year since I bought an iPad Pro & Apple Pencil with hopes of discovering a new fun way to draw digitally without being tied to my computer. If you’re thinking of buying one yourself, here’s my top tips.


Don’t feel pressured to share your work

I can’t stress this one enough. When I started playing with Procreate I couldn’t get it to do anything like the videos I’d been watching. My lines were clumsy and I didn’t like any of the brushes. I felt bad that I didn’t have lots of cool drawings to show off until I realised no-one cares and all that pressure was my own doing. I didn’t share anything for almost a year, and that’s fine. Share when you’re ready, however long that takes.

procreate amaziograph

Get used to the Pencil

I spent the best part of a year using my iPad & Pencil for creating Amaziograph kaleidoscopes, colouring in (I did the same illustration 3 times in different colours!), recreating my own illustrations with different brushes, reading manga and playing games. This might seem like a waste of the technology but I got so much more comfortable with the Pencil and how to use all the main features of Procreate and Adobe Sketch.  When I started trying to draw original work again, it was so much easier.

Watch process videos

Procreate automatically records everything you draw so you can watch and export timelapse videos of your art. Artists who share these are THE BEST. Not only can you watch how they layer and build an image but you’ll see them make mistakes (and fix them and carry on). They’re just like you! My favourites are Sophie Corrigan, Tyler Feder, I Like Cats and Thousand Skies. Check out the Procreate tag on Instagram to find more, plus there are lots of videos on YouTube. The latter may not be on the iPad but you can still learn a lot.



Knowing which brushes an artist uses won’t help you create the same style of drawing. The reality is that they could make something similar with almost any choice of brushes. To find your own favourite brushes, you just need to try them all. They all have different strengths, whether you prefer texture or layers or clean lines or a bit of everything.


Keep at it!

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re not immediately good at something. It drove me crazy for a while that I can draw a near-perfect circle on paper 90% of the time but can’t do it at all on screen. I still can’t! Drawing digitally is not the same as ink and paper and you need to find different ways of working than what you’re used to. You’ll get there though – just keep practicing and experimenting.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Me Me Me

Today’s View

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I often take a photo of the view when I walk along the seafront.  Only the prettiest photos get much interest as presumably people follow me for my cute characters and Japan trips.

Helensburgh - marcelinesmith

The obvious thing to do was start another Instagram account. I can post views as often as I like and the 30-ish people who enjoy them can follow me there. If you like nice views, you can find me at @averyquietstreet. I walk along the seafront at least three times a week, and much more often in the summer, so it should be fun to see how the view changes. I’m also finding I go out for walks more now if it looks like there will be a nice view.

Helensburgh - marcelinesmith

I’ll also be using it to share photos when I’m travelling as I can post more there without boring people. It’s kind of sad that Instagram and its users prefer you to be consistent and predictable, and not post too often, but at least there’s Stories to have fun with.

Helensburgh - marcelinesmith

@marcelinesmith is still both a personal and business account though so it won’t all be products. I will keep sharing the creative parts of my life there, and the occasional view if it’s really nice out. I will also be taking part in March Meet The Maker again.


New Stockist: October31st

If you wish it was Halloween all year round*, you’re going to love my newest stockist! October31st is a UK-based online store dedicated to everything spooky so you can get your Halloween fix without waiting until October.


They’ve just relaunched their website and it includes quite a few of my Little Ghosts! The range includes cards, badges, brooches, stamps and patches, plus some sticker sets that I no longer have for sale myself.


There’s lots of other spooky cuteness too, including these cute cat coasters! Check it all out at

*Personally, I would prefer 6 months of Easter and 6 months of Halloween.

Creative Work

Sister Portraits With Procreate on iPad Pro

I haven’t been sharing much of what I’ve been drawing in Procreate recently with my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil. I’ve got a post of tips coming up next week but first here’s a recent drawing and timelapse so you can see how I work now.

Japan thank you card - marceline smith

Once me and Nicolette announced we were planning another sister trip to Japan our family have been helping out with our savings. I drew this thank you card to send out after Christmas of us wearing our current favourite outfits.


You may recognise me from my current avatar! Note the tiny space shuttle necklace. I didn’t plan to draw us for the card, but I had so much fun doing me and I knew it would make for a nice keepsake.

Here’s a timelapse from Procreate of me drawing Nicolette. It starts with my own face, since we are sisters. It goes past so quickly but my general process is as follows:

  1. Sketch out the rough shapes with a brown pencil. This one was easier because I had the figure template that I had previously drawn in Illustrator. Otherwise, there can be a lot more erasing and redrawing.
  2. Use that as a guide to draw the real outline with a black pen. What you don’t see in these timelapses is all the draw line / erase / try again / erase / over and over until I get it just right.
  3. With symmetrical things like the arms, legs and dress I draw one half, duplicate the layer, flip it and then join them together.
  4. Colouring! I like to use a big charcoal brush and then erase back to the lines. It’s just easier on my wrists. If I’m using a light colour, I add a strong background so I don’t miss anything that might show up on another layer on in a transparent background.
  5. Reference. For something like the dress pattern, I pasted in a photo from Nic’s Instagram. That helps me get the pattern and colours right. Obviously, I simplified it a lot (see below). I did the same for my necklace and trainers.
  6. Repeat pattern. Since I do a lot of pattern design, it was easy for me to create a rough repeat area and then duplicate the layers to cover the dress. You can see in the video that I left too big a gap first time and had to go back and try again!
  7. Fin!

dress pattern

After I’d done both of us, I hid the backgrounds and imported us into a new file. The Japan background was just done with watercolour brushes and the text with the script calligraphy pen. I had them printed by Funky Pigeon (forgive me) so they could be sent directly, since we couldn’t both sign it personally.

I hope you enjoyed that! I’ll try to share more Procreate timelapses soon but I always have to edit them as often they have a whole other drawing first because I duplicated a previous drawing.


New Enamel Pins: Happy Apple & Mt Fuji Hugs

I love designing (and collecting!) enamel pins so I’ve been excited for two new ones to arrive. Want to meet them?

kawaii mt fuji japan enamel pins

Mt Fuji Hugs

A lot of people missed out on the original Mt Fuji pin so I made a new one that’s even friendlier. He just wants a hug!

kawaii apple enamel pins

Happy Apple

Not one of your 5 a day, but this little cutie will cheer up any outfit. I really like the packaging for this one.

enamel pins secure locking backs

I’ve also added the option to include a secure locking back. These can’t be pulled off the pin so are much safer if you wear your pins outdoors. Choose to add one for 50p in the dropdown of any enamel pin product, or buy a pack of 3 for £1.

kawaii enamel pins

My pins are quite a little gang now. Check them all out in the enamel pins section of my shop.