asking for trouble

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.


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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