How To Trace An Image In Procreate


In today’s digital age, tracing images has become a popular technique used by artists, designers, and hobbyists alike. The ability to recreate an image by hand can be a challenging task, but with the help of software like Procreate, it becomes a breeze. Procreate is a powerful digital art software available for iPads, loved for its extensive features and user-friendly interface. If you’re looking to learn how to trace an image in Procreate, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process to help you master the art of tracing in Procreate. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, we’ve got you covered. So grab your stylus and let’s dive into the world of digital tracing in Procreate!

Inside This Article

  1. Choosing the Image
  2. Setting up the Canvas
  3. Importing the Image
  4. Adjusting Opacity
  5. Tracing Tools
  6. Using the Pen Tool
  7. Using the Selection Tool
  8. Using the QuickShape Tool
  9. Refining the Traced Image
  10. Adding Detail and Line Variation
  11. Removing the Original Image
  12. Exporting and Saving the Traced Image
  13. Conclusion
  14. FAQs

Choosing the Image

When it comes to tracing an image in Procreate, selecting the right image is crucial. The image you choose will serve as the foundation for your traced artwork, so it’s important to choose one that has clear lines and defined shapes.

Look for images with high contrast, as this will make it easier to trace the different elements. Images with sharp edges and minimal details also work well for tracing. Additionally, consider the size of the image. Larger images will provide more detail and allow for greater precision during the tracing process.

If you’re new to tracing, it’s a good idea to start with a simple image with distinct shapes. This will help you hone your tracing skills before moving on to more complex designs. You can find suitable images for tracing in various places, such as online image databases, personal photographs, or even sketches you’ve made yourself.

Before settling on an image, take some time to study it and visualize how you want the traced version to look. This will help guide your tracing process and ensure you stay focused on your desired outcome. Remember, the image you choose will influence the overall aesthetic of your traced artwork, so choose wisely!

Setting up the Canvas

Before you begin tracing an image in Procreate, it’s essential to set up the canvas that will serve as your workspace. The canvas determines the dimensions, resolution, and orientation of your artwork, so it’s crucial to get it right from the start.

To set up the canvas, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Procreate and open a new project.
  2. Tap on the “+” icon or go to the “New Canvas” option.
  3. Choose the dimensions for your canvas. You can select from preset sizes, such as square, portrait, or landscape, or customize the dimensions according to your preferences.
  4. Select the resolution for your artwork. Higher resolutions provide more detail but may require more processing power from your device. If you’re unsure, you can stick with the default resolution or choose a standard option like 300 DPI.
  5. Decide on the orientation of your canvas. You can choose between portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) depending on the aspect ratio you want for your artwork.
  6. Once you’ve made all the necessary selections, tap on the “Create” or “Done” button to finalize the canvas setup.

By setting up the canvas accurately, you ensure that your traced image will align correctly and have the appropriate dimensions. Take your time to choose the right canvas settings before moving on to the next step of tracing your image in Procreate.

Importing the Image

Once you’ve set up your canvas in Procreate, the next step is to import the image you want to trace. Procreate offers multiple ways to import images, making it convenient to bring in your desired reference.

The first method to import an image is by tapping the wrench icon located at the top right corner of the interface. This will open the Actions menu. From there, select “Add” and choose “Insert a Photo” or “Insert File.” This will open your device’s photo library or file system, allowing you to select the image you want to trace.

Alternatively, you can also drag and drop an image directly into the Procreate canvas if you’re using an iPad with multitasking capabilities. Simply open the Files app or any other application that contains the image, select and hold the image, then drag it onto the Procreate canvas.

Once the image is imported, Procreate will automatically place it as a new layer above your canvas. You can see the imported image on the layers panel, which is located on the right side of the interface. You have the flexibility to rearrange or hide the image layer as needed.

It’s important to note that Procreate supports popular image file formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PSD, and many more, allowing you to work with a wide range of image types for tracing.

Now that you have successfully imported the image onto your Procreate canvas, you’re ready to start tracing and bringing your artistic vision to life!

Adjusting Opacity

When tracing an image in Procreate, adjusting the opacity of the image layer can be a crucial step in achieving the desired result. Opacity refers to the transparency or visibility of a layer. By adjusting the opacity, you can control the level of transparency of the image, allowing you to see both the original image and your traced lines simultaneously.

To adjust the opacity in Procreate, follow these steps:

  1. Select the image layer that you want to adjust the opacity for. You can do this by tapping on the layer in the Layers panel.
  2. In the top toolbar, you will find the Opacity slider. Tap on the slider and drag it to the left or right to decrease or increase the opacity, respectively.
  3. As you adjust the opacity, you will notice the image layer becoming more or less transparent, revealing or masking the layers beneath it.

Adjusting the opacity is particularly useful when you want to trace an image and have a faint reference to guide your lines. By reducing the opacity of the image layer, you can make it less overpowering and easier to trace over without losing sight of the original details.

Remember that the opacity adjustment is non-destructive, meaning you can always go back and readjust the opacity or return to the original opacity setting if needed. This allows you to have more control over the visibility of the image layer throughout the tracing process.

Experiment with different opacity levels to find the right balance for your tracing. It’s often helpful to start with a slightly lower opacity and gradually increase it as you gain confidence in your lines. This way, you can build up your traced image while still maintaining some transparency to see the underlying reference.

By mastering the art of adjusting opacity in Procreate, you can achieve more accurate and detailed tracings, allowing you to create stunning digital artwork.

Tracing Tools

When it comes to tracing an image in Procreate, you have a variety of powerful tools at your disposal. These tools are designed to help you achieve precise and accurate tracings, allowing you to create stunning digital artwork. Let’s take a closer look at some of the essential tracing tools in Procreate.

1. Pen Tool: The Pen Tool is your go-to tool for creating smooth and precise lines. You can adjust the thickness and opacity of the pen, making it ideal for outlining shapes and adding intricate details to your traced image.

2. Selection Tool: The Selection Tool allows you to select specific areas of the image and manipulate them independently. This tool is particularly useful when you want to modify or refine certain sections of your traced image without affecting the rest of the artwork.

3. QuickShape Tool: The QuickShape Tool is a handy tool for creating geometric shapes effortlessly. With a single stroke, you can create perfect circles, squares, and triangles. This tool is ideal for tracing objects that have symmetrical or geometric elements.

4. Transform Tool: The Transform Tool is useful for transforming and manipulating the traced image. You can rotate, scale, and distort the image to fit your desired composition. This tool is particularly useful when you want to adjust the perspective or size of your traced artwork.

These tracing tools in Procreate provide you with the flexibility and precision needed to create accurate tracings of your images. Experimenting with different combinations of tools can help you achieve unique and stunning results.

Using the Pen Tool

When it comes to tracing an image in Procreate, one of the most effective tools to use is the Pen Tool. The Pen Tool allows you to create precise and controlled lines, making it easier to recreate the details of your reference image.

To begin using the Pen Tool, select it from the toolbar on the left-hand side of your Procreate workspace. Once you’ve selected the Pen Tool, you can adjust its settings such as the size, opacity, and color of the pen.

To create a line using the Pen Tool, simply tap on the canvas to set the starting point of your line. As you move your stylus or finger across the canvas, Procreate will automatically create a smooth and continuous stroke.

If you make a mistake or want to adjust the shape of your line, Procreate offers an intuitive way to edit it. Simply select the Edit Shape option from the top toolbar and manipulate the anchor points or adjust the curve of the line as desired.

Another useful feature of the Pen Tool is the ability to create curves and straight lines. By tapping and holding on the canvas, you can create a curve segment, allowing you to recreate the gradual curves and contours of your reference image with precision.

If you prefer to create straight lines, simply tap once on the canvas to set a straight anchor point, and then tap again at the desired endpoint of the line. Procreate will automatically connect the anchor points with a straight line.

Using the Pen Tool requires a steady hand and some practice to achieve the desired level of accuracy and detail. Experiment with different pressure levels and stroke speeds to create variation in line thickness and opacity, adding depth and dimension to your traced image.

Remember to save your progress regularly and utilize Procreate’s layers feature to keep your traced image separated from the original reference image.

With the Pen Tool in Procreate, you have a powerful tool at your disposal for tracing images. Take your time, be patient with the process, and keep experimenting to achieve the best results.

Using the Selection Tool

The Selection Tool in Procreate is a powerful feature that allows you to isolate and manipulate specific areas of your traced image. It can be a useful tool for refining the details, adjusting colors, or creating precise edits. Let’s explore how to effectively use the Selection Tool in Procreate.

To start, select the Selection Tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen. It is represented by a dotted rectangle icon. Once you’ve selected the tool, you can choose from various selection options, such as freehand, rectangle, ellipse, or polygon.

To make a selection, simply drag your finger or stylus across the areas you want to isolate. Procreate will create a marching ants-like outline around your selection. You can adjust the size and position of the selection using the handles that appear along the edges.

Once you have made a selection, you can perform a range of actions on it. For example, you can move the selected area by dragging it, duplicate it by using the Duplicate command, or delete it by pressing the Delete key. You can also apply different brushes or adjust the colors and saturation within the selected area.

If you want to refine your selection further, you can use the Selection Modify button. This button appears in the toolbar when you have an active selection. By tapping on it, you can access additional options like Add, Subtract, and Intersect. These options allow you to add or subtract specific areas from your current selection.

To feather or soften the edges of your selection, you can use the Modify button as well. By tapping on Modify, you can access the Feather option, which allows you to adjust the softness of the selection edges. This is particularly useful when blending different elements of your traced image.

When you are satisfied with your selection and adjustments, you can continue working on the rest of your image. Remember to deselect your current selection by tapping outside the selected area or using the Deselect command in the Selection Tool options.

The Selection Tool in Procreate offers flexibility and precision when it comes to isolating specific parts of your traced image. It allows you to make targeted edits and enhancements, making your artwork stand out with intricate details and refined colors.

Mastering the Selection Tool will significantly enhance your tracing experience in Procreate, giving you more control over every aspect of your artwork.

Using the QuickShape Tool

When it comes to tracing an image in Procreate, the QuickShape Tool is a powerful feature that can save you time and effort. This tool allows you to easily create various shapes and lines by automatically adjusting your strokes.

To access the QuickShape Tool, select the Pen Tool from the toolbar and tap on the settings icon. In the settings menu, you will find the option to enable the QuickShape feature.

Once the QuickShape Tool is activated, you can start drawing your basic shapes. Simply draw a line or a curved stroke, and Procreate will analyze your stroke and transform it into a smooth, precise shape.

The QuickShape Tool is not limited to simple shapes. It can also recognize more complex curves and even irregular shapes. This makes it incredibly versatile for tracing intricate images with ease.

To refine the shape created by the QuickShape Tool, you can adjust the shape’s properties using the edit handles. Resize, reshape, or rotate the shape to match the contours of the image you are tracing.

Another handy feature of the QuickShape Tool is the ability to customize the shape’s attributes. You can change the stroke color, thickness, and opacity to achieve the desired effect.

When using the QuickShape Tool, keep in mind that it works best with smooth, continuous strokes. If your stroke is interrupted, or if there are gaps or overlaps, the QuickShape feature may not function optimally.

Once you have completed tracing the image using the QuickShape Tool, you can further refine the details by using other tools in Procreate, such as the eraser and brush tool. This allows you to add finer details and make the traced image look more polished.

Using the QuickShape Tool streamlines the tracing process in Procreate, making it a valuable asset for artists and designers. It saves time by automatically adjusting strokes into precise shapes, allowing you to focus on the creative aspects of your artwork.

Experiment with the QuickShape Tool in Procreate and unleash your creativity by easily tracing and creating stunning artwork.

Refining the Traced Image

Once you have completed the initial tracing of your image in Procreate, it’s time to refine it and add any necessary adjustments. This step will help you achieve a polished and professional-looking final result. Here are some techniques to refine your traced image:

1. Adjusting Line Thickness: To make your traced image stand out, experiment with adjusting the line thickness. You can use the Brush settings in Procreate to increase or decrease the size of your lines, giving them more depth and variation. Play around with different line weights to find the perfect balance for your traced image.

2. Cleaning up Rough Edges: Sometimes, during the tracing process, you may end up with rough or jagged edges. You can easily smooth out these edges by using the Eraser tool in Procreate. Select a soft brush and gently erase any unwanted roughness to create clean and crisp lines.

3. Adding Shading and Highlights: To give your traced image more depth and dimension, consider adding shading and highlights. Procreate offers a wide variety of brushes that can replicate different shading techniques, such as cross-hatching or stippling. Experiment with these brushes to add texture and realism to your traced image.

4. Adjusting Colors: If you traced a colored image, you may want to make adjustments to the colors to enhance the overall look. Procreate provides powerful color adjustment tools, such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue. Use these tools to fine-tune the colors and create a harmonious composition.

5. Adding Background or Elements: To further enhance your traced image, consider adding a background or additional design elements. This can help create a more visually interesting composition and add context to your artwork. Procreate allows you to easily add layers and experiment with various elements to elevate your traced image.

By refining your traced image using these techniques in Procreate, you can transform it into a stunning piece of digital art. Remember to save your progress regularly and experiment with different adjustments until you are satisfied with the final result.

Adding Detail and Line Variation

Once you have traced the basic outlines of your image, it’s time to add those extra details and fine-tune the line variation in order to bring your artwork to life. This step is crucial in giving your traced image a unique and dynamic look.

One way to add detail is by using the brush tool in Procreate. Select a brush with the desired texture or pattern, and carefully add shading, texture, or other intricate details to different parts of your traced image. Experiment with brush size, opacity, and pressure sensitivity to achieve the desired effect.

Another technique to enhance the visual appeal of your traced image is by varying the thickness and weight of the lines. This can be done by adjusting the brush size or using different types of brush options available in Procreate. Adding variation to the line weight can give your artwork depth and dimension.

Consider using lighter strokes for areas that are further away or less prominent, and heavier strokes for closer or more important elements. This will help create a sense of depth and make your traced image visually compelling.

Additionally, you can add highlights and shadows to further emphasize the details and create a three-dimensional effect. Utilize the eraser tool to carefully remove parts of the lines or adjust their thickness, allowing you to refine the details and achieve a polished look.

Remember, the goal of adding detail and line variation is to make your traced image stand out and have a unique visual impact. Take your time to experiment with different techniques, brush options, and styles until you are satisfied with the overall result.

By adding intricate details, varying line weight, and incorporating highlights and shadows, you can elevate your traced image and transform it into a beautifully rendered piece of art.

Removing the Original Image

Once you have finished tracing your image in Procreate, you may want to remove the original image from your canvas to focus solely on the traced version. Removing the original image can help you see the intricacies of your traced lines and make any necessary adjustments. Here’s how you can remove the original image:

1. Select the original image layer: In the Layers panel, locate the layer containing the original image you want to remove. Tap on the layer to select it.

2. Delete the layer: With the original image layer selected, tap on the trash can icon at the top of the Layers panel. Confirm the deletion by tapping on “Delete” when prompted. The original image layer will be removed from your canvas.

3. Check your traced image: After removing the original image, take a moment to examine your traced image. You may notice that the lines are now more distinct, and any overlapping or unwanted lines from the original image have been eliminated.

4. Make further adjustments if needed: With the original image removed, you have a clearer view of your traced image. If you notice any areas that require additional refinement, you can use Procreate’s editing tools to make the necessary adjustments.

Remember, after removing the original image, it is a good practice to save a separate copy of your traced image to ensure you don’t accidentally lose your progress. You can do this by exporting the traced image or duplicating the canvas to create a backup.

Removing the original image allows you to focus on the artistic details of your traced image and make any necessary refinements. With Procreate’s intuitive interface, you can easily remove the original image while preserving the essence of your traced creation.

Exporting and Saving the Traced Image

Once you have finished tracing your image in Procreate, it’s time to export and save your artwork. Procreate offers several options for exporting your traced image, allowing you to share it or use it in other projects. Let’s take a look at the steps to export and save your traced image:

1. To begin, make sure you are on the canvas where you have traced your image. Double-check that you are satisfied with the final result and any additional edits or refinements you have made.

2. Next, tap on the wrench icon located in the top right corner of the screen. This will open the Actions menu.

3. In the Actions menu, select the “Share” option. This will bring up the Share Sheet, where you can choose how you want to export your traced image.

4. The Share Sheet will display various options for exporting and saving your image. You can choose to save it to your device’s photo library, send it via email, or share it directly to social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

5. If you prefer to save the traced image as a file, you can select the “Save Image” option. Procreate will save your image as a high-resolution JPEG file in your device’s photo library.

6. If you want to export the traced image with a transparent background, you can choose the “Save Image (PNG)” option. This will save your image as a PNG file with a transparent background.

7. Additionally, Procreate allows you to export your traced image as a Procreate file (.procreate) for future editing. Select the “Procreate” option if you want to save your work in this format.

8. Once you have chosen your desired export option, Procreate will process and save your traced image accordingly. You can then access the exported image or file using the designated method you selected.

By following these steps, you can easily export and save your traced image in Procreate. Whether you want to share your artwork on social media, use it in a digital project, or simply have a backup of your work, Procreate offers a convenient and versatile range of export options.


Tracing images in Procreate is a powerful technique that can enhance your digital artwork and bring your ideas to life. With the ability to import and trace any image, you have endless possibilities to create stunning illustrations, character designs, and more.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily trace an image in Procreate and achieve professional-looking results. Remember to start with a high-quality image, adjust the opacity and size of the image layer, and use the appropriate brush settings. Experiment with different techniques, such as using multiple layers or blending modes, to add depth and texture to your tracing.

Whether you’re a professional artist or a hobbyist, Procreate provides a user-friendly and versatile platform for digital drawing and illustration. Embrace the power of tracing in Procreate and unlock your creative potential today!


1. Can I trace an image in Procreate?

Yes, you can trace an image in Procreate. Procreate is a powerful digital illustration app that allows you to import an image and trace over it using various tools and brushes. This feature is often used by artists and designers who want to create digital artwork based on a reference image.

2. How do I trace an image in Procreate?

To trace an image in Procreate, follow these steps:

  1. Import the image you want to trace into your Procreate canvas by tapping on the “+” icon and selecting “Insert a Photo”.
  2. Lower the opacity of the image layer to make it more transparent and easier to trace over.
  3. Create a new layer above the image layer where you will do the tracing.
  4. Select the brush or pen tool you prefer and start tracing over the image, following its outlines and details.
  5. You can adjust the size, opacity, and other settings of the brush tool as needed.
  6. Once you have finished tracing the image, you can hide or delete the original image layer if desired.

3. Are there any tools in Procreate specifically designed for tracing?

While Procreate does not have a dedicated tracing tool, it offers a wide range of brushes and pens that can be used effectively for tracing. You can experiment with different brush settings to achieve the desired effect, such as adjusting the opacity, size, and pressure sensitivity to mimic different levels of ink or pencil strokes.

4. Can I trace images with transparency in Procreate?

Yes, Procreate supports image transparency, which means you can trace images with transparent backgrounds. When you import an image with transparency into Procreate, the transparent areas will be preserved, allowing you to trace only the visible parts of the image while ignoring the transparent regions.

5. Can I convert the traced image into a vector format in Procreate?

No, Procreate is primarily a raster-based digital art app, which means it works with pixels rather than vectors. Therefore, any tracing you do in Procreate will result in a raster image. If you need to convert your traced image into a vector format, you would need to export it from Procreate and use a vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW for the conversion.