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  • Writer's pictureCorryn Webb

Quick and Simple: Pinky & the Brain Procreate Tutorial

This is a super quick tutorial on how I created my Pinky and the Brain illustration. Nothing groundbreaking, but if you are new to Procreate and digital illustration it may be interesting to see peoples process.

I didn't really have a plan for this illustration. It was a Saturday morning and I woke up with a black cloud hovering around my head.

Another day in quarantine.

I rolled out of bed with the Pinky and the Brain’s catchphrase looping around and around my brain

"Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”

“The same thing we do every night Pinky..." So I grabbed a coffee, my iPad and jumped right back into bed.

Firstly I pulled up a couple of reference pictures on my phone next to me and drew them out. There is also an option to pull up an internet browser within Procreate (drag from off the bottom of the screen up, tap your internet browser and drag across to the side, personally though this gets in my way.) or now and upload a reference picture from your tablet. (Canvas > reference on).

I always use this beautiful brush from one of my favourite illustrators, Gret Lusky, which she made available to her Patreons (if you don't know who she is search her up, she's amazing).

Once I was happy with my sketch I dropped the opacity and created a new layer for each character (sometimes I can be a bit rubbish at doing this and if I get really absorbed in my drawing I tend to have all the line art on one layer, base colours on another, etc. This does however make it a little more work to move the individual characters around and as I had zero plans for the piece, I cut future Corryn a break.)

I still had my reference pictures to the side so I could see during the inking process that Pinkie’s feet were a bit off. I also noticed that Brain was looking a little too long. I redrew Pinkies feet and used the select tool to grab his body, made sure it was on 'freehand' not ‘automatic’ and squished him. Automatic would have kept the proportions which I didn't want. For the inking, I used one of my favourite brushes Procreate’s 'Dry ink 1'.

These guys were super easy to colour, again a layer each (below their inking layers). For this, I just use the Procreate 'technical' brush to draw the perimeter and drop and fill. You may find that you’ll have to adjust the fill. My boys both use Procreate quite a bit and sometimes mess with my settings. So when you drag and fill an item like this you may sometimes notice that there's still a thin white line around the perimeter of the fill, or that despite joining all of the perimeters your canvas is flooded with the fill. It’s an easy fix. All you need to do is adjust your colour drop threshold - when you grab and drag the colour over the section you want to fill, pause and look to the top of the screen where you will see 'colour drop threshold' and a percentage . Slide that for a high percentage if you're getting a white line or less if you're flooding.

For shadows I never use black. I'm not a fan of how black muddies and dulls colours so I usually use either a dark blue or, more often than not, a purple on multiply. Again I just used the dry ink Procreate brush and in some places blended it out with a Gal Shir textured brush.

I use the same process for the highlights, but using a pastel yellow and I played with settings (mainly because I haven't been on procreate for a while!) and settled on 'add'. Don’t be afraid to have a play with these and see what you get.

For the background, I was stuck between the atlas I vaguely remember from the opening credits as a kid, or the clock from Groundhog Day poster. I sort of went with a lazy mix of both.

To create the globe I drew a circle, then held 2 fingers down as I closed the circle and it magically gave me a smooth circle. Then on a new layer above with a clipping mask I drew out the landmasses roughly. To create a clipping mask go to Layers > tap the thumbnail of the layer you want to clip and select ‘clip’. This will mean that whatever you draw on this layer will only show when it’s above what’s on the layer below. I then decided to merge these to make the next bit easier (again go to layers > select the first layer you want to merge > right swipe any additional layers you want to merge and pinch them together into one.) because I have an old iPad i have to be frugal with my layers. With again one of my favourite textured brushes 'sugar', from a pack by Gal Shir, I painted in some very basic shadows and lighting in the same way I did with the characters. I could afford to be lazy here as I wasn't aiming for a perfectly spherical globe.

As you will see in the time-lapse, I started getting really indecisive here. I started to draw the clock numbers by hand, then went for adding text numbers, placed them all on the clock, only to throw them all jumbled on the floor and then come back and build them up a little and make the globe look like it was melting a little bit more. If I was doing this piece for a particular purpose I would spend a little more time going over these numbers as they are half done at best, and I did weigh it up but ultimately I was ready to get up and moving at that point so I left it as.

The texture I added (on multiply, lowered the opacity slightly) I dropped behind the characters to really make them pop. Again it's another one given to the Patreons of Gret Lusky. I highly recommend supporting some of your favourite artists and creators on Patreon. At the moment I am only subscribed to Loish and Gret, but I find for the small monthly support I provide they give a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

I've mentioned some of my favourite brushes here, it's soooo easy to get bogged down with brushes and brush shopping (trust me I have waaaaaay too many), I have a little folder of my favourites, my go-to brushes so that I don't lose focus. Sometimes I love looking through my other gazillion and pulling them out for certain projects, but I found going in and out of all these brush folders was just tiring and really affecting my productivity.

This was a super simple piece to create so I thought it would make a great little introduction to digital and Procreate specific illustration. I'm a little rusty on Procreate as I mainly use it to sketch at the moment with most things being created on Clip Studio. I have started popping a piece on the different bits of software I use including some notes on Affinity versus Adobe. I'll publish this soon.

Do feel free to comment with your favourite Procreate shortcuts and techniques, I think my favourites are the 2 finger tap to undo and the ole reliable 3 finger swipe down. If you don't know it go and investigate ;)

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