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Are you trying to outline your lettering using the Procreate app?
If so, you’ve come to the right place, and I will guide you throughout the whole process – step-by-step!
And don’t worry, this method is super quick and easy and doesn’t require you to work with many layers.
This method can also work for calligraphy, illustrations, or basically any sort of object you wish to outline.
Here is a quick overview of this tutorial –
- What do you need for this tutorial?
- The step-by-step outlining process
- A few extra tips
- Final words
Without any further delays, let’s get started!
If you prefer watching over reading, I’ve also made a YouTube video you can check out instead –
What do you need for this tutorial?
You will, of course, need an iPad Pro, an Apple pen as well as the Procreate app.
I am using the Procreate 5x version at the time of writing this tutorial.
Aside from these tools, you’ll also need your lettering/calligraphy piece to be ready.
For this tutorial, I’ve created a quick calligraphy piece that says ‘’Outline’’.
For it, I used the ‘’Beautiful’’ brush from my Calligraphy brush pack (links to DesignCuts.com), but feel free to use any brush you have at hand.
Quick Note – If you are trying to create an outline on a lettering piece with texture, especially on the edges, the outline won’t be super smooth.
Outlining your lettering in Procreate in 6 EASY steps
As mentioned, I think this is the quickest, and easiest method Procreate currently has to offer.
So let’s jump right into it.
Step 1 –
Plan out your colors.
Here we are working with 3 different elements –
My advice is that you select colors that have good contrast between each other.
My background will be yellow, my lettering will be white, and the outline will be blue.
If you are struggling with your colors, I’ve written a beginner guide on color theory and how to use them in your lettering.
You can check it out here.
Step 2 –
Duplicate your lettering layer two times.
I will color them both in my selected outline color, which is a nice contrasting dark blue.
To color them quickly, open up the layer panel, tap on the thumbnail icon, and select the ‘’Alpha Lock’’ mode.
Once they are on the ‘’Alpha Lock’’ mode, tap the thumbnail once again and choose ‘’Fill Layer’’.
That will color everything in your layer, and since the lettering is in Alpha Lock, it will only color the lettering.
Once you are done, make sure to turn off the Alpha Lock mode.
Step 3 –
Select the middle layer, open up the transformation panel from the top left corner and select ‘’Gaussian Blur’’.
Slide the top bar to about 7-8%.
Quick note – The amount of gaussian blur might be different depending on the size of your canvas. For reference, I’ve selected ‘’Screen Size’’. For you, it might be a bit more or a bit less. The important is that you create a small outlined blur around your lettering piece. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Step 4 –
Merge the blurred layer with the one below.
This will help us get a smoother outline in the next step.
Step 5 –
Hit the select tool from the top left corner, and make sure it’s under the automatic selection.
Now THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! –
Touch with your pen on the lettering, not under, above, left, or right.
It has to be on the lettering.
Once you’ve touched, slide with the pen on the right, as you did with the Gaussian Blur.
You will see a bright blue color on the screen, and you should keep sliding until it’s outlining your lettering to your desired thickness.
I will leave mine to about 98%, and again in your case, that could be more or less.
What matters is that you see the blue line going all around your lettering.
Like this –
Step 6 –
While still being in the selection mode, open up a new layer, and pick a big hard brush.
With the color you selected for your outline, go all over your lettering piece.
This will cover the selection AKA the lettering outline.
There you have it, folks!
You’ve successfully outlined your lettering piece.
Super quick, super easy, and without having to duplicate a whole bunch of layers.
A few extra tips to improve your outlined lettering
Ok here are a few extra tips that you can further implement on your piece.
Tip 1# – Fill in the gaps!
If you outlined your lettering, chances are you will still have some gaps in your piece.
Grab the brush tool and fill in the gaps.
It will look much cleaner and less distracting.
After all, it’s a lettering piece, not a piece of swiss cheese 😛
Tip 2# – Add some shadows!
We can further pimp out our outlined lettering piece by adding some shadows.
Duplicate your outline layer (the bottom one) and move it slightly down and to the right.
You can also do it on the left, imagining that your light source comes from the top right.
This will create an offset shadow effect. Like this –
Additionally, you can take it a step further by duplicating the offset shadow layer, moving it a bit more in the same direction, and reducing the opacity to about 10% more or less.
This will give it the look of a drop shadow.
Tip 3# – Add some more shadows!
My last tutorial was all about how to add shadows to your lettering in Procreate.
One of the techniques was the cut in shadow effect.
I think the cut in shadow is a perfect fit when you are outlining your letters.
Here you can see an example of it.
If you want to learn how to add the cut in shadow effect, check out my other tutorial by clicking here.
I also made a YouTube video showing how to achieve that effect.
It’s the third effect in the video below –
And there you have it, folks!
A relatively simple and quick way to outline your lettering, illustrations, or any other object for that matter.
So far, this is the best method (in my opinion) that Procreate has to offer.
However, Procreate has been regularly releasing updates with new features, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see an outlining feature coming out soon.
If you now a better and easier method for outlining your lettering, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.
The same goes for ideas and suggestions for future and upcoming tutorials.
Until the next one,
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About the author
Lettering Daily is an online community that provides educational and inspirational content for hand lettering and calligraphy beginners. Our mission is to help artists and enthusiasts from all around the world to learn and improve their hand lettering and calligraphy skills.