Quick paintings from photos using Procreate Reference Panel

Recently I have been using Procreate’s excellent Reference Panel tool to create quick “Ruff” paintings on my iPad. 

You can watch the 7 min video of how I made the painting below by clicking here.

Procreate’s Reference Panel (seen on the right here) is a very useful feature for copying or using an image for the basis of a work. You can even sample the colours directly from the reference panel.
Quick 10 minute Painting using Procreate’s Reference Panel.

I call them “Ruff” paintings because the idea is that they’re not supposed to be a finished painting – they usually take around 10 mins – but just a mapping out of the main blocks of colour with little detail. 

I find these “ruff” paintings help me to build confidence in digital painting and give me great goal-based short exercise practice with Procreate especially with selecting different brushes and also helping to develop a better colour sensibility.  

Painting progression starts with mapping out the large areas in Procreate with a big brush.

Although I use the original photo to reference and choose the colours with Procreate’s brilliant touch-screen colour picker, the colour choice isn’t always the best one so I will often need to manually tweak it, hence developing my sense of colour. Developing your eye for colour comes with practice.

Procreate’s “Reference” companion recently became available for Pocket Procreate, the iPhone version of Procreate.

Watch how I created the quick painting in the short video here.

Procreate for iPad is available here at £9.99 /$9.99
Procreate Pocket for iPhone is available here £4.99 / $4.99


  1. Lesley Fenton said:

    Excellent to see how you move through the various options for choosing or duplicating colour. Also very clear and well paced. I think, for me , dealing with one thing at a time in Procreate is the answer to success. I often go back to the lessons in ArmChairArtAdventures with better understanding. Thanks for this.

    • Nicki Fitz-GeraldNicki Fitz-Gerald said:

      Thank you Lesley. So glad you found this tutorial clear, useful and easy to follow….and delighted you find my courses like Armchair Art Adventures packed with enough information to be revisited. I’ll be posting more short, focussed digital art videos like this on my Youtube channel and will keep you updated via the iPhoneographyCentral newsletter.



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