How to Use Procreate Calligraphy for Pointed Pen Compositions

Is the layout the hardest part of a calligraphy piece for you? It definitely is for me, and I’ve found a hack! Keep reading to see how to use procreate calligraphy to save tons of time!

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Procreate Calligraphy

Procreate is a wonderful addition to the calligraphy world (in my humble opinion!). It is so much fun to experiment with different styles of writing without using up a ton of paper in the process. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that I’m loving learning to paint watercolor on the iPad as well! But, I have to say that my favorite use for Procreate thus far has been for laying out my calligraphy compositions! Before Procreate entered my life, I drafted my compositions in pencil, and used up almost an entire eraser each time ;). Often, I would get tired of this process and just start writing- which lead me to needing to do multiple drafts of each piece due to centering problems.

The Joys of Procreate

And enter Procreate…MAGIC! Instead of spending several hours on a layout, my time is cut in half! Don’t get me wrong, the layout process still takes me about twice as long as penning the final composition, but it is so much faster and more precise!

The Process

The process is actually very simple!

Canvas Setup

First, I grab a set of guidelines for the project I’m working on. (If you are looking for a guideline resource, Lan has a great free online generator here.) These guidelines download as a pdf, so I do a quick conversion on my laptop and save as a JPEG. Then, I airdrop this file to my iPad.

Next, I set up my canvas for the size that my final product needs to be. I tend to work in inches rather than pixels when picking the size of my canvas for these type of projects. For this example, I use a 5×7 canvas because my final product needed to be 5×7.

Importing Guidelines

Once my canvas is all set up, I import the guidelines that I want to use and lock that layer. I’ve learned the hard way to make sure that I can’t accidentally write on this layer (I’ve had to start over way too many times- ha!).

Description of how to lock a layer in procreate
To lock, choose the layer and swipe to the left; then choose “lock.” This will prevent any marks being made on this layer, until it is unlocked.

Then, I create a new layer on top of my guidelines.. Before I start writing, I usually eyeball the piece to see about how many lines I think I will end up with, so I have a general idea of how many to put on each line. Then, I start writing!

One of the most important keys here is to write each line of text on a separate layer. This allows for the ability to recenter each line with minimal difficulty (instead of having to move the entire piece around). Sometimes, I don’t get everything quite right and still have to erase and start over- but that’s just a double tap instead of an eraser 😉

Make Sure to Use Snapping!

For the next step, I ensure that my “snapping” feature is toggled on. This can be located at the top of the window by clicking the cursor arrow icon. Then at the bottom of the page, touch “snapping” and make sure the “snapping” is toggled on. (I usually don’t use the “magnetics” setting). With snapping turned on, you’re able to move the text around and find the center of the document- at which point a yellow line will pop up to let you know you’re in the right spot!

First select the arrow at the top of the page, and then make sure the button next to snapping is toggled on.
The yellow snapping line

Final Touches

Once all of my text is written, I start with the top line and center each line of text to the middle of the document- and, voila! The piece is ready to print! ** I have learned that it is important to export the file as a PDF rather than a jpeg or PNG. When I have tried with JPEG/PNG, the file doesn’t print at the correct size.

Once my file is printed, I pull out my trusty lightpad, put this page down, place my paper on top and then start writing! And, voila! A perfectly centered composition without the destruction of erasers 😉

The Procreate Calligraphy Process Video

The Process! Don’t worry, just the first word is in real time 🙂

And the Final Product

The final piece! (Pictured with my favorite Ergonomic pen holder). Nib is Zebra G, Paper is Strathmore Bristol Smooth)

While you’re here, don’t forget to pop by the shop to check out available designs for purchase! Don’t see what you’re looking for or want to commission a design? Email me to discuss your ideas!

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