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Anime Lineart in Procreate

If you're reading this, chances are you’ve been practicing your skills and are hungry for that extra edge in creating clean, expressive lines. In this blog, we go through a journey of taking your anime art to the next level through mastering the art of line work in Procreate. 

In most forms of digital art, lineart acts as the backbone of any illustration, especially in the vibrant world of anime. It's the fine strokes that bring life to your characters, capturing the essence of emotion and movement. With this guide, we'll go through the steps you need to learn anime lineart in Procreate, from setting up your canvas to refining details and seeing different styles you might be interested in!

I. Setting Up Procreate for Anime Lineart

Getting your workspace ready is the first step towards creating stunning anime lineart in Procreate. Let's dive into the essentials:

Canvas Settings and Dimensions:

  • Before you start, consider the size and resolution of your canvas. For anime illustrations, a common choice is a square canvas with dimensions like 2000x2000 pixels. This provides a good balance for detailed line work without large file sizes, which can be challenging since Procreate only has limited layers. If you only mean to post your work in social media, you don’t need to tinker with the DPI. However, if you want to print it out then you might want to go with a higher DPI value, so plan ahead! We dive through more details on setting this up in this Procreate Guide to Setting Up a New Canvas.

DPI Settings
DPI Settings

Recommended Brushes for Clean Lines:

  • Go for brushes that have a smooth and precise feel if you want crisp anime lineart. The "Studio Pen" and "Technical Pen" are some of the most popular ones - but don't be afraid to play with the settings to find the perfect one for you. Hint : the ones that would make the greatest difference would be the streamline and pressure sensitivity settings!

Recommended brushes for Anime lineart
Recommended brushes for Anime Lineart

II. Layer Management for Anime Lineart

Managing layers is super important when you're drawing anime lineart in Procreate. Here's a quick rundown of some key tips for using layers in the best way possible:

Organizing Layers:

  • Organize your layers in a logical order. Put character, background, and accessories on different layers so you can make changes to each one without affecting the other parts of the composition.

Using Alpha Lock and Clipping Masks:

  • Make use of Procreate's functions like alpha lock and clipping masks. Alpha lock lets you paint on existing stuff while keeping the transparency. Clipping masks let you put in adjustments or colors within another layer, perfect for intricate anime lineart.

Clipping mask in Procreate
Clipping mask in Procreate

Alpha lock in Procreate
Alpha lock in Procreate

III. Refining Details

To bring your anime characters to life, focus on creating dynamic line variations. Change the pressure on your stylus to get thin and thick lines for depth. Tapering in Procreate brushes can make your lines even more expressive, especially for hair strands, clothing folds, and facial features. Pay special attention to facial features and hair details - use line weights to emphasize shadows and contours for emotions. Another tip-- when rendering hair, try out a variety of strokes to capture the texture of anime hair. With precision techniques combined with expressive details, your anime lineart will look polished and professional!

Brush Settings
Brush Settings

IV. Experimenting with Style

Experimenting with different styles lets you find a unique style in the vast world of anime art. Let's explore a few styles and get inspired by some renowned mangaka who've mastered them:

1. Expressive Lines like Yoshihiro Togashi

  • This style is all about dynamic and expressive lines, conveying emotions with bold strokes. Yoshihiro Togashi, the creator of "Hunter x Hunter," is a master of this approach. See how the lineart brings characters to life with a raw and energetic feel, emphasizing the emotional intensity of the scenes.

Yoshihiro Togashi's Art for HunterxHunter
Yoshihiro Togashi's Art for HunterxHunter

2. Clean and Precise like Naoko Takeuchi

  • If you lean towards polished and clean lineart, take a page from Naoko Takeuchi's book. The creator of "Sailor Moon" embraces sleek lines, creating a sense of sophistication in her character designs. Focusing on precision and clarity in your lines can give your anime lineart a timeless and elegant quality.

Naoko Takeuchi's Art for Sailor Moon
Naoko Takeuchi's Art for Sailor Moon

3. Detailed and Intricate like Kiyohiko Azuma

  • While anime is considered stylized, another style you can study is by Kiyohiko Azuma, the mangaka behind "Yotsuba&!". His artwork is renowned for its complex details and almost hyper-realistic backgrounds. This is done by clever use of linework to mimic shadows and textures in real life.

Kiyohiko Azuma's Art for Yotsuba&!
Kiyohiko Azuma's Art for Yotsuba&!

V. Troubleshooting Common Issues

Now that we’ve gone through the essentials, let’s go through some common issues you might come across in Procreate. Not to worry, we have solutions for all of them!

A. Jagged or Blurry Lines

  • Problem: Noticeable jagged edges or artifacts in your anime lineart.
  • Solution: Increase canvas resolution for smoother lines.
  • Pro Tip: Lowering brush size can also help reduce jagged edges in intricate details of anime lineart.

B. Pressure Sensitivity Problems

  • Problem: Inconsistent pressure sensitivity affecting line thickness.
  • Solution: Adjust stylus pressure settings in Procreate to match your preferred sensitivity.
  • Pro Tip: Regularly check stylus compatibility and check for firmware updates when using a non-Apple pen. Additionally, adjusting brush opacity settings can compensate for variations in pressure.

Pressure and Sensitivity settings in Procreate
Pressure & Smoothing settings

C. Layer Complications

  • Problem: Unexpected changes or difficulties with layers 
  • Solution: Flatten or merge layers carefully! It’s also best to always keep backups using duplicate layers.
  • Tip: Before major edits, double-check the layer blend modes! Remember that layer organization is also important; make sure layers are appropriately named (we all forget most times)  and grouped to avoid confusion.

There we have it! You now have the basic foundation to build your anime art skills. 

Play around with styles, have fun, and don't stress the small stuff. Your canvas is your playground, so keep practicing and enjoy! 

Happy drawing!

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