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Can you fill paint in Procreate?

Procreate is a popular digital illustration app for iPad that lets users create artwork by sketching, painting, and drawing. One of Procreate’s standout features is its wide range of brushes, including many that simulate the look and feel of traditional art materials like oil paint, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, and more. So can you actually fill in colors like you would with real paint in Procreate? The short answer is yes, absolutely.

Using the Fill Tool

One of the easiest ways to fill in color in Procreate is to use the Fill tool. The Fill tool allows you to instantly fill enclosed shapes and areas with the currently selected color and brush. This makes quickly blocking in colors for sketches or underpaintings incredibly simple.

To use the Fill tool in Procreate:

  • Select the color you want to fill with from the color wheel.
  • Choose a brush and set the size as desired.
  • Tap the Fill icon in the top menu (it looks like a paint bucket).
  • Tap inside any enclosed area to fill it with the selected color.

You’ll see the color smoothly fill in using the characteristics of the chosen brush. This makes filling much more natural and organic than just using a solid color fill.

The Fill tool works best for filling in specific closd-off sections and layers. Using the Paint Bucket tool allows you to quickly block in colors to establish shadows, highlights, and midtones for painting. It’s perfect for speeding up the early blocking stages of a painting.

Painting Directly with Brushes

In addition to the Fill tool, you can also directly paint with color using Procreate’s wide range of brushes. Procreate’s brushes are designed to mimic the behavior and characteristics of real artistic media like oils, acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, and more.

To paint directly with color in Procreate:

  • Select a brush that suits your desired painting style.
  • Choose a color from the color wheel.
  • Adjust size, opacity, and other settings as desired.
  • Simply start painting strokes directly on the canvas.

Procreate’s brushes blend and mix colors smoothly, just like real paints. The oils and acrylic brushes in particular feature rich, thick brush textures that retain brushstrokes and allow blending colors on the canvas. Watercolors flow and bloom, while markers and airbrushes provide smooth spray effects.

With practice, you can achieve amazingly realistic paintings using Procreate’s brushes. Layering translucent glazes over underpaintings, mixing colors directly on the canvas, and building up textures can all be done to replicate real painting techniques.

Special Brush Features for Painting

In addition to the broad range of brush types, Procreate also includes many special features that further assist with painting and filling with color:

  • Wet Mixing – This allows blending and mixing colors directly on the canvas to create smooth transitions between hues.
  • Color Dynamics – Varying levels of flow and opacity can be set across a single brushstroke.
  • Color Jitter – Brushstrokes randomly vary in hue, saturation, and brightness.
  • Bristle Brushes – Mimic the texture and paint blending of real brush bristles.
  • Fast Painting – Block in underpaintings quickly with less concern for details.

These settings allow you to create very natural blending and filling effects. Wet mixing is especially useful for producing realistic oil and acrylic paintings. You can push paint around, blend edges smoothly, and mix colors on the canvas with brushes that support wet mixing.

Filling Shapes with Gradients

In addition to solid color fills, Procreate also lets you fill shapes with gradient fills. Gradient fills transition smoothly between multiple colors across a shape.

To fill with a gradient:

  • Draw a closed shape or select one you’ve already drawn.
  • Tap the Gradient icon in the top menu.
  • Choose your gradient colors and type (linear, radial, angled, etc).
  • Fill the shape – the gradient will smoothly transition across it.

You can create very complex and natural looking gradients this way. For example, filling a circular shape with a radial gradient can produce a very realistic looking lens flare effect.

Masking and Alpha Locking

Procreate provides two other features that assist with cleanly filling in specific areas – masking and alpha locking.

Masking lets you paint on specific layers or areas you’ve masked off, preventing coloring outside the lines. Any strokes made will only be visible within the masked region.

Alpha locking locks the transparent background of a layer so that strokes only fill non-transparent areas. This is extremely useful for cleanly coloring line art and sketches.

Using masks and alpha locks makes isolating and filling specific sections much quicker and easier. Masking is also useful for separating paint strokes in different layers for easy editing.


Thanks to its wide range of realistic brushes, handy fill features, gradients, masking, and alpha locking, Procreate provides all the tools needed to fill illustrations with color just like real paint. Mimicking physical media through digital brushes and tools is what Procreate does best. So whether you want to quickly block in colors, blend wet mixes directly on the canvas, lay precise gradients, or manually paint each stroke, you can fill with all the control and realism of physical paint in Procreate.