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How do you fill color without dragging and pulling in Procreate?


Procreate is a popular digital illustration app for iOS devices. It provides artists with a wide range of brushes, tools, and features to create digital art on an iPad or iPhone. One handy feature in Procreate is the ability to fill enclosed shapes with color without having to manually drag a brush within the shape’s boundaries. This can save artists a lot of time and effort when coloring or painting their artwork. In this article, we’ll go over several methods for filling color in Procreate without dragging or pulling actions.

Using the Paint Bucket Tool

The fastest and easiest way to fill shapes with color in Procreate is by using the Paint Bucket tool. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the Paint Bucket tool from the Tools menu.
  2. Choose a color you want to fill with by tapping on the color picker.
  3. Tap anywhere inside an enclosed shape or area to fill it with the selected color.

The Paint Bucket tool will automatically detect edges and fill the entire enclosed shape or area with the chosen color. This makes filling large sections or multiple shapes very quick and simple.

The Paint Bucket has adjustable settings like Tolerance which controls how closely it sticks to edges, and Mode which determines whether it fills transparent or opaque pixels. Play around with these to fine tune your fills.

One tip is to create a new layer before using the Paint Bucket tool so you can always edit or undo the fill without affecting your original sketch.

Using the Selection Tool

Another way to quickly fill shapes in Procreate is by using the Selection tool in combination with the Paint Bucket. Here is how:

  1. Draw some shapes or outline an area you want to fill.
  2. Select the Selection tool and drag a bounding box around your shapes or area.
  3. Tap the Paint Bucket icon while your selection is still active.
  4. Choose a color, then tap inside the selected shapes to fill them.

This technique lets you isolate and target specific shapes or regions more precisely than just freely applying the Paint Bucket tool everywhere.

You can further refine your selection using the Add and Subtract modes to include or exclude certain parts from the selection. This gives you very fine control over exactly where the fill color is applied.

Using Layer Modes

By changing a layer’s blending mode, you can fill content on layers below without having to explicitly paint or fill on that layer. Here are some modes that can help create filled shapes non-destructively:

Multiply – Fills with transparent pixels, letting colors on lower layers show through.

Overlay – Combines colors using a mix of Multiply and Screen blending. Great for adding highlights and shadows.

Color Dodge – Brightens lower layers increasing saturation and vibrance.

Color Burn – Darkens lower layers increasing contrast and shadows.

Play around with layer modes using filled shapes on layers above your line sketches to quickly add color and shading in a non-destructive workflow.

Making Selections based on Layer Alpha

Here is an advanced technique for filling shapes by making automatic selections based on transparent vs. painted areas on a layer:

  1. On the layer with your shapes, tap the layer icon and choose Select Based on Layer Alpha.
  2. Go back to the main canvas view. You should now see marching ants indicating the selections.
  3. Tap the Paint Bucket tool to fill the selections with color.

This lets you skip having to manually trace shapes with the Selection tool since it detects all the opaque areas automatically.

You can refine the selection further by choosing Select Based on Layer Alpha again, then using Add/Subtract modes or the Freehand select tool to fix any unwanted parts of the selection.

Tips for Effective Shape Filling

Here are some additional tips to help you master shape filling workflows in Procreate:

– Use clipping masks to constrain fills to specific shapes or text layers.

– Lower Paint Bucket Tolerance to avoid spilling over edges

– Raise Tolerance when filling more organic shapes without clearly defined edges.

– Use Soft Brush opacity to gradually build up fills with a natural, painterly texture.

– Enable Preserve Transparency to keep any existing transparent areas intact.

– Use Lock Transparent Pixels to prevent accidentally painting over empty areas.

– Name and organize layers clearly so fills don’t mix with other painting.

– Work across multiple layers, filling shapes on their own layers then compositing.

Alternative Tools for Filling

While the Paint Bucket is the fastest way to fill shapes in Procreate, you can also use other tools:

Paintbrush – Manually paint inside shapes with a solid color brush at 100% opacity. Can give a hand-painted look.

Airbrush – Set to 100% opacity and flow to quickly spray color into shapes with a soft, textured effect.

Marker/Pen – Use block color tools to quickly scribble or hatch color into shapes for a graphic art style.

Gradient – Drag gradients across shapes then set blend mode to Color to fill with a color gradient effect.

Liquify – Use the Liquify effect to distort and smear colors into shapes in an organic, abstract way.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with the wide variety of brushes and tools at your disposal in Procreate for filling shapes!

Filling Complex Selections

For filling very complex selections with intricate edges, you have a couple options:

– Use smaller, variable-opacity soft brushes to manually paint color into all the crevices. Can be time consuming but offers the most control.

– Convert selection into a black and white alpha mask on a new layer. Then bucket fill the mask layer and blur it slightly so colors bleed into the edges when applied to the layer below.

– Expand your selection by a few pixels, feather the edges, then fill using a soft-edged brush at lower opacity to build up color in the detailed areas.

– Use layer modes like Multiply and Overlay to let colors fill on lower layers while retaining texture details.

Take advantage of selections and masking to fill even the most complex shapes and textures seamlessly.


Filling enclosed shapes with color is a breeze in Procreate thanks to versatile tools like the Paint Bucket. Whether you need to quickly block in broad areas or carefully control fills across intricate selections, Procreate offers all the options. Mastering non-destructive shape filling techniques can take your digital illustrations to the next level. Experiment with different layer modes, blending effects, selections and brushes to find your own unique, efficient workflows. Just remember – no need for tedious dragging or pulling when you can bucket fill!

Tool Description Best Uses
Paint Bucket Fills enclosed shapes and areas with selected color Quickly filling large/multiple shapes
Selection + Paint Bucket Makes specific selections then fills them Precisely targeting shapes to fill
Layer Modes Changes how colors interact between layers Non-destructively adding color
Soft Brushes Gradually builds up color with texture Organic, painterly effect

This table summarizes some of the key techniques covered for filling shapes without dragging in Procreate, along with the benefits of each approach. Refer to it for quick guidance on which tools and methods to use depending on your needs.