Making Digital Art

At the risk of sounding like a computer magazine advertisement, I’ll write a bit about the iPad art apps that I’ve been using recently; Procreate and iColorama. Procreate is for graphic design and fine art production. It mimics traditional drawing and painting tools digitally. IColorama is designed as a photo editing program but can used to alter digital art images as well.


Using the tools (“brushes”) in Procreate and “drawing” shapes and textures on multiple layers, I can compose images in a variety of ways; drawing with a pencil or pen or painting with various brushes. Objects of various colors, sizes and shapes can be created and selected to be moved, reshaped or transformed in some other way. Arranging all of these elements is how the finished image comes about. (It should be noted that the digital images do not need to be done on multiple layers. Most of the life drawings I’ve done in Procreate are done on a single layer, like drawing on paper).

Image elements

Here’s an example of how I have put some of these abstract images together. I’ll start with a background layer something like this.

This is the bottom of several stacked transparent layers. The colors and shapes are created with the tools in Procreate.

Then various elements are created on multiple transparent layers.

This is a combination of individual objects created on separate layers and combined into one layer.
When all of the elements from ALL layers are combined, the finished composition is complete.


Now a different kind of digital magic comes about. When I save the finished composition from Procreate in a digital photo format, I can import it into iColorama. IColorama has a myriad of tools for altering the composition. It can even transform the image completely into many different configurations, some almost totally unrecognizable from the original.

Altered surface textures

These are just a few of the thousands of possible changes that can be made to the surface of the completed image.

In this case the “textured” elements of the original drawing are “raised” and have a three-dimensional look. Notice that the flat color elements (from the background) are not altered.

This example shows how a uniform texture (in this case canvas or maybe denim) can be applied to the WHOLE image evenly. There is an endless variety of textures available in iColorama and they can be combined or added to each other to achieve limitless possibilities for creative expression.

The next three examples show surface treatments that change the look of the image while retaining the composition as a whole.


In addition to surface changes, iColorama has many tools for completely transforming the appearance of the composition. Here are several examples.

( You can click on the individual images below to see them full sized).

As you can see, there are a multitude of possibilities for digitally creating and expanding an original idea using these two apps. One of my favorite aspects of the Procreate app is that it can create a video (time lapse) of the creation of a composition showing the whole process sped up. I can’t display videos on this blog but if anyone is interested in seeing a time lapse video of the creative process of any of the digital images that I have posted over the last couple of months (life drawing or abstract), send me an email with the image you’re interested in and I will email the video to you. Write me at

Author: Jeff Gold

I'm a retired musician (oboist) now living in Vermont and exploring various avenues of art, urban sketching, life drawing, block printing and digital abstractions.

6 thoughts on “Making Digital Art”

  1. Fascinating! Thank you so much for this step-by-step explanation. To be honest, it seems a little daunting. But I guess one just has to treat both apps as any other artist tool and practice, practice, practice.


    1. Hi Laureen. Thanks for the comment. Anything new can seem daunting but I must say that between the user friendly interface of Procreate and the availability of Procreate tutorials on YouTube, I was able to get right into using the app. I didn’t try to use everything that was available at once (and still have a LOT to discover) so I could concentrate on just a few tools and techniques. IColorama is a very complex app and with fewer resources available to learn it so I’ve just been digging in and using what I can with each new discovery. It is an endless journey. Thanks again for writing and keeping up with the blog!


  2. I found your explanations on how you create your creations very interesting. Thanks. (One of the transformations would make a very pretty quilt!)


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