Pontiac Drawing

Tracing Exercise in Procreate

posted in: Drawing | 0

I got it into my head that I wanted to draw one of my photos. I recently posted my Top Nine Instagram Photos of 2019, one of which was a black and white photo of an old Pontiac.


I really like this photo and thought I could do a nice pencil drawing of it. I quickly found out that I was in over my head. I couldn’t get the proportions right. I couldn’t get the angles of the hood lines right. It wasn’t going well at all.

I decided to import the photo into Procreate and basically trace it. I thought by doing so, I would get a better sense of how to compose the drawing and to learn how to draw the various components.

I really like drawing in Procreate and would like to work with it more. I somewhat impulsively bought it for my iPad and have spent a little time with it and enjoy using it. I find it to be a great learning tool because it is more forgiving than analog drawing.

One of the helpful things about Procreate is that you can work in layers. I was able to work with different sections of the photo individually and once I was happy with a section, I could start a new layer and not accidentally mess up the ones I finished. I ended up with 20 layers for this pictures.

Another nice thing about layers is that you can hide any of them in order to better concentrate on a specific layer. You can also change the opacity of any layer if a section turns out too dark and too prominent.

Also, you can zoom into a section in Procreate which helps with detail work and which, obviously, you cannot do with pencil and paper.

In terms of tracing, you can also hide the original picture to see how you are progressing. When you unhide the picture, you don’t need to worry about making sure everything is lined up as you would with tracing paper.

Another great feature is that Procreate will create a time-lapse video of your work which you can refer to in order to evaluate your process.

I’m really happy with the way the picture turned out. Although it was “only” traced, it was a lot of work. It took me about 4 hours to complete. I’m especially pleased with how the headlights and the side mirror turned out.

Pontiac Drawing
Pontiac Drawing

I’m in no way saying that using a drawing app like Procreate is better than analog drawing. It’s a different thing altogether. It does make certain aspects of drawing easier which is helpful for anyone learning how to draw.

I don’t think I’m going to go back and try to draw the Pontiac again in pencil, although that would be a good test of what I learned. I do feel like I learned a lot with this tracing exercise and hope I’ve taken a step toward more successful pencil or pen and paper drawing.

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