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N Style & Design


How I Make E-Designs Without Photoshop

When I was in college and it was time to make design boards for our make-believe clients, we had to ravage our school resource library to grab the products/materials we needed. We cut wallpaper from books, cut fabrics, ripped out carpet and tile samples, grabbed paint swatches, everything!

Making physical boards wasn’t my favorite. You had to make sure your heavy stone tiles didn’t fall off, had to wrap the fabrics, cut out labels, etc. I know many designers still use physical boards because that tactile experience is amazing, but WHEW, I did not enjoy putting those things together.

Closer to the end of my degree program, we were allowed to do a digital design board (like once, maybe twice) and I MUCH preferred that. I used my one-course knowledge of Photoshop and put together my little masterpiece. A thousand times less hassle and I knew from that moment I was going to opt for digital visuals any time I could.


Now, we all know Photoshop is one of the top software apps out there, but as someone who only does design boards in her spare time, I couldn’t justify paying the evil eternal subscription, so I had to find an alternative. (More like I fell upon an alternative because I wasn’t looking for it)

I don’t remember how it happened, either Apple lured me with colorful grahics or someone shared something on Instagram that got me hooked, but all I know is I had one peek at that app and I knew I wanted it. I literally bought an iPad just to be able to use it. I know, I know. Paying $700+ just to use an app I knew nothing about was an insane gamble, but luckily it worked out!

The mysterious app?

Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. It’s mainly an app for digital painting that’s probably more suited for artists/illustrators. But me being me, I discovered how to use it a little differently than intended.


Procreate shares some similar tools/features with Photoshop but there aren't an overwhelming amount, so as long as you aren't hardcore into graphic design features, I think it's a great tool.

You're able to drag in or import images, distort images for perspective, do some color correcting, draw freely or add in textures using the multiple brushes, export to multiple file types, and my favorite tool: removing the background.

I've tried a few photo editing apps and whenever I remove the background I always end up with very pixelated edges (even in photoshop, because I don't have the experience to know what I'm doing 😂). With Procreate it rarely requires extra effort to have a relatively smooth edge, so that wins me over a lot.

Now, I won't lie to you, there are some things that aren't great for how I use it. Switching between layers every time you want to move something is a bit tedious. And you always have to actively select/deselect an item (don't try to tap and drag or else sometimes you end up drawing over your work!), but once you learn some of the gestures, it makes for a smoother experience.

The best part? It's $10. For eternity. Now consider yourself lucky because it was $20 back in my 2016 day, lol! For $10 you can make as many boards as you want!

So, take that info as you will! 4 years later and I still discover how to use tools differently! If you already have an iPad and are looking for a nice app to create your masterpiece mood boards, give Procreate some thought! And if you have questions or are trying it and need help, give me a shout!

(Procreate, if you're reading, you should pay me to advertise because boy will I!)



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