Are you curious about digital drawing, but perhaps a bit intimidated to dive into a totally new technique of creating art? This Procreate tutorial on how to draw a bottle can help!
You’ve seen the truly remarkable digital work that famous illustrators have created using Procreate on iPad Pro, and now it’s your turn to try out the amazing tools this new artistic medium has to offer.
This Procreate tutorial will de-mystify the process of drawing on a tablet and set you up with the basics of this amazing app, using how to draw a bottle as an example. Believe me, making the switch to digital is much easier (and more fun) than you would expect!
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How To Draw a Bottle: Embrace New Technology
I’m a Toronto illustrator who specializes in portraiture, editorial illustration and exhibition design. Until recently I’ve only worked with traditional media – pencil, ink, watercolour, on paper. However, after much curiosity I’ve given digital drawing a try and have been blown away. Both by how easy it is to pick it up, and by its amazing potential. Creating illustrations like bottle drawings with an Apple Pencil on iPad Pro saves me time, saves money on art supplies, and is really quite fun. It also saves my neck from craning hunched over a desk for hours – I now get to kick back and work from the couch!
While many of my drawing subjects are living things, there’s a certain joy in sometimes drawing something without a facial expression. Inanimate objects are often art-worthy unto themselves, but aside from that they can be great for just honing certain drawing skills. In fact, bottles and glass are one of my favourite such skill-enhancing subjects. Glass may seem like a simple thing, but upon a second look, you realize that a simultaneously transparent and reflective surface is pretty complicated to capture convincingly!
The beauty I find in glass, however, is that on a hard third glance, it gets possible to break up the complexity into pieces that your eye and brain can organize. And this process of visual break up and organization lends itself just spledidly to some of the advantageous features of drawing with Procreate on iPad Pro.
For freelance illustrators who are still unsure… don’t worry, I’m not asking you to replace your traditional art tools. Our Procreate tutorial on how to draw a bottle will show you how illustration on iPad offers an exciting new tool to add to your art arsenal.
How to Draw a Bottle: Illustration Apps
This story offers a step-by-step Procreate tutorial on how to draw a bottle. It’s important to note that there are several other drawing apps you can use on iPad Pro when drawing a bottle. Here are just a few:
- Notes: The Apple sketch app that comes with your iPad! Simple, easy to use for quick sketches, free and fast. Though for serious drawing you may want to seek apps with more robust options/tools. Price: FREE
- Adobe Illustrator Draw: This app is for creating vector graphics, with a very intuitive interface. It can also sync with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, meaning you can transfer your work between the iPad and desktop no problem. Price: FREE with Creative Cloud subscription, monthly plan prices vary.
- Inspire Pro: Fast and nicely responsive, with a huge variety of customizable tools, and over 80 brushes. Great for beginners and intermediates alike. Price:$13.99 CAD
- Procreate: Easily one of the most popular drawing apps, it works seamlessly with Apple Pencil, is highly responsive and offers an excellent variety of tools, all presented in a terrifically simple interface. Price: $13.99 CAD
How to Draw a Hendricks Gin Bottle
Given that the holiday season is upon us, replete with its dazzling variety of cocktails, I figured a cheerful classic drink would be the right choice for subject matter. So this Procreate tutorial starts in the obvious drawing lesson setting – a bar. Namely, Locus 144 in Liberty Village.
The space is a natural habitat for bottles and glass, and choosing wisely I went with a Hendrick’s Gin bottle accompanied by a classic gin and tonic. The combination provided a good variety since the bottle is black and opaque, while the glass and drink are clear. Not to mention providing me with a delicious, festive, and motivating libation. The varied lights and textures in the background of the space also created an interesting mix of reflection and shine in terms of colours and brightness.
Looking to get up close and personal with Hendrick’s on holiday? Visit Master Distiller Lesley Gracie at The Hendrick’s Gin Palace in Girvan, located a short drive south of Glasgow. The gin-lovers tourist attraction features an enchanting walled garden, imposing Victorian palm house, two botanical hot houses, still houses, flavour library and stylish bar.
Procreate Tutorial: The Benefits of iPad Pro
In this Procreate tutorial I’ll point out a few awesome advantages you can enjoy when drawing a bottle on iPad Pro.
- The process is very similar to drawing using traditional methods on paper. I was delighted by how intuitive it is, and how for the actual drawing part, I didn’t need to re-learn anything.
- Streamlined process. All of your supplies – camera, reference photos, paper, pens, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, paint and paint brushes, are all combined into one place – iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil.
- The ability to undo when your pen stroke wasn’t quite right. You can also edit certain elements after the fact. The thickness of that glass stem is a bit too high, I don’t quite like the colour I used here. All of that can be fixed!
- The ability to work in layers, drawing or colouring over or under certain elements without worrying about accidental erasing or colour contamination.
- You aren’t tethered to your desk, you can get comfy and work wherever you like. And that includes outside your own home too.
- Easy transferability/sharability of your art. Your finished product is already in a format that you can add to your illustration portfolio online, share on your social media, etc. No need to arrange a high quality scan or professional photograph.
- The ability to replicate elements, (for patterning, for example) rather than needing to hand-draw the same thing over and over.
If you’re a freelance illustrator looking to up your game, getting familiar with this medium will benefit you tremendously. And if you are an amateur who just loves to draw, looking to have fun creating bottle and glass drawings, iPad Pro and Apple Pencil can help you do things you might not have thought possible.
Procreate Tutorial: How to Draw a Bottle with iPad Pro
Let’s first get set up with a new canvas in Procreate. When you first open the app you’ll be in the “gallery” where all of your artworks will be visible. Tap the “+” in the top right of the screen and a menu will appear where you can select your canvas size. To choose your dimensions click “create custom canvas” and enter them (in mm, cm, inches, or pixels). You can simply select “screen size,” however I recommend going bigger so that you have the option to print your finished piece with a nice resolution. For my bottle drawing I’ve created a 22″ x 29″ canvas.
Now it’s important to explore and familiarize yourself with Procreate’s basic tools. Starting with the toolbar on the top right of your canvas.
- The Brush Tool: This is the tool with which you draw/paint. Tap it to open your Brush Library. Procreate’s brushes are categorized in a list down the left side of the drop down menu. Tap any of these to see your brush options in each category. Choose what you like and then tap the brush icon in the toolbar again to close the menu. Now get scribbling! Try a few different brushes and use different pressures and angles of the Apple Pencil – it’s remarkably realistic in its response to your hand.
- The Eraser Tool: It does exactly what you think it does! Tap it and you’ll open an identical Brush Library as tapping the brush tool. Try a few and see how it erases your scribbles.
- The Colour Tool: This is your colour palette. Tap and it will open in its default view of “Disc.” Use the outer wheel to select colour, and the inner circle to select lightness/darkness. When you’ve chosen the colour you want to use, tap the colour icon in the toolbar again to close the menu. Again, do some scribbling! Choose a variety of brush and colour combinations to get a feel for the colouring process.
- The Smudge Tool: This is used to blend colours and create gradients. This tool has the same effect as taking your finger to pencil on paper and rubbing it to blend. The smudge tool mimics the real thing fairly well but it does take some getting used to.
- The Layers Tool: You can use this menu to create multiple layers on your canvas, and select between them. How to do this, and the benefits of layers, will be best understood by following through my own example here in this Procreate tutorial.
Then there are the slider toolbars on the left side of your canvas.
- Brush Size: The top slider. Tap, hold and move up and down to adjust the size of your brush tip. A preview window will open up to help guide you. This slider is used for your brush, smudge and eraser tools in the same way.
- Brush Opacity: The bottom slider. This works the same way as the brush size slider, but is for brush opacity.
- Undo/Redo: Under the sliders you’ll see these two buttons. Tapping the undo button will undo the last stroke you drew/erased. Vice versa with the redo button. This is a very useful tool you’ll probably use a lot. You can also undo by tapping once anywhere on your canvas with two fingers.
There is also the toolbar in the top left of your canvas. For these tools I will point them out and explain them along the way as we need them.
Step 1: Choosing a Reference Photo
If you can take your reference photo yourself, great. You can use the iPad itself to capture a good portrait photo of your bottle. If you can’t, you’ll need to choose a good quality image that is clear and in-focus. The best drawings of a bottle I find are done from a good close up photo with a sharp focus on the reflections from the light. For my bottle drawing I’ve set up my beautifully prepared cocktail next to the Hendrick’s bottle with a backlit light source.
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How to Draw a Bottle Step 2: Quick sketch setup
The first thing to do before you get to drawing, is setting up your reference photo to work from. A great option with iPad Pro is that you can keep your photo open in a window beside your Procreate canvas while you work. To do so, tap and hold the bar at the bottom centre of the screen in Procreate, then slowly pull up the iPad menu (if you swipe too quickly you’ll close Procreate). Once the menu is up, tap and hold the photos icon, and drag it to the left side of the screen (or right side, for the lefties out there!) Pull it past the edge of the Procreate window and drop it there and tada, you have both open at the same time.
Start by looking at the shapes that are created by the different parts of the bottle, lid, and on the glass the cup, stem and base. Do a rough sketch of each. This part doesn’t need to be clean, it’s just a quick reference sketch for your good copy.
If you are struggling with your proportions, a helpful option is to do a rough trace of your reference photo:
Start a new artwork in Procreate, click the “action” icon (the little wrench in the top left toolbar) > add >insert a photo. Choose your reference photo and Procreate will drop it onto your canvas. You can adjust the size to what you want, and then tap the “select” icon (the little cursor in the top left toolbar).
Next, tap the “layers” icon in the top right toolbar (the two squares) to open the “layers” menu. Your photo layer will be highlighted. Tap the “N” and an opacity slider will open. Drag the slider down to around 50%. This will make drawing overtop of it easier to see. Next, create a new layer by tapping the “+”. This will be your quick sketch layer. Tap the two squares again to close the layers menu.
For this portion I like using the “technical pen” brush under “inking” in the brush menu, mostly because I like how the brush responds to different amounts of pressure. Basically, if I push harder the line gets thicker, and vice versa. So cool!
With more practice you’ll find the brushes you like best, it’s just a matter of preference.
Next do a quick, rough trace of the main features of your bottle drawing. You don’t need to take your time here, this is just a convenient way to get your proportions more or less correct.
How to Draw a Bottle Step 3: Outlines
Once you have your rough sketch, create a new layer in the layers menu again. This will be the “good copy” layer that you draw overtop of your reference sketch. Before you start, select your rough sketch layer again, and in the same way you reduced the opacity of the photo layer, bring the opacity of the rough layer down to about 30%. At this point, if you’ve used a photo for the trace option, you can also delete your photo layer. Do so by swiping that layer to the left in the layers menu. A delete button will appear.
And now the fun part – drawing!
This is where you can take your time and really get lost in the drawing process. Importantly, make sure you have selected your “good copy” layer in the layers menu. Then, using your rough copy proportions guide and your reference photo, draw your outlines. I like to do all of my outlines in black, but that’s up to you. For this layer don’t worry about any shading or colour, those will be done on another layer.
Remember if ever you want to undo a certain stroke, just tap the screen once with two fingers. You can go back as many strokes as you like this way, Procreate remembers everything!
TIP – If you want your lines to be perfectly straight, just draw your line and then hold the apple pencil down when you are finished. After a moment your line will snap to a straight line that you can move into place. You can do the same thing for circles or curves for a smooth line.
Step 4: Drawing your outlines
- Keep in mind your line thickness. Your drawing will look better if you use a variety of thicknesses. Take a look at my outline layer to get a sense of that. Smaller details get a lighter touch, and my outer lines are heavier. You can achieve this by how hard you press, however you can also quickly and easily adjust your brush size using the slider on the menu on the left side of the screen.
- You can zoom in and out by “pinching” the screen with two fingers. Don’t forget you can zoom in for areas with small details (like the ridges along the bottle lid, or the texture in the glass). You can also rotate the canvas using the two-finger pinch (rather than turning the iPad itself around, an inevitable habit when you’re used to turning your piece of paper around – there is an easier way!)
- Making corrections – After I’d finished drawing the bottle, I realized that it was a bit too short and squat. An amazing feature of Procreate is that rather than erasing and drawing them again (a lot of work!) I can instead isolate the bottom portion of the drawing and stretch it. To do this, click the third icon in the menu on the top left of your screen. It looks like an “S”. This will open a menu at the bottom of the screen. Make sure “freehand” is selected there, and then take your Apple pencil and trace in one stroke around the area you want to stretch. You’ll need to create a fully closed loop. Once you’ve done that tap the cursor icon (the fourth icon in the menu at the top left of your screen). This will create a bounding box around the area you want to manipulate. From there you can stretch the area how you like using the pull points. Once you have it where you want it tap the cursor icon again.
How to Draw a Bottle Step 5: Shading and Colouring
Now you’ve got a lovely outline drawing of your bottle and glass. Time to colour it in!
Again, this is where layers come in very handy. Go to your layers menu and first, delete your rough copy layer. Next create another new layer by tapping the “+”. I am starting with the bottle. You’ll notice my “outline” for this object was creating a solid black shape, since the bottle itself is black. If you look at the image, try to see it as a black base, with different shapes on top creating the shine. I will draw the shine on the new layer we’ve just created. In doing so, I can manipulate the tone and colours of the shine easily using the alpha lock tool.
Go ahead and draw all of the shine just using a solid colour (I’ve done that here in grey). Notice how there is a gradient of colour across just the shine on the bottle? Procreate makes it very easy to create that effect using the alpha lock. When a layer is on alpha lock, any changes you make to that layer will only show up over where you’ve already drawn. Meaning if you have your “base layer” drawn (our solid grey shine shapes) if you alpha lock it you can freely draw colours on top without ever going outside your lines. To alpha lock a layer, open it in the layers menu, and swipe the layer right with two fingers. You’ll see a checked pattern appear on the layer thumbnail. To un-alpha lock the layer just swipe right with two fingers again.
With your shine layer on alpha lock, add your colour. I used the round brush tool under “painting” in the brush menu. For this you don’t have to be very precise because once your colour is there you can smooth it out using the smudge tool. This is the icon between the brush and eraser icons at the top right of the screen. Remember you can adjust the size of the smudge brush using that same slider on the left side of the screen.
Using this tool, blend your colours out until you have the smooth gradient you want that mimics the look of the reflections on the glass.
On my drawing I then created another layer to add the high intensity shine points (the white portions, mostly small dots) where I saw them on the reference photo. And voila! All of a sudden you’ll find you’ve got a very realistic effect.
Drawing the glass was slightly more challenging, and if you take a good look at it in the reference photo you will see why! At a glance it’s quite complex, however if you look longer you start to be able to break up what you are seeing into separate parts. And if you can translate the different parts to different layers in Procreate, you’re golden.
The first part is the colour gradient of the liquid. To create that, it’s the same process as the gradient on our bottle shine, except that first we have to create a base layer of colour (like the grey shine layer) to create the gradient upon.
To do so, create another new layer. This time though, tap and hold your newly created layer and drag it down so that it is underneath your outline layer. By placing it here, it means you can colour in without accidentally colouring over your outlines – amazing!
I chose to start with a beige colour, as that seemed to be a large portion of what colour is visible. Once that was done I created an alpha lock on the layer and added the blue and white colour gradients. Pay attention to the subtle changes in light and adjust your colour on the colour wheel accordingly.
After that I could see there is a pattern to the reflections that show the indentations on the glass. Again there is a gradient of colour across these reflections unto themselves, so I coloured a solid layer for them, alpha locked the layer, and then blended the colour tone across them.
Procreate allows for a large number of layers, so for a drawing like this I would utilize as many different layers as you need, don’t hold back! I made two new layers for the cucumbers in the glass alone! The more separated your components are the easier it is to edit and refine everything. It’s one of the amazing advantages of drawing a bottle digitally.
TIP – To return to a colour you’ve already used, tap with one finger on the area with the colour you want to reselect, and hold. A magnifying circle will pop up and you can move that to the exact colour spot you want. Lift your finger and it will select that colour for your brush.
Procreate Tutorial: Finishing Details
The final component of this drawing are the labels. For this I created a layer with the yellow coloured diamond shape, giving it a slight gradient using the same method from above. Then on a separate layer I roughly blocked out the “Hendrick’s” letters and the rest of the text, and then on yet another layer, went over with a “good copy” and then deleted the blocking layer.
The graphic above the lettering actually repeats on both the bottle and glass labels. For this I drew it on the bottle first, and then just copied the layer and shrunk it down for the smaller glass label – saved a lot of time. To duplicate the layer, open the layer menu and then swipe left with one finger on the layer you want to duplicate. A button will appear that says “duplicate”. Then you can use the cursor icon again on the top left menu of your screen to both shrink that layer, and move to the right spot (on the glass label).
Congrats! You’ve Completed Our Procreate Tutorial!
You’ve now mastered how to draw a bottle!
If you’re someone who draws or paints a lot, you know it’s possible to keep going and going and tweaking and tweaking into eternity. And truthfully Procreate makes falling into this even easier. The up side, however, is that you can leave the piece alone for a time, and then very easily pick up where you left off, without having to get all of your paints out.
All that said, you will know when it’s done, and for a satisfying finish to your digital drawing experience, you can utilize one of my favourite Procreate features – timelapse video. By default, Procreate records your entire drawing process (you can opt to turn this off, but really why?) You can play it all back in high speed when your drawing is complete. It’s a fun thing to watch and a fantastic thing to share with curious fans of your art. If you’re a freelance illustrator, you may come to realize that offering a timelapse video of your clients’ work acts as a competitive advantage. And better yet, offering a video that showcases the creation of your bottle drawing requires no additional time or money.
By using this Procreate tutorial as your step-by-step drawing guide for how to draw a bottle, I’m sure you will be very satisfied with your result. Once you’ve gone through the motions from start to finish you can experiment and settle into your own process. This medium has so many possibilities that you can really let your creativity run wild. So dive in, go digital and have fun!