How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Dive into the art of capturing the fluid motion and serene beauty of ocean waves with the aid of Procreate brushes, transforming your digital artwork into a mesmerizing scene.

This tutorial is designed to guide you, whether a beginner or an experienced artist, through the process of drawing dynamic, realistic waves in Procreate.

From foundational sketches to the final touches of foam and spray, follow these steps to create waves that seem almost ready to leap off your iPad.

Setting Up Your Canvas

Begin by opening Procreate and selecting “Create New Canvas.” For drawing waves, a landscape-oriented canvas works best, so choose a size that fits your project’s scope, such as 3000×2000 pixels. 

This will give you ample space to work with the waves and any additional elements you wish to include in your artwork.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Sketching the Wave Outline

Start by selecting a sketching brush to outline your wave. On a new layer, draw a gentle, curved line that swoops upwards and then curls over itself, mimicking the crest of a breaking wave. 

This line will serve as the backbone of your wave, guiding its overall shape and motion. Add another curved line beneath the first to represent the trough of the wave, creating a sense of depth and dimension.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Defining the Wave’s Form

With the basic outline in place, refine the shape of your wave by adding volume to the crest. Use smooth, flowing strokes to build up the body of the wave, paying close attention to the way water gathers momentum before it breaks. 

This is also a good time to sketch in any additional waves or water details in the background, ensuring they complement the main wave’s direction and energy.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Adding Color and Texture

Create a new layer beneath your sketch layer for color. Choose a base color for your wave; shades of blue and green work well to capture the ocean’s hues. 

With a soft brush, such as the Airbrushing set’s Soft Brush, fill in your wave, allowing for variations in light and dark to suggest depth. On top of your base color, use a slightly darker shade to add shadows beneath the crest and along the wave’s body, enhancing its three-dimensional form.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Detailing the Crest and Foam

To create the foam and spray that form as a wave breaks, add a new layer above your color layers. Select a white or light grey color and a textured brush, like the Bonobo Brush from the Painting set, to stipple and drag along the crest and areas where the wave would naturally churn. 

These details should be concentrated at the wave’s peak and where it crashes back into the water, adding realism and dynamism to your wave.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Final Touches

To finish your wave, add highlights and refine the details that bring the scene to life. Using a lighter color, gently brush over areas where the sunlight hits the wave, such as the tip of the crest and along its body. 

This will give your wave a glossy, sun-kissed appearance. If you wish, you can also add a sky or other background elements on a new layer behind your wave, completing the scene.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

Review and Adjust

Take a step back to review your wave. Adjust the colors, contrast, and details as needed to achieve the desired effect. Procreate’s smudge tool can be used to soften any harsh lines or blend colors further, giving your wave a more natural look.

Drawing waves in Procreate is a satisfying way to explore the interplay of motion, light, and texture.

How To Draw Waves in Procreate

With practice, you’ll find yourself able to create a wide variety of wave scenes, from peaceful seascapes to stormy oceans, all from the tip of your stylus.

Author Image
Sofija, born and raised in Belgrade, is an award-winning illustrator known for her bold and colorful expressionist style. For the past four to five years, she has been mastering her craft using Procreate, blending traditional techniques with digital innovation. Her work, characterized by vibrant hues and dynamic compositions, often reflects her love for plants and textures.

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