Something I see asked a lot in the Procreate community is ‘how do I print my lettering from Procreate?’. Maybe you want to print out a hand-made card on your home printer. Or maybe you have a poster or logo design you want to print professionally.
The short answer is, sorry but you can’t print directly from Procreate. Well not as far as choosing a ‘Print’ option from the drop-down menu. But never fear, this doesn’t mean your artwork is confined to the screen forever! I’ll show you how you can create your artwork + export in the right format to give best format for printing. We’ll also look at one key step after Procreate using Affinity Designer on the iPad (or Photoshop on desktop).
You may not be surprised to hear it all starts with your setup. Yes, just like a lot of things, good preparation is key. Once you know these 3 key properties we’re about to cover, you’ll be confident in how to make hi-quality artwork that’s ready for print!
The video below will cover an explanation of what each of the important factors are, and then we’ll look at how to set up your canvas in Procreate step-by-step as well as exporting and preparing for print.
on the iPad
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The 3 Essential Steps
1. Color Format
Apart from the missing ‘print’ button, Procreate (as well as all other digital applications) work with RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color profile. This is suitable for digital work, but real-world printing uses a different color setting called CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (well, the K stands for ‘Key’ but color wise, it’s black). And bonus points if you already guessed – these reference individual ink cartridge colors!
It’s important to note, your colors may look less vibrant once you change to CMYK. This is because CMYK has only a subset of the RBG gamut, so some RGB colours will be converted to their closest CMYK match.
Please note: I am highlighting best practices to aim for when printing your work, but if you are just wanting to print something for yourself on your home computer, these colour profile choices may not impact you as much. The RGB profile can still produce a pretty decent looking result for printing something DIY. If however you are printing regularly or for clients, it is important you are using the correct CMYK color format.
2. Physical dimensions
Knowing what physical dimensions you (or your client) need for the final product is essential information when setting up your canvas. You don’t want to create a 5”x5” artwork if you’re printing 10”x15”.
It’s not only about the canvas size being large enough, but also about the proportions. It can be difficult making something that was designed to be a rectangle shape fit snugly inside a square canvas!
If you are printing with a professional printer, I would suggest going a little above the final dimensions to allow for bleed. Bleed this means the printer can trim the edges of the print and the ink of the print will how right to the very edge. Imagine, if you are cutting around a coloured image and there is a white border around the sides, you will most likely see this white in places the cut wasn’t accurate. So bleed is to avoid this! If you are printing professionally, the printer may have a template you can use, or give you information about how much bleed they require. Again, bleed is only really necessary for professional printing jobs. The Essentials for Calligraphy Procreate pack contains many print-ready templates in a range of popular sizes.
Along with physical canvas size, another important factor is resolution. You can manually set the resolution for your canvas when you create in the ‘Create Custom Size’ option of the menu from the gallery screen.
Make sure you set 300dpi (or 600dpi for really hi-res) to ensure your artwork contains enough detail. Again, this should be done when you first create the canvas. You will lose quality and start to see pixelation in the image if you increase the resolution after creating the artwork.
- Pixel Calculator – converts pixel values into millimetres
- Detailed info about professional printing set up (including bleed)
- How to print from your iPad using AirPrint
27 replies on “3 essential steps to prepare your Procreate artwork for print“
Thank you for all you do, providing us with useful information! Your efforts are appreciated! ❤️
Aw, that means a lot, thank you Barbara!
Procreate doesn’t work with large canvas sizes. I need to work on a portrait size 4 ft x 3 ft . Its too large for procreate. I try to create whatever the max size that my iPad and procreate combination supports and then export it to illustrator and do image tracing. Result is not that great but atleast it looks sharp when we want to print on large sizes. Any other workarounds?
Can you change the size of your artwork once done to offer different sizes to sell?
Thanks for your question! It’s funny, but I just filmed a video to answer this exact question. It’s coming out next week. You’ll get an email about it if you’re on the newsletter list. The short answer though is to first export your artwork from the original file. Then create a new document at the size you want and import the exported version. As long as you are going *down* in dimensions and your ratio is the same, you won’t have any extra editing to do and can export the file from there. Hope that helps, but look out for next weeks video!
Thank you so much, Nicole!! Very helpful, as always. and… Happy Happy Bday! 🙂
Bz, it’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks so much 🙂
I looked at the link to print from iPad using Airprint and my printer is in the list of supported printers, but I still can’t make it work. Any tips? 🙂
Hi Bz. Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your printer. Try searching on google to see the advice. From a quick look, one tip says to make sure you’re on the same Wifi connection. Maybe try printing from a different app ie. Safari, mail or photos. See more help here – https://www.apple.com/lt/support/iphone/assistant/airprint/#section_2
Thank you for this video! I’m testing out printing with these new settings now. Fingers crossed 🙂
That’s great Melanie! Please let me know how you get on.
Great information….what is the app that you transferred to for printing from your iPad?
Hi Dawn, thanks for reading. If you want to send to print directly from your iPad, you’ll need an ‘Airprint’ compatible printer. You can read more about how to set that up here – https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201387
Thank you sooo much! So easy to follow and to understand.
So pleased to hear that Helen, thank you.
Hi! How can I change my color profile?
Hi Cesa, the answer to that is in the video. It’s probably easier to watch as it will take you through the steps 🙂
How can you fix the RGB/CMYK problem if you’re not printing yourself, but taking it somewhere to print?
Hey Tanya, thanks for your comment. Just to check you are aware, it is now possible to create CMYK documents in Procreate. So as long as you are creating something from scratch, you can choose that color profile in the set up.
But regarding changing color profiles for printing somewhere else, it may be possible to ask the printer to do it for you. They will no doubt have access to Adobe software or something similar, and it is simple enough to do.
Hope that helps! Thanks, Nicole
Super useful, thanks!
do you have to rasterize procreate5 text before saving the file to go to tshirt printing? I uploaded a font into procreate5 text library and used it in my art. It is asking me if I want to rasterize. If I do not rasterize the font before saving for print, will it not print or come out crazy during print? How will the text info be carried in the file in the Procreate5 program? I would hate for Tshirt Printer partner to get the file and not have the file ready to print with correct text info in file.
Thank you Nicole for your help. I can air print but I have been working on 5×7 canvas in procreate , when I print it always prints a full page. There are no print options other than color. Do you know if there is something I can change in procreate besides the canvas size?
My question is regarding which procreate CMYK option prints best?
The top option ‘Generic CMYK’ is totally fine
What are the others about?
Will this work with cookie printers like the inkedibles quatro?
Hi Partrica, Yes prepping the file for print will work with any printer as it doesn’t have anything directly to do with the printer itself. The steps in this tutorial are in Procreate, and show how set up the canvas with settings that will be suitable for printing. You then export the finished artwork. The next steps in terms of how to send it to the printer will depend, but most printers should allow you to either download an app that talks to the printer or send via ‘Airprint’. You can also send the file to your desktop computer if you have one and print from there. The main thing was created with high enough quality for your intended print size. Hope that helps!