How Procreate Was Made: The Inception
The history of Procreate, a very successful iOS app, deserves to be told.
Procreate is an award-winning drawing app with more than 3 million users.
Professional artists use it at Pixar, Disney, and Marvel.
Procreate has defined digital art on the iPad.
It has been widely adopted in diverse creative industries: from tattoo art to architecture.
Moreover, it brought creative expression to a broad new audience of bedroom hobbyists.
But what is the story behind Procreate’s success?
It all started more than a decade ago.
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The Beginnings of Procreate
In January 2010, Steve Jobs revealed the first iPad in Silicon Valley.
Watching on the other side of the world in a sleepy beach town in Tasmania, Australia, was James Cuda.
Cuda’s eyes lit up with excitement.
He will be part of the team that will create Procreate later.
Let’s go back for a while.
Months earlier, his serendipitous meeting with the self-taught developer Lloyd Bottomley (known as the Ginger Wizard) created the basis of the team that would go on to make Procreate.
“Finding Lloyd was like a weight off my shoulders,” Cuda proclaimed.
The pair decided to stop working on freelance projects and go all in on Procreate.
After 100 iterations and three entire rebuilds of the code base – they were ready to launch.
And they wanted it to have a memorable name.
The app’s name, “Procreate,” means to produce or create new life.
When was Procreate released?
In March 2011, Savage media released the first version of Procreate.
How Was Procreate Received?
Creatives and artists welcomed Procreate immediately with interest.
For two years, the team worked on the project adding new features and improving the experience.
It took until 2013 for Procreate to gain a broad audience.
And it came in an unlikely manner.
A twenty-six-year-old artist, Kyle Lambert, posted his finger painting of Morgan Freeman.
The video time-lapse of the entire process in Procreate showed Lambert creating a photo-realistic painting with over 200,000 brush strokes that took over 200 hours.
In just two days, the video gained 5 million views.
This propelled both Lambert and Procreate to new levels of success.
Days later, Lambert gave a talk at Apple.
Lambert quickly moved on to his first commissioned commercial project, producing artwork for Stranger Things.
Quoting him, ‘The tools in the app allowed me to realize a new, more illustrated style that I continue to use today.
It’s crazy to think that what started as finger paintings on the first iPad are now giant billboards down Hollywood Boulevard.’
Lambert has gone on to make artwork for countless blockbusters, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Marvel’s Agents of Shields.
Meanwhile, Procreate was riding this wave of interest.
Now, to continue unfolding the history of Procreate.
Procreate Receives Accolades
Later in 2013, the team received a prestigious Apple Design Award.
iPhone saw the advent of Procreate Pocket in December 2014.
Apple’s first iPad Pro and Apple Pencil were released in November 2015. Much like the first iPad, this changed everything!
With more control over pressure, the added nuance of tilt, and a genuine pencil feel, Procreate’s integration with Apple Pencil created a vast possibility.
Hence, this quadrupled the apps’ popularity.
In 2016, Procreate became one of the ten top-selling apps on the entire app store.
Furthermore, in 2017, it climbed to 2nd before becoming the most popular iPad app in 2018.
Procreate now has various industry-leading features, including 3d painting, animation, and complete brush control.
It is one of the most excellent apps for creating art.
It’s been used by professional artists on posters for Logan Blade Runner 2049 and several covers for The New Yorker.
It has transformed creative industries, from illustration to tattoo artistry, from animators to architects, and brought art to millions.
The Future of Procreate
I can’t wait to see where Procreate goes from here!
After ten years and a growing team of over 40, James Cuda has no plans to slow down.
Thanks for watching.
Here on my channel Delightful Design, I make videos on Procreate, digital art, and creativity.
And if you use Procreate, I have a set of free tools available in the description.
Have a delightful day!
If you liked this article on the history of Procreate, the following Procreate articles will surely catch your fancy too.
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