How to Color Match on Procreate


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One of the biggest advantages of using digital drawing software like Procreate is that you have access to every color imaginable. That said, this advantage comes with a problem. With so many colors available to you, how can you make sure to pick the specific colors you need based on reference photos, your other pieces of art, and even the current piece of art you’re working on?

To color match on Procreate, make sure you have a gesture assigned to the eyedropper tool within the Gestures Control panel. Import a photo or otherwise locate the color you want to color match within Procreate. Use your eyedropper gesture and hover it over your desired color. 

Once you get the hang of it, color matching will be really quick and easy. And you’ll use it ALL the time! It’s an incredibly useful feature that makes your life as an artist so much more fun.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know to color match on Procreate so that the fun can begin!

Assign a Gesture to the Eyedropper Tool

To color match or select a color in Procreate, you’ll need to use the eyedropper tool. The easiest way to access the eyedropper tool is to assign a gesture to it within the Gesture Controls settings. Choose any gesture you prefer, as long as it doesn’t conflict with your other assigned gestures.

Here’s how to access your Gesture Controls panel and select a gesture for the Eyedropper tool:

1. Click on the wrench to open the Actions tab

procreate actions menu

2. Click on the Prefs button 

3. Click on the Gesture Controls button

HTML
Procreate gesture controls

4. Click on the Eyedropper button within the menu on the left-hand side

procreate eyedropper tool gesture control

5. Toggle on the gesture you’d like to use for the Eyedropper tool

Technically, you can choose more than one gesture, but it wouldn’t be super useful to do so. There are a lot of tools that you can assign gestures to, but only a handful of gestures. 

If you use more than one gesture for any given tool, you’re limiting the number of gestures you can use for your other tools.

My preferred gesture for the Eyedropper tool is the “Touch and hold” gesture. When this is toggled on, this means that you can hold your finger down on your screen to activate the Eyedropper tool.

procreate touch and hold gesture control

You can choose a different gesture, but this is the one that I have personally found to be the easiest to use.

If you see a hazard sign appear anywhere on your screen when you toggle on a gesture, this means that it’s already assigned to a different tool. The previous tool it was assigned to will be disabled.

Alright, so once you have the Eyedropper tool enabled, it’s time to start selecting colors and color matching.

How to Select a Color From Your Art

Use the Eyedropper tool in Procreate to select any color from your current piece of art, or past pieces of art from your gallery. Activate the Eyedropper tool and drag it across your canvas until you find your desired color. Let go to select the color. Save it in an empty slot in your palette.

Sometimes, you need to refind a color that you’re using in your current piece of art. 

To do that, activate the Eyedropper and drag it across your canvas until you are on the color you need.

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You can also select colors from other pieces of art in your Gallery. 

Simply open the piece of art you want to grab a color from and activate your Eyedropper tool. Drop the tool on your desired color to select it. 

Once you select a color with the Eyedropper tool, it will become your primary color option and you can use it right away. Even if you navigate back to the Gallery and to another piece of art, this color will remain as your primary color.

You can go ahead and use the color, or you can save it. That way, you won’t have to re-select it over and over again.

To save a color, find an empty slot in your preferred color palette, or create a new palette. 

To create a new palette, open your color options, click on Palettes, and then click on the plus sign in the upper right hand corner. 

Adding colors to color palettes in Procreate

Once you’ve created a new palette, or have an existing palette selected, click on an open slot within it. You’ll see that your new color will be plopped into that empty slot.

Ok, so that’s how you can color match with your own art, but what if you want to select colors from your own photos? Let’s talk about that.

How to Select a Color From a Photo on Procreate

To select a color from a photo on Procreate, import it onto your canvas or open it within Procreate’s reference feature. Use the eyedropper tool to select each color from your photo and add it to your color palette. Procreate can also create color palettes from photos automatically.

There are a few ways to select colors from photos on Procreate. The way you choose will depend on how many colors you want to choose and how particular you want to be.

Firstly, let’s talk about the most labor intensive option that will give you the most accurate results. 

Select Your Colors From an Imported Photo on Procreate

Using this method, you’ll need to select your colors one-by-one. That said, it’s the most accurate and selective way of choosing colors, so it can be a great method to choose if you only have a handful of colors you need to color match.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Click on the wrench to open the Actions tab

2. Click on the Add button

3. Click on the Insert a photo button

4. Choose the photo you want to select colors from

Procreate insert a photo

5. Enlarge your photo with the Transform tool, if needed

It can be helpful to enlarge your photo so that you can see smaller areas of color. You can also zoom in on your photo, if that’s easier.

6. Use the Eyedropper tool and drag it across your photo until you land on the color you need. Let go.

Use whichever gesture you assigned to the Eyedropper tool to activate it. Drag your Eyedropper tool through your canvas until you find the color you’re looking for. Once you do, let go of the Eyedropper tool to select the color.

Procreate select a color with the eyedropper tool

7. Save the color within your color palette

8. Repeat steps 1-7 for all of the colors you need.

There’s another way to select colors that is VERY similar to this but, this time, we’re going to use Procreate’s reference feature. 

How to Select a Color From a Photo with Procreate’s Reference Feature

Similar to the method we just talked about, you’ll be selecting your colors one-by-one. This time though, we’ll be using Procreate’s Reference feature. 

If you haven’t checked it out already, the Reference feature is amazing! It’s great for analyzing a reference image, getting another perspective of your work, and color matching.

Here’s how to select colors using Procreate’s Reference feature:

1. Click on the wrench to open the Actions tab

2. Click on the Canvas button

3. Toggle on the Reference feature

Procreate reference feature

4. Import the photo you’d like to use

To do this, click on the Image button within the Reference box that appears. Click on the Import button and choose your desired image.

procreate reference image

5. Use the Eyedropper tool and drag it across the photo in your Reference box until you land on the color you need. Let go.

The Eyedropper tool works the same way within the Reference box as it does on your canvas. Hooray! Just activate the tool as you normally would and choose any colors that you need from your reference photo.

Procreate eyedropper tool with the reference feature

6. Save the color within your color palette

7. Repeat steps 1-7 for all of the colors you need.

There is one last way to select colors from a photo. 

Create a Color Palette From a Photo Automatically in Procreate

If you have a lot of colors to scrape from a photo, and you don’t mind ending up with some colors you don’t need, this is a great option for you.

Important note: this method isn’t perfect. It will definitely pull most of the colors from an image, especially the most prominent colors. It will miss some of your smaller and more subtle colors though.

So, you still may have to grab some colors manually using one of the methods above.

Also, it usually pulls way more colors than you need. You may need to delete some colors from your palette.

This method will get you most of the way there though, so it’s great when you have a lot of colors to pull from a photo.

Here’s how to create a color palette automatically from a photo in Procreate:

1. Open your color setting and click on Palettes

2. Click on the Plus symbol in the right hand corner

Procreate add a palette

3. Choose the New from photos button

Procreate create a palette from a photo

4. Choose the photo you’d like to create a palette from

5. Delete any colors you don’t need

You can delete color swatches from a palette by holding down on a color until the Delete swatch button appears

Procreate delete color swatch

6. Manually add any colors that are missing

Use one of the methods we’ve already talked about to manually add any colors that that this automatic process didn’t pick up.

Procreate gives you a lot of options for color matching and picking colors in general with the Eyedropper tool. With these tips, feel empowered to use every shade of color in the rainbow for your next piece of art!

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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