When it comes to digital art, Procreate and Adobe’s Illustrator are a big deal. That’s because the kind of art you want to design relies mostly on the elements you use to create it.
Whether you’re a digital artist or you’re planning to become one, you’ve probably heard about these two tools. Maybe you’ve tried either of them and are wondering which one is best for your designs?
There are several factors that can help you decide, but it can still be a daunting task because each has its unique features that make them preferable by different artists.
That’s why we put together this comparison review to find out which tool wins in the Procreate vs Illustrator battle.
We’ll look at their features, pricing, support systems, similarities and differences, and pros and cons, to help you see how they compare, and what makes them unique. We’ll also share our top pick between the two tools and why you should pick it for your creative goals.
Let’s get started.
There’s a reason aspiring artists and creative professionals like Procreate: it’s the leading creative app for drawing expressive sketches, gorgeous illustrations, rich paintings, and beautiful animations.
You can carry the complete art studio with you on the go, and use its intuitive creative tools and unique features to express your inner creative.
As one of the leading design apps and tools for iPad or iOS, Procreate adds a hint of digital touch so you can design the natural sense of physical drawings. Plus, it’s packed with a slew of creative artistic tools, textures, handmade brushes, and an easy-to-use interface.
Adobe Illustrator is an established vector drawing app that’s been available since 1987, when it was released. The app is a key part of the trifecta industry-standard of Adobe’s illustration and graphic design tools, together with InDesign and Photoshop.
You get new features constantly, as Adobe adds to the software along with enhancements that will delight any artist or creative. Adobe built the software to create vector images on your device with not much hand drawing needed.
The professional graphics application brings your creativity to life using typography, shapes, effects, and colors. So it’s no surprise millions of skilled professionals and novice artists rely on it to create anything and everything, including logos, custom shapes, illustrations, art, icons, and billboards, among others.
Unlike Procreate, you can use Adobe Illustrator on mobile and desktop devices to build and design objects using vector shapes and curves. It’s fairly customizable so you can arrange tools, panels, and menus to fit your flow or style.
As a complete art studio, Procreate offers the following powerful features for its users.
You can use Procreate’s library of brushes with everything from inks, artistic brushes, pencils, and charcoals that lay beautiful textures in your paint work. You can customize each brush from the Brush Studio or download thousands of other brushes for any style you want.
You can also make your own custom brushes, or use hundreds of handmade ones along with innovative artistic tools, graphics engine, and advanced layer system to create expressive artwork, paintings, and animations.
Procreate Pocket, is an advanced painting app used on iPhones. It uses the power of digital art to give you the feeling of a real-world drawing.
If you love color, you can draw and paint with any color you want. Procreate also provides unprecedented color choice and control through its Color Dynamics, Color History, and Color Harmony. Any time you draw, you can touch and hold the canvas to choose the right shade for your artwork.
Procreate is built for touch. You can use multi-touch gestures like the two-finger undo, three-finger redo and four-finger hide user interface. These gestures are incredibly intuitive and help you create outstanding pieces while keeping the interface at a minimum.
There’s a suite of accessibility features in Procreate like feedback sounds, single touch gestures, and color descriptions for creatives who are physically challenged to use.
This is a simple yet powerful animation software that brings your creations to life within the app.
This feature records each move you make from the first stroke you draw, so you can create the perfect splash.
With this artistic super power in Procreate, you can draw the perfect shape each time. Just draw, hold, and allow the tool to complete the rest of the drawing for you.
To fill an area, you can pick colors and drag them onto the canvas. With a single gesture, you can control the threshold, and create colorful drawings.
Procreate’s full font control lets you add gorgeous typography to your designs. It offers powerful type adjustments, which you can distort, scale, color for the perfect design, and import your own fonts to Procreate.
With this tool, you can paint in real-time onto your face and add animations. Once you’re done, you can share with others via social media or other apps.
With Procreate, you can add beautiful finishes to your art using stunning digital effects. These effects are redesigned for Apple Pencil and multi-touch so you can polish your drawings powerfully and have fun while you’re at it.
Procreate offers paint and pencil filters that take your art to the next level. You can filter on your canvas and adjust them for more control over your artwork. Finishing filters are included that add the perfect finish to your designs with easy-to-use adjustment effects.
You can finish your artwork with granular effects and color balance using these tools and get the grade you want each time with little struggle.
Add depth with these fast blur effects and control the blur levels with the slide of a finger so you don’t have to dive into menus.
This feature helps you set up your symmetry, perspective, isometric grids, or 2D guides and draw perfect symmetrical or perspective drawings. It’s fast, accurate, and simple to streamline your workflow and snap strokes to the set guides.
This menu comes in six customizable buttons that appear when you press and hold your finger on your device’s screen. Once you assign a menu, you can flick in the button’s direction to quickly execute the desired action.
Procreate’s Valkyrie graphics engine offers immense power so you can work at your preferred pace. The brushes move as fast as you draw, sketch, or paint, and you can leverage Apple’s Metal architecture to get the best performance out of your device.
You can enjoy high speeds of 120fps and use Apple’s ProMotion technology to create brilliant designs at fast speeds.
This feature is added to a brush. Procreate will stabilize and streamline your brush strokes to create silky smooth lines and curves.
This feature takes the best of lasso and polygonal selection tools and transforms them into an easy-to-use and flexible selection tool.
This tool makes it easy to animate in Procreate with handy color-coded skins that show the frames that are behind or ahead.
Procreate’s intuitive interface makes it easy to pick complementary colors while enjoying a seamless and fun color exploration process. A Color Panel tool lets you detach and minimize into the Color Companion so you can choose where to place your colors.
Hold Frame is a smart way to avoid repeating identical frames and pause actions during an animation.
You can use this feature to keep reference layers on your work and create presentation grade, pro time-lapse exports.
You can conveniently import PDFs into Procreate, annotate, flip through, and export using Apple Pencil for the most natural markup.
Transform your 3D model surfaces into great art pieces using your Apple Pencil. You can also add effects, adjustments, gloss, and reflectivity to make your art shine.
This filter adds a stroke of genius to your designs. It’s inspired by audio processing and helps smoothen the result of shakes and tremors so your brushes can work as they should.
You can hear navigation and menus described using this tool that narrates each move you make.
Adobe Illustrator offers tools for use on desktop or mobile devices, not just iPads. Here are some of the main ones.
You can now enhance your productivity by selecting all the text boxes in a document and changing the characteristics of the text one at a time. You can also select text based on text fill color, font size, font, and font style.
You can apply 3D effects to enhance your drawing experience.The feature is in Technology Preview so some of its capabilities may evolve, including performance.
You can also use Substance materials to add texture to your artwork and create realistic 3D graphics. Alternatively, add your custom ones or choose from the Adobe materials and free community.
Adobe lets you learn about its new features easily and get quick help from the Discover panel. The panel also recommends things to you based on your skills and work like tips and tutorials on how to do multi-step workﬂows faster.
You can load your documents on any desktop device and work seamlessly without fixing the missing fonts manually. It replaces the fonts with matching ones from Adobe Fonts.
You can embed or place linked PSD cloud documents in Illustrator files. Relink or update your PSD cloud files and embed them to your artboard when editing.
Illustrator allows you to open or place HEIF or WebP format files in Illustrator, while Windows requires codecs files to access these formats.
You can expand or adjust the variable-width strokes with fewer anchor points as the software applies simplified paths on the strokes.
Illustrator for iPad lets you blend objects when designing illustrations or logos. You can modify the objects with blend options, on-canvas controls, or touch shortcuts for a more defined object. Plus, you can add blends to paths and add a creative touch to your banners – whether artistic or calligraphic.
You can convert raster images to vector art with this Vectorize feature at the tap of your finger. Its functionalities may develop over time, including streamlined and performance workflows across desktop and iPad. Draw, capture an image, or sketch and place it on the canvas, then vectorize it.
You can share a link to your designs with others and they can view or share feedback for faster, more seamless collaboration in the shared document from within the app.
Powered by Adobe Sensei, this feature lets you analyze and adjust complex shapes while modifying curves and lines that look alike without adjusting their anchor points.
Want to create cool calligraphies? Stylize and draw paths with the paintbrush tool and apply brush styles to objects while personalizing your drawings and calligraphic brushes.
Use this feature to place and measure objects on your artboard accurately. The Guide allows you to enable horizontal and vertical guides or customize them to work conveniently on your designs.
Procreate offers integration with iPadOS along with extensive accessibility settings to give artists a great user experience.
Support is available through FAQs, a handbook for Procreate and Procreate Pocket, or you can chat with developers of the app by asking a question on the platform.
Illustrator offers integration with a wide range of apps including Canto, Paymo, Brandfolder, Hightail, Easy Projects, MediaValet, Cosential, MAPublisher, Bluescape, Ceros, Pics.io, GoProof, Areeya, MerlinOne, Marvia, Cinema 4D, Dash, Digital Asset Management Server, Imagen, Sesimi, Vector Magic, BrandMaker, Wedia, MediaBeacon, Webdam, WinWeb, Cortex, Tessa DAM, Icons8, Gravit Designer Pro, PageProof, and Iconik, among others.
Support is provided through the Help Center, while enterprises get dedicated help. Adobe also has a support community, learning resources like tutorials, and an Adobe Experience League to develop your skills through personalized learning.
Procreate is available on the App Store for iPad at $9.99.
Adobe Illustrator costs $24.12 per month for the annual plan paid monthly.
For the prepaid annual plan, it costs $275.86 per year, while the monthly plan costs $36.21 per month.
All prices are inclusive of VAT. A 30-day free trial is available.
See Adobe’s pricing page for more details.
|Type of software
|iOS and iPadOS
|All major platforms including Windows and macOS
|Creates raster images with colorized pixels
|Creates vector images with geometric primitives and mathematical designs
|Can’t scale images up or down without pixelating them
|Can scale images infinitely without degrading the quality
|One-time fee: $9.99 (no extra costs for additional features)
Annual plan paid monthly: $24.12
Prepaid annual plan: $275.86 per year
Monthly plan: $36.21
|✅ 30 days
|Supported file formats
|Compatible with .psd, .png, .jpeg, .tiff, .gif, .mp4, .pdf, .hevc and .procreate
|Compatible with .png, .jpeg, .jpg, .pdf, .svg, .eps, .ai(its native file format). You can export Illustrator files into .dwg, .dxf, .bmp, .css, .tiff, and more
|More than 200
|39 art brushes
|English (US), English (UK), Chinese traditional, Chinese simple, French, Turkish German, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Korean.
|Indic, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian, English, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, and Swedish, German, English, French, and Chinese on the iPad
- Offers multiple basic and pro features
- Simulates real-life art
- Easy to use and intuitive
- Customizable workspace
- Great interface
- Easy to share online
- Printable end product
- Compatible with iPhone or iPad and Apple Pencil
- You can create brushes or use custom ones
- Cannot create high-resolution images in large prints
- The more you draw, the slower it gets
- The simulated brushes aren’t like real brushes
- Can be tricky to undo mistakes
- Overwhelming for first-time users or beginners
- Established app
- Excellent features for touch and transformation
- Improvements constantly adding to its features
- Drawings don’t lose quality when you scale the images
- Can make print and web logos or graphics
- Compatible with desktop or mobile devices
- Offers advance design tools
- License requires a subscription
- Steep learning curve
- No uniformity in commands with InDesign or Photoshop
It’s difficult to choose between Procreate and Illustrator. Both are robust tools with multiple features that help any artist meet their creative goals.
However, they generally serve different purposes, are at different levels of complexity, and are designed for different groups of artists – newbies and professionals.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.