How To Create A Fun And Easy Animated Collage In Procreate

design team - kelley procreate Oct 05, 2021
How to create an animated collage in Procreate

Let’s create a fun and easy animated collage in Procreate! This animation features a retro roller-skating waitress from 1939. I’ll share my favorite resource for vintage photos. Then I’ll talk you through isolating a figure from its background. Lastly, we will animate your collage with the Procreate app. 


This tutorial is beginner friendly. Even if you’ve never created an animation in Procreate, I’ll talk you through every step, and I’ll share tips and tricks as I go.


I’m Kelley Bren Burke. I’m a member of The Pigeon Letters Design Team. I pop in here once a month with fresh content about creating digital art. 





  • iPad
  • Procreate app
  • Stylus, such as the Apple Pencil 
  • Brushes: I’m two brushes from The Pigeon Letters. They are TPL Monoline from the Ink Pack, and TPL Stardust from the Grit brush set. Feel free to use these or your favorite Procreate brushes. 


Grab your iPad and let’s get started!


Prefer watching instead?




Step 1:  Source a Vintage Photo from The Commons on Flickr

There are so many cool vintage photos at The Commons on Flickr! And all photos in The Commons have no known copyright restrictions. Pro Tip: once you navigate to The Commons, make sure you’re searching within this box. 



And double check that your photo says no known copyright instructions. 


I searched “roller skating” and I found this photo. I love it! For this tutorial, it would be best to use this woman in order to get the same results. Here’s the link for our roller-skating friend. Download the photo by tapping the little arrow in the lower-right corner. 




Step 2: Create a New Canvas in Procreate 

Mine is 2000X2000 pixels. 



Step 3: Import the Flickr file into Procreate 

Now it’s time to bring our roller-skater friend into Procreate! To do so: Wrench>Add>Insert a File

It’s a small photo, so you will probably want to enlarge it. Tap Arrow, and then grab the corners of the photo to enlarge it. 

Pro tip! Sometimes old photos aren’t as sharp as you’d like. You can sharpen images in Procreate by going to Wrench>Sharpen>Layer. Drag it to about 50%. 



Step 4: Isolate the Image from the Background 

Use Procreate’s Freehand Selection tool to isolate the waitress from her background. Go to Ribbon>Freehand Selection. Use your stylus to trace carefully around the figure. Tracing just inside the edges of the figure will give you the best result. 


Once you’ve traced all around your figure, drag 3 fingers down to bring up the copy/paste menu. Tap Cut/Paste. The background will be on one layer, and the waitress will be on another layer. If there are places around the waitress image that you want to clean up, use the Soft Airbrush as an eraser to touch up the edges. This is a default Procreate brush within the Airbrush set. 



Step 5: Create Background Layers

 Add a background color. Feel free to pick whatever color strikes your fancy To do this, tap on your layer. A new menu will pop up to the left if your layer, them tap Fill Layer. It will fill with the color you have selected.

Now let’s add three circles in the center. Use Procreate’s Quick Shape Tool to create perfect circles. 

Add a pattern if you’d like. I’m going to use TPL Stardust here, from the TPL Grit Pack. 

Your screen should look a little bit like this:




Step 6: It’s time to Animate!

Group any background layers together. For example, the background color, the circles and the stardust pattern. The waitress should be on her own layer above the background group. 


Nest, tap Wrench>Canvas>Animation Assist on. You’ll have a new menu at the bottom. Find the background layers there, and toggle the Background Layer on. 



Step 7: Duplicate the Woman to Begin Animation

Duplicate our skater friend. Navigate to the new top layer. Tap the arrow in the upper left corner to move the new layer. Move it so her new back leg is between her legs on the original layer, like this:



Continue to duplicate the waitress layer, moving her forward the same amount, while keeping her front leg on the circle. I ended up with nine layers. 



Step 8: Hit Play! 

It’s time to watch our fun animation! Hit play on the animation bar at the bottom. Tap settings to adjust the speed. My settings for this animation are a loop animation at the speed of seven frames per second. You can play with the speed until it’s to your liking. 


Step 9: Time to Export! 

Go to Wrench>Share>Animated GIF. I save my animations to my Camera Roll. 


And we’re done! If you’d like more animation tutorials, check out my Skillshare classes! And let’s connect on Instagram @kelleybrenburke

See you soon! 


Kelley is a self-taught illustrator, animator, doodler and educator. She creates art on her iPad with Procreate and is excited to share her love of the illustration app with artists of all levels. Check out more of Kelley's tutorials here


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