How to Draw a Midnight Moth in Procreate

design team - lisa procreate Oct 10, 2022
How to draw a midnight moth in Procreate

Bugs and little creatures are so delicate that we sometimes forget to look at the intricate patterns they have. Drawing them can get a bit tricky but there are a few handy tools in Procreate that can help you achieve a beautiful, symmetric look.

 This tutorial is good for a variety of levels, but you should have a basic knowledge of Procreate. I will demonstrate how to use the Symmetry tool to illustrate our Midnight Moth using brushes from TPL Brush Lettering Bundle, PLUS share a few of my Procreate tips too. 

Hi, I'm Lisa Griffin from The Pigeon Letters Design team, an illustrator who loves adding color, joy, and positivity to the world one illustration at a time.   




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Step 1: Sketch the Moth Using Symmetry Guide

I like to start my illustration by sketching a rough idea first. For a creature like a butterfly or moth, it is easy to do this right in Procreate using the Symmetry tool. Select a new canvas in Procreate (I like an 8 x 10” canvas) to begin. Once your canvas is all set, we need to set up your Symmetry guide. From the menu select Actions (the little wrench icon)>Canvas>Drawing Guide. Then select Edit Drawing Guide to tap the Symmetry button at the bottom of your screen. There are options under the Symmetry guide to choose the type of Symmetry mode you want - for this tutorial we will use the Vertical Symmetry Guide. Using a sketching brush (I am using TPL Charcoal brush) begin to draw your moth design starting with the body and adding the wings. What you draw on one side of the canvas will be reflected in real-time on the other. Such an easy and quick way to draw a moth!




Step 2: Add a Dark Background Layer

I selected a lovely navy color to really highlight the light blue/gray of the moth wings. Your background layer should be the bottom most layer.




Need to add some more texture to your artwork? Try out the Vintage Texture Pack by TPL.



Step 3: Paint the Moth Wings

Make sure your new layer has Drawing Assist on, or the Symmetry Guide won’t be active.
I start by using a wash of white that acts as an underpainting for this part of my illustration using TPL Watercolor Opaque round brush. Then I go over the white (cool thing about digital illustration, no drying time!) with a light blue/gray color. When the wings are filled in, I move on to the body using a moss green shade.




Step 4: Add Details on the Wings

Add a new layer above the wings and select Drawing Assist. I switch to TPL Charcoal brush again with a smaller brush size and choose a medium blue color. Using the original sketch, I continue to outline the stems and leaves that I had drawn. I prefer not to drag and drop in the color on these leaves, instead I prefer to fill them in by hand to keep an organic look to the linework. 




Step 5: Using a Clipping Mask 

Let’s add some more color to the leaves. Add another layer above the leaves/stems. Select Drawing Assist and Clipping Mask in the layer options menu for this new layer. A Clipping Mask allows you “clip” marks to the design on the layer beneath it. It’s a wonderful non-destructive way to work on the illustration. I use the Grainy Brush Pen to paint some highlights on the tips of the leaves with a dusty rose color. I then move to a navy color and paint along a few stems. Once, I am happy with those color highlights, I use the Smudge tool (with the same brush but a lower opacity setting) to softly blend in the colors. 




Step 6: Add Crescent Moon Design to the Wings

Our Midnight Moth wouldn’t be complete without a few crescent moons. Using both navy and gold, I add color to my moon shapes on the bottom wing. I sprinkle a few more gold accents on the moth antennae and along the top and bottom wings. 




Step 7: Finishing Touches to the Moth Design

Let’s add a bit of moonlight to our illustration. Using the gold color, select TPL Moonlight brush. Draw a large ellipse that frames the moth with this brush. Soften the edges lightly with the eraser. Using TPL Watercolor Opaque brush at 5%, scatter a few marks around the gold ellipse. Switch back to the navy shade that is in the background. Using the color disk, darken that color slightly. Add a new layer, draw a second ellipse inside the gold one in the new dark navy. This time, drag and drop to fill in the ellipse with a solid color. With this layer still selected, go to Adjustments > Gaussian Blur and drag your pencil over the screen to the right to adjust the blur effect. Set your blur radius to aprox 50% so that it changes from a dark looking hole to a subtle gradient that frames the illustration beautifully.



I love to make winged things in Procreate using the Symmetry tool and you might find that this becomes somewhat addictive. PLUS how fab are Peggy’s lettering brushes for sketching and painting! I hope that you were encouraged to experiment with her brushes in some fun new ways. 



Thank you for creating with me. I hope you feel inspired and excited to play with brushes and the Symmetry Guides in Procreate. Be sure to tag Peggy @thepigeonletters and me @lisamgriffinart on Instagram so we can see your Midnight Moth inspired illustrations.


See all of Lisa’s tutorials here!

From simple sketches, to fully rendered illustrations, Lisa spends her days making art from a cozy studio in beautiful New Hampshire. Her illustrations have been featured on stationery, decor, and over 20 children’s picture books.

Lisa infuses joy and artistry into her creations, in the hopes of adding more happiness to the world one illustration at a time.

When she is not busy in the studio, Lisa enjoys yoga, reading, being outside in the sunshine, and spending time with her family and friends.