Go back

Adobe Illustrator vs Procreate - Your choice for 2023 Research

Read in 4 minutes
Published on: 11 Nov 2022

"The purpose of software engineering is to control complexity, not to create it."

Pamela Zane

We live in a software-empowered world. Even to illustrate reality and to procreate uniqueness, we need software. Cringe-y puns much? Well, puns we may not know, but software programs we do. And with the same confidence, we bring you an honest spill of Adobe Illustrator and Procreate. Decide which works perfectly for you. Understand how these two very different software can help your artistic career. So, illustrators, designers, and artists pull up your socks. We are here to take you through this condensed read.


Let's begin from the beginning!

What is Procreate?

Easy-peasy, Procreate is a cloud-based software meant for illustrations and sketches. You must have come across artists showing digital illustrations on TikTok and Instagram. Most of these artists use Procreate to stroke their art to perfection.

What's more?

- An animation tool that lets creative minds record actions in a time-lapse format. You can use the recordings for future reference.

- Tools to create new brushes.

- Customise textures and effects included in existing brushes.

- Change text styles and typographies.

- Customise fonts as per requirements.

- Adjust paint filters, effects, chromatic aberrations, and blur in images.

- Draw, modify, or colour-correct images across various canvas sections.

What we like:

-You can draw various line strokes based on the amount of pressure you put on the iPad.

-Easy transition from sketches to the final product.

-Easy and intuitive user interface.

-Fantastic presets to fine-tune images using various settings.

-Quick adjustments and edits.

-Cheaper alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

-Easily save files in PSD format.

What we dislike:

-Limited blur effects.

-The animation assist tool has limited functionalities.

-A number of layers are allowed based on ram and storage capacity.

-Requires more powerful iPad versions.

-A Compatible Apple® pencil is a must.

-Resizing abilities are mediocre.

How much does Procreate cost?

The software is one of the most affordable versions available currently. It costs barely $10. But, but, BUT, the affordability is only valid if you already have an upgraded 64 GB iPad.

The cheapest Apple® device fit to run Procreate is the iPad 10.2 version, costing around $300.

Other requirements include a Paperlike Screen Protector and a $100 Stylus 1st Gen Apple® Pencil.

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a user-friendly software used by many graphic designers and artists. The program has had a prominent effect on how people create designs. Illustrator is an inspiring tool used by millions to give home to innovative designs. This software can make anything from logos, shapes, icons, illustrations, artwork, billboards, and product packaging.

What's more?

Adobe Illustrator uses vector curves and forms to employ designs. It can creative, high-quality formats. It has a flexible workspace that listens to artistic needs. Hence, it gives users a more natural feel while creating designs.

Other features include:

-An ability to track your activity.

-Application management to keep your work hassle-free.

-Advanced CAD tools to release your most creative side.

-Easy and quick data import or export.

-Content library to borrow inspiration from.

-Vector Graphics allow you to create high-quality formats independent of any dimension.

What we like:

-Hands down, Illustrator has one of the smoothest and most interactive user interfaces.

-Quality is never compromised in Illustrator. You can edit as much as you like and receive clear vector images.

-Illustrator allows the user to multitask. You can work on multiple pages at once, which is why it becomes so convenient.

-The software is accessible through creative clouds across various desktops, laptops, and tablets.

What we dislike:

-Too many tools can be pretty overwhelming for any beginner.

-The learning curve is steep. This means there's so much to learn, which can overwhelm the user. It feels like you may have to pay for another class just to learn how to use the software.
-There's no mobile version of the software. If you want to make tiny changes on the go, that might not always be possible.
-Illustrator can make the work hefty. You cannot save new edits in an old file. If you create further modifications and want to keep it, you will store it as an entirely new image. This results in multiple versions of the same image and extra storage space loss.

-The software lacks versioning features.

Are there any similarities between Procreate and Illustrator?

No. Procreate and Illustrator are two very different programs. Of course, both are used to create digital art. But, the purpose is all the similarities they have. Artists, illustrators, and designers who have tried both understand how much they differ. But that's good, isn't it? These two platforms give you a taste of two very different worlds. Combining the two may give you something that can be a catalyst for your career.

So, why not understand the differences and see how we can use these differences to our best advantage?

Difference between Procreate and Illustrator

Let's look at 6 major differences between Procreate and Adobe Illustrator:

1. The Core Purpose

Procreate and Illustrator are packed with unique features that differ from each other. Despite being design software, the two are far from identical. Procreate is ideally used to create digital art. Illustrator, on the other hand, is used to create illustrations and designs beyond art.

2. The Core Cost

Illustrator is expensive. The lowest costing plan is $20.99 per month. Procreate is comparatively cheaper at only $10. However, Illustrator gives a 7-day free trial to its user. This is something missing from Procreate.

3. The Core Quality: Vector vs Raster

Procreate creates raster images. Adobe Illustrator creates vector images. The difference between vector and raster images is that:

Raster images (JPG, PNG, GIF) can be pixelated and blurry.

Vector images (PDF, EPS, and AI) are crisp, clear, and infinitely scalable with top quality.

4. The Core Use

Illustrator can be hands-down ideal for graphic designing. Procreate, however, is best when used to create illustrations and art. Since Illustrator creates vector images, it is perfect for running brand campaigns.

5. Device Usability

Procreate's biggest weakness lies in the fact that only iPad and iPhone users can access it. This immediately excludes Mac, Windows, Laptop, and Smartphone users. Illustrator runs on various devices. Whether you have a MacBook, an iPad, a tablet, or a laptop. The only condition is that your device should be capable enough to handle heavy storage. It's because Illustrator's large-sized files that take away most of the storage space.

6. The Core Ease

When it comes to ease, Procreate is far easier than Illustrator. That's because Procreate is very straightforward with its tools. The software is simple to learn, which is why beginners can start practising right away. Illustrator, on the other hand, is complex. Even pro-level designers have complained about how Illustrator can be overwhelming. Concerns go further when users compare Illustrator to its sister product, Photoshop.

Differences in a nutshell:

Adobe Illustrator is used by artists and designers to create graphic artwork. You can draw anything out of shapes and lines. Illustrator can be used on a laptop, desktop, or MacBook. The designs can be created using a mouse. However, if you wish to, you can get the app on your iPad and use the Apple® pencil to create your designs. On Illustrator, you can create vector images. This means the shapes and designs you create can be enlarged infinitely.

That being said, Procreate has a far limited choice. First, it's essential that you have an updated iPad version with you. Second, you cannot use a mouse. It's mandatory to have an Apple® pencil with you. Third, the images you will be creating on procreate will have a lot of pixels. So, enlarging these designs can make them look blurry and torn.

Illustrator or Procreate: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice is all yours to make. We would recommend that you try each platform and see what works the most in your favour. Both software can be excellent to uplift your career. Illustrator and Procreate together can work wonders to  boost your business .

If you are just a beginner in this line and are looking for something simple, easy, and fun to use, Procreate is great. It's a great way to exercise your creative mind until you are ready to use something more complex, like Illustrator.

But, if you are an experienced designer who can't make up their mind on what to invest in, we have mentioned in the sections below in which arenas the two software hold importance.

When Illustrator shines over Procreate

All complications aside, Illustrator does make designing (especially graphic designing) less of a chore. Since it supports vector designs, it's safe to say that your creativity can be used in more than one way. Plus, it's perfect for old-school designers who love to use the mouse rather than the Apple® pencil. And there's no hassle of buying a new iPad. You can continue the work on your current desktop or laptop.

When Procreate shines over Illustrator

Procreate is brilliant for life-like artmaking. For artists who want to experience digital drawing, create a reputation in the online world, and give their vision groundbreaking creativity, Procreate is the ideal program.

Learn More

On KoolStories, know more about graphic designing and graphic design softwares. Explore our 15 minutes micro courses and interactive one-to-one sessions with experts. Chat with other learners and be a part of a strong learning community.

Save your time. Learn this in as little as 1 minute.

We’ve got 500+ bite-sized content to help you learn the smarter way.

Download the app



Can I use Procreate even if I can't draw?

Of course you can. Procreate is great to experiment with your artistic style. Here's how you can use Procreate even if you can't draw:

-Interesting tools to help you learn how to draw. You can try the Quickshape feature which can draw precise shapes for you.

-Use the Drawing Assist feature and add grids to ensure that the lines are aligned and straight. 

-Correct symmetries to create exact measurements. 

-Create layers so that editing is easier. You don't have to erase the entire image you created. You can simply go to the layer and make the edits you need. If you want you can dispose off the layers you don't need.

How can I use my fingers to create art on Procreate?

Here's how you can create art on Procreate using your fingers:

-Practise. Because touchscreen needs practising. 

-Take time to make accurate brushstrokes. Creating art using fingers on touchscreen can create thick lines. Try to control that. 

-Juggle between using the stylus and your fingers. You can make the best of both worlds. 

-Control gestures using various tools like "smudge" to get the artform you need. 


What cool stuff can I create on Adobe Illustrator?

Here are 5 amazing things you can do on Adobe Illustrator:

-You can move isolated letters from a text

-The Colour Theme Picker can arrange colour options to create a matching art. 

-Easily layout any structure using the grid guides. 

-Create architectural projects using the map-making tool.

What are the best tools available on Adobe Illustrator?

Here are the best tools you can find on Adobe Illustrator:

-Setting Default Text Styles: Change font family, style, size, case, and more.

-Object duplication tool: Duplicated any selected object.

-The curvature tool which helps in creating smooth and crisp curves.

-The width tool creates wide strokes for curves designed through the curvature tool.