In this short guide I’ll show you how to create your own custom style iOS app icons by tracing over the old icons in Procreate. You can use this technique in other drawing apps too of course! In this example I’ll be converting the Overcast (podcast player) app to my chalkboard inspired aesthetic style to use on my iPad home screen redesign.
Here’s a quick guide to tracing your own icons to make custom icons for your home screen. Firstly, make sure you’ve got a copy of the app icon saved in your Photos app. When you’ve done this, I’m going to use Procreate, but there are loads of drawing apps you could use. In fact, you could even use the built-in apps like Keynote to do this. This tutorial is for Procreate, but I’m sure you can work out how to do it in your own application of choice.
I’m going to make a new document and ensure it’s a square canvas. In the upper right-hand corner on my new canvas, I can go to the layers button. Here, I’m going to change my background colour because I’m going for my chalkboard aesthetic. I’m going to make my background a very, very dark grey, nearly black colour.
Now, I’m going to import my app icon. So, in Procreate, go to the left-hand side in the corner and press the little spanner. You’re going to choose to import a photo. Here, I can use the shortcut at the bottom to make that app fill the entire square canvas. Because my icon is going to be a square, that’s the perfect option. When I’ve done this, I’m going to press my layers button again and make that layer slightly transparent, about 50% opacity. This means I’ll be able to see my drawing on top, no matter what colour it is. Then, I’m going to press the plus button to add a new layer.
For my chalkboard style, I’m going to get some charcoal. I’m just going to choose charcoal black and make sure the colour of my brush is white. Then, really simply and quite roughly, to be honest, I’m going to sketch around the icon shape itself, not the actual box around the outside, just the detail of the icon. So, I’ll trace around my speech bubble nice and quickly, and then I’m going to do some shading in the middle. In order to keep my chalkboard aesthetic, I’m not going to do this very neatly, as you would do a chalkboard. To be honest, it wouldn’t always be very neat.
When I’m done, I can go back to my layers tab, and this time, I can hide the layer with the app icon itself on it. That leaves me with my background and my drawing layer. From here, tap on the spanner in the top left, and you’re going to export this as a JPEG and save it in your camera roll. You’ve now got your own custom app icon that you’ve drawn, ready to use in your Shortcuts app to replace the current app icon.
Check out my tutorial for that at the end of this video, and good luck customising your home screen with your own icons!
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