Procreate 4.2 Tutorial – Selection Tool

Procreate 4.2 tutorial - selection tool header image

Welcome back to my tutorial on how to use the Procreate App. In this post, I will be going through the selection function, teaching you how to use it. The selection function lets you select an area of your artwork and together with the transform function, modify the selected areas as you desire. The selection function also allows you to edit only on selected areas of your artwork. This post will show you how to select areas of your artwork. The next post will show you how the transform function works on selected areas.

Selection tool icon
selection interface and sub options

The selection tool offers four different ways to select. They are automatic, freehand, rectangle and eclipse.

Each method of selection contains more sub-selection options: add, remove, invert, duplicate, feature and clear.

We will be going through what each selection method do, how to use them and their sub-options.

Selection tools image

Activating and using the selection tool

To activate the selection tool, tap on the selection icon on the top menu and its options will show up at the bottom.

The selection tool can remain active when other functions are being used, such as the brush tool. When the selection tool is activated, only the selected area on the canvas can be edited. Anything that’s outside of the selection will not be changed. This is good for when you only want to edit certain areas of your artwork.

When the selection options show up, the highlighted method is the currently active method.

To deactivate the selection tool, tap on the selection icon so it’s no longer selected in blue.

Undo and redo gestures are the same as when you’re painting normally. 2 fingers tap for undo and 3 fingers for redo.

During your selection process, you are able to zoom, pan and rotate your canvas as normal.

After making a selection, you will notice that the selected areas are shaded with diagonal lines and the selected area will be clear. Sometimes you may find the default opacity of the shades areas too transparent to see or too opaque to see what’s below it. In this case, you can change the opacity of the shaded areas under: actions(on the left side of the icons menu at the top of the canvas) -> prefs -> selection mask visibility. Adjust the slider to your liking.

If you want to select all the painted areas on a layer, tap on your layers icon, select the layer you want to select by tapping on that layer, tap on the selected layer again and a list of options will show up at the side, tap on the select option to select all the painted areas on that layer. That will activate the selection icon and bring up the selection interface.

Selection methods image

Selection methods


The automatic selection method selects an area of your artwork automatically. Simply tap on a point where you want to select and it’ll do its magic.

You can also adjust the threshold of the selection by tapping on a point and then sliding left or right without lifting your finger or stylus off the canvas. The threshold percentage bar will show up just under the icons menu on the top. The threshold decides how far the border of the selection goes. The higher the threshold, the wider the selection. You can tap on multiple areas to select.


This freehand selection method allows you a lot of control in your selection. It allows you to make both freehand and straight lines for your selection.

To make a freehand selection, simply draw the lines with a stylus or finger, just like drawing.

To make straight lines in your selection, simply tap where you want your line to start and end

To close a selection, tap back on the beginning of the selection, there should be a small circle/point indicating the start of a selection path.

You are able to use a combination of freehand and straight line in one selection, this gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility in your selections. Lifting your finger or stylus off the canvas will not cancel the selection.


Create rectangle shaped selections. Tap and drag with one finger till your desired size and shape then release.

Tap and drag with 2 fingers for perfect squares.


Similar to the rectangle selection method. The ellipse method created oval shaped selections. Tap and drag with one finger till your desired size and shape.

Tap and drag with 2 fingers for perfect circles.

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Each of the 4 main selection methods mentioned above has the below 5 sub-options.


Add another area to your selection.

When a selection is not closed, the add option will remain activated. When you tap on the add option, the selection will be closed for you. It will create a straight line from the last point on your selection path to the beginning point of your selection to close it.


Remove selected area from your selection.

If you want to remove an area from your selection without selecting again from the beginning, you can use the remove option.

The remove option will be activated when you’re doing a selection, it will be deactivated when a selection is closed.

To remove using freehand selection method: make your selection without tapping on the beginning point at the end to close it, tap on the remove option instead and the selected area will be removed from your selection.

To remove using rectangle or ellipse method: tap and drag your finger to make your desired shape and size, without lifting your finger off the canvas, tap on the remove option.


Invert the selection

The invert option inverts your selection. So previously selected areas will be unselected and previously unselected areas will now be selected.


Duplicates the painted areas on your selected area onto a new layer on top.


Adjust the sharpness of the selection border

A slider will show up for you to adjust the percentage of feathering.


Clears the current selection


So these are the different ways you can make your selections in the Procreate App. Selections are useful when you want to only edit certain area of your artwork. Used together with the other tools like the adjustment tool or the transform tool, you will be able to be more flexible with your workflow and more creative in your creative work.

I will be showing you how to use the transform tool in the next tutorial.

These artist gloves for digital painting are a must for me when I paint on the iPad, when I don’t wear the gloves, sometimes the Procreate app sense my palm resting on the screen as 2 fingers tapping and holding and start undoing! Or sometimes it starts colour picking. I’ve tried the different palm support options but I still get the problem sometimes.  If you’re having these kinds of problems as well, the gloves may be your solution too!

Don’t have an Ipad or prefer using your laptop for digital drawing?

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