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Autumn Papercut Scene in Procreate

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

I've always been a fan of paper art, but it can get messy (glue!), painful (papercuts - yikes!) and take a lot of space. Once I learned how to create digital paper cut art in Procreate, this solved all of those issues. Today I'm going to walk you through step-by-step how to create your own 3D Autumn scene on your iPad.

You can watch the video tutorial HERE.

The basic info to create these effects is listed below, but for a step-by-step walkthrough, I recommend watching the video tutorial. 😉

You can download the color palette HERE.

You can learn more about my DigiQuill course HERE.

You can get your Free 30-day trial of Skillshare HERE.

Papercut layout:

  • Sketch out your design on a separate layer (OPTIONAL) & reduce opacity

  • Add layers underneath sketch

  • Draw first papercut layer (dark brown) with a thick monoline brush

  • Adjust if needed using Transform tool.

  • Add/draw other layers with progressively lighter colors (light brown, orange, reds, etc.)

  • Add a new layer at the top (sample dark brown) and draw in tree trunks and branches - when you're happy with these you can pinch to merge with the cutout layer

  • Add a new layer at the top and draw or import leaves (dark brown) - pinch to merge when done

  • Continue adding new layers and either draw or import other elements (squirrel, pumpkins, deer, mushrooms, etc.) - arrange them above the layer you want to "attach" them to and match the colors, then pinch them with the corresponding layers - you should end up with just the 5 papercut layers that have the center cutouts AND the elements all in one.

3D process:

  • Duplicate each layer twice and group/name them (stay organized!)

  • Bottom layer of each group - Adjustments > HSB and turn brightness down to None (we're turning these black) - you could also alpha-lock the layer and fill with black, then turn off alpha-lock

  • Middle layer of each group - Adjustments > HSB and increase brightness to 65-85% (lighter colors don't need to increase as much)

  • Use transform tool to move highlights & shadows as a group using multi-select

  • Shadow layers get Gaussian blur (adjustments) and opacity adjustment individually

Paper texture:

  • Option 1 - overall texture

    • Add new layer at very top

    • Import file (paper texture available here - or make sure it’s grayscale with high contrast)

    • Make sure it covers the whole canvas

    • Blend mode to overlay

  • Option 2 - different textures for each group/element

    • Same process as above, but add texture to each group and make the layer a Clipping mask

    • Takes more time and layers, but more realistic and varied effects are possible

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