Procreate is a raster-based design application similar to Photoshop, primarily used for illustrations, painting, and sketching. One of the creative design elements of Procreate is the user’s ability to create their own textures and brushes. Other users can utilize these design tools for their work, but like any other developed tool, graphic, or design, licensing agreements dictate how they can be used.
There are Procreate brushes that are free for commercial use. Most artists that create brushes on Procreate don’t mind if others use their brushes to create work to sell. However, it is crucial to check the licensing agreement of any developed tool you use to ensure commercial use is approved.
The majority consensus on proper Procreate etiquette when using another artist’s brushes is never to redistribute any brushes, whether free or purchased. This code of conduct is urged because Procreate brushes are copyrighted by their creator, and unless they sell the copyright itself to you, it is not legal or ethical to redistribute. Let’s get into how copyright and licensing work.
What Does it Mean When a Brush on Procreate is Copyrighted?
Every piece of art has a signature or fingerprint from its creator. Even if the design is inspired by something else, there will always be a unique element, the artist’s style or creative idea added. All the time and energy that goes into creating, and now imagine someone profiting off your work or worse, given credit for it.
If copyright is something you don’t want to worry about and you would rather utilize an app or program that gives you access to use all the tools, free for commercial use, consider some alternatives, like a one-stop-shop website. One-stop-shop websites like Placeit.net provide you with peace of mind that what you create using their design tools, you can use commercially.
3 Different Types of Licensing Agreements
If an artist on Procreate allows you to use their Procreate brush, always ask for the terms in the licensing agreement, even if the brush is free. The creator of that Procreate brush gets to determine how they would like it to be used regardless of cost.
1. Free for Personal Use Only
This licensing type means that the Procreate brush you want is free for personal use but can not be used commercially-that means that it cannot be used on work for a profit. So it can not appear on a product, a website, even in marketing or branding.
So, where does this leave you in terms of its use? Your design using that brush needs to be for your enjoyment or kept among friends, like a goofy meme or a trendy graphic. However, if that design ends up on a t-shirt for sale, it crosses the line into commercial use.
This license type can be risky with such an ambitious gray area between personal and commercial use. Therefore, the best practice is to look for brushes with a license that states that it is free for commercial use.
2. Free for Commercial and Personal Use
This license type means that the brush you want is free for both personal and commercial use. Free for commercial use is the most desired type of license for brushes on Procreate, and free for commercial use presents the lowest risk of copyright infringement. It also means you can make a profit from your design without the fear of legal consequences (For example, this is what Placeit.net uses, see their license here).
So, whether you are using the brush to create something for your brand, website marketing materials, or to make a kitschy design to share with a small group, this license type will give you peace of mind. Again, It is best practice to look for brushes on Procreate with a license that states that it is free for commercial use.
3. Requires Purchase
Just because a brush is copyrighted does not mean it can not be used. While there may be plenty of brushes on Procreate for free, you may come across one you want that is for purchase. You pay the price the creator sets and essentially, what you are purchasing is a license from the copyright holder.
Be careful with purchasing any copyrighted work. Just because you gave the creator money for their design or, in this case, tool does not mean you get to use it however you want and for as long as you want. The stipulations of the license you purchase will determine if the brush is single-use or can be used multiple times for different purposes.
Purchasing the Copyright for the Brush
Under no circumstance, even if you paid for a licensing to use the brush, can you redistribute the use of the brush. That means that only you are permitted to use it, and it can not be made available to your friends, co-workers, employer, or anyone else for use. No redistribution is not only proper etiquette, but it is legally binding.
The only occasion where this is allowable is if you purchase the copyright from the creator. If you buy the copyright, that means ownership gets transferred over to you in its entirety unless otherwise specified. If the copyright is transferred over to you, you are free to do what you please with it. You can keep it for yourself, distribute it to anyone you want, and allow them to do the same.
Overall, to determine if a brush on Procreate is free for commercial use, do your research. Always check the licensing agreement whether you purchased the brush or not. If there are any doubts about the licensing, the best practice is to find another brush you like rather than deal with possible legal consequences.