Tactile images and adapting images to make them accessible in raised line form can be difficult hurtles, not to mention the time consumption they entail. Procreate is described by the creators as “the most powerful and intuitive digital illustration app available for iPad. It's packed with features artists love, and it's an iPad exclusive”.
While this is an artist-based app I have discovered some great ways to use it with my students with visual impairments. A colleague sent me an image, and I was immediately faced with figuring out how I would adapt the image to be in raised line form. I grabbed my wiki sticks and tried to engineer an artistic feat. It didn’t work. I am NOT an artist. So, drawing it in free hand on PIAF paper was not an option. Then I thought back to an app I had personally purchased for when I feel creative. I was able to adapt not only the image the colleague emailed me but also the themed worksheets that I had been given by another teacher. I looked at the themed worksheets and thought, “Man, these are not going to work for _______”. But with Procreate, my iPad pro, and my trust apple pencil I was able to “trace the images”.
I saved so much time adapting the images on my iPad. I was able to print them and make sure they were accessible then after a couple doubtful seconds I was surprised to see that the lines were nice and clean, and IT WORKED! I have since created my own images to use with other students that help to engage their interest in the activity we are doing. I can also change settings to make the colors what any of my students need. I feel like this time saver is a way that we can continue to move into spending more time with our students. It is also a way to have things to work with that are of high interest to students.
So now that you’re totally interested, I will say. Procreate is a paid app, and it does have a learning curve. Luckily, I created a tutorial. The most important thing to remember is that you HAVE to work in layers. Layers, layers, layers, when in doubt… create a new layer. I have just recently been working with this, but I have seen some other things artists have done with procreate and I think there are other things we can find to use this app for. Essentially, you are tracing whatever the image is. You can use the iPad camera to take a picture of the image and then trace the basics of it that allow your student to be included with their class on an activity. Clean up those messy images quickly and get it back to the student so they aren’t behind their class. Its as easy as tracing. You learn as you go, just keep trying.
I really love the possibilities that I feel are available with using procreate for my students. I hope you find it helpful to create images that are accessible to not only your students with low vision but also to your students who need raised line images.
If you have any questions or need some help with procreate feel free to reach out.
Procreate App 2: Activities, Worksheets, and Books post (Cat and dog images in the first post have been used to create the downloadable resources in the second post.)