Saturday, April 19, 2014

Photoshop Brushes

My personal brush library, of which I really only use 3.

If you ask any digital artist, what is the single most annoying question they hear all the time? Most of them will probably tell you the same... "What brushes do you use?"

It's inevitable. Students are always looking for that 'secret ingredient' that is going to suddenly make their art great. And although the right tools DO make a massive difference, the truth is, the real secret ingredient is simply hard work.

Still, no matter your medium, the same old questions always come up... What brushes do you use? What surface do you paint on? What kind of pencil do you use?

Now, this is not to say that a student shouldn't ask these questions. They should! You should always be inquisitive! But that inquisitiveness should encompass an interest in ALL your potential mediums. Rather than ask an artist what type of paint they use, and then simply use that paint for no good reason other than imitation, why not try every brand of paint you can get your hands on and then decide for yourself which one YOU like best?

These issues seems to be particularly prevalent amongst digital artists. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that everyone is working with the same tools, so finding a brush that makes your work look unique is all the more important. Whatever it is, the question (no matter how annoying) is an incredibly valid one.

Fortunately, there is a website that answers that question for you!

Digital Brushes is a Tumblr that has collected all the digital brush packs they can find in one place. It's a incredibly wonderful resource for digital artists, and I've downloaded a LOT of them myself.

For those of you that work digitally, I encourage you to really scour these brush packs. Try them all out, find which ones work best for you, and then modify them to suit your own personal needs. Or better yet, figure out how they work, and then make your own!

Perhaps the next time you hear the question 'What brushes do you use?', it will be some student asking YOU.

For loads of brush packs, visit: 


  1. Thanks for the great share! I made the transition a couple years ago to stop asking for brushes because I realized a a couple things. I couldn't paint like someone by using their brushes (surprise!), and almost any brush I used was fine as long as I took the time to feel it out and try some cool things.

    looking at those brushes made me want to make my own, haha. there are some there that I might try. I think eventually, if we play around with textures, a person could make their own really great brushes.

    Thanks again!

  2. A few more sets on my blog:

  3. Thanks for sharing! I only use a few self made brushes myself. Most are based around the default hardround. I made them to either simulate paper grain or just general all around texture. Otherwise things get too smooth or digital looking.

  4. I use one brush.

    But if you're looking to play with some GREAT PS brushes then run, do not walk, to These are hands down the most natural feeling brushes for Photoshop ever. Kyle has really upped the game here and since everyone I recommend them to thanks me, I feel good about sharing here.

  5. I have about a hundred brushes, loaded every time I open Photoshop, but I really use about 20 on a daily basis. The rest are like my powertool collection- rarely used but intermittently essential. I wish Adobe would finally get round to addressing the basic limitations of Photoshop and stop noodling on the fancy stuff. No-one should need the ALPHABET brushes approach but many will find it very handy. Great post, thanks.

  6. Dan- Great read! Its very true, that is a common question, and I have the same response as you. I use my brushes, and you need to go out and make your brushes. I don't mind the question, but the follow up- "Where can I download your brush set?" sends me into a fury! Thannks.

  7. Really kind of you to mention my brushes, Marc - many thanks! While I think that my brushes are the best available (ahem), I agree that it's the artist and not the tools that will make the work ... well, work! It all comes down to good drawing at the end of the day.

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