artist-blog

Thoughts on Photoshop Brushes

Artist Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Photoshop brushes!! **insert heavenly sounds** Yes, photoshop brushes. I suppose this idea could apply to other drawing software as well, or even just manual drawings. But I am familiar with photoshop, and so I will be speaking in terms of photoshop.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there. We are all aww’d at the GORGEOUS, AMAZING, SPECTACULAR art that is out there on the internet. How do they do that? If only we had that right PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES!! And, trust me, they’re not as big-a-deal as you think.

There are two BIG concerns, I have, when talking about photoshop brushes in this way.

  • Having good brushes does NOT automatically make you a better artist
  • You don’t know what kind of brushes you want until you start painting.

The Getting-A-Good-Photoshop-Brush argument is like the cousin to I-Need-A-Good-Camera-To-Start-A-Youtube-Channel bit. The equipment/resource is never the problem; it is ALWAYS about EXECUTION. Can you honestly tell which artist on the internet uses a $300 Wacom vs. a $2000 Cintiq? If equipment solved all your problems, we’d all be hoarding billionaires with six-pack abs and fabulous teeth! -( stole that from somewhere)

So where do we start? Beginner artists usually begin with the stock round brush, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, that is the ONLY way I was able to learn what types of brushes I wanted to use. I encourage you to try and paint an entire painting in one round brush. No transparency. I dare you.

 This digital painting was done with only the soft round brush in Photoshop

This was one of the very first digital paintings I had ever done. ALL. IN. SOFT. ROUND. BRUSH.

 


Once you start this process, you will find yourself with multitudes of inconveniences, like transparency, blur, distressed edges, etc.. Take note and then create your very own brush! But again, as I said before, you can’t know what you want, unless you start painting (and I mean a LOT).

Now, lucky for us, most artists online have already gone through this madness. They have ready-made brushes available for download, and most are free! You can always try to reverse engineer these brushes and customize them to the way you like. I use a mix of brushes downloaded from a handful of different artists and mercilessly toss ones I never use. In a single painting, I probably alternate between 4 to 5 brush types and then move on if I get bored of the look.

For people who are curious, my current favorites are from the following artists:

  • Kyle T Webster ( readily available to download through Photoshop CC as he has teamed up with Adobe)- I mainly use his grunge brushes and blender brushes.
  • Wlop – these are the free ones I found on his DA site, but you actually get more when you subscribe as a paying Patreon
  • Darek Zabrocki– distressed everything
  • Peleng (Sergey Kolesov)– I’ve been using his “kiyaksa” one a lot lately

Each of these artists are rightfully amazing at what they do. I encourage everyone to check out their work.

You can have the best brushes in the world, but if you don’t know how to use them, it’s completely useless. It is all about EXECUTION. Sometimes, I find myself using only one brush for both painting and erasing! Making a big deal about brushes is an excuse. An obstacle we’ve placed in front of us, by us, so that we can be off-the-hook to do the work- I should know, I was one of the biggest offenders.


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