Ever wondered how to create your own Photoshop paint brushes? Here is a quick tutorial to help you with that.

 

When starting out in digital painting most of us are searching for custom brushes that will take our mediocre images and magically transform them into masterpieces with a single brush stroke. However, we soon find out that there is no magic brush that replaces fundamentals skills and our paintings are not getting better — they definitely look much more artsy though.

If you are just starting out with digital painting don’t expect that your painting skills will skyrocket just because you learnt how to create Photoshop brushes; that being said it definitely takes away from the struggle of using the basic brushes in Photoshop.

Before we start I would like to note that for taking full advantage of the brushes you should have a pressure sensitive pen tablet. Throughout the tutorial I will assume that you already got one, and I’ll talk about a few settings that can only be used with a tablet.

Okay let’s create some Photoshop paint brushes.

 

  1. The Basic Sketching Brush

 

Let’s start with the simple things first. If this is your first time creating brushes it is probably smarter to move slowly so you can grasp the idea behind creating a brush in Photoshop. If you are already familiar with the basics, please feel free to skip this step and scroll down to the next one.

Let’s start by opening up the Brush panel, you can do this by either pressing F5 on your keyboard or you can go to Window – Brush inside Photoshop.

Now, press B or make sure your bush is selected and you can see that there are 13 more little boxes you can check and 13 more windows you can enter to tweak your brush. This might seem intimidating at first but it is really way simpler than it seems. In making our first brush we are going to use only two of the windows inside the Brush panel — Brush Tip Shape and Smoothing.

Here comes the fun part. Select your brush (B), right click on the canvas and then select the 4th brush from the window.

photoshop paint brushes

Once you have that brush selected, open the Brush panel (F5) and at Brush Tip Shape type in -25 for the Angle and 40% for the roundness. Once this is done, grab the small handle right under Spacing and pull it way down to the bottom. The Smoothing box should already be checked by default, so let’s proceed to save our brush.

photoshop paint brushes

In the lower right corner of the panel you can see a small file icon there — click on it. Now a window pops up where you should be able to name your brush, and once this is done you can always find your brush in the Brush Presets panel.

Congratulations you have created a nice calligraphy brush! Now, if you want to use it for sketching try lowering its opacity to 30%, I found that it works better that way.

 

  1. The Sketching Brush from Scratch

 

This is where the real fun begins, since this time we are creating our brush from scratch. This one will be a bit more artsy and have some texture to it.

Open a brand new 3000 by 3000 pixel file in Photoshop by going to File – New and set the Width and Height to 3000 pixels. Press OK. You should get a blank canvas.

Now, using the brush you previously created, draw a shape similar to the example below on your canvas.

photoshop paint brushes

 

Once this is done go to Edit – Define Brush Preset, name your brush and open up the Brush Panel (F5).

At Brush Tip Shape you lower the Spacing to minimum and at Shape Dynamics you change the Size Jitter Control to Pen Pressure, and the Angle Jitter Control to Direction.

Make sure your Smoothing is checked and you got a nice smooth sketching brush. It is great for figure studies or any sort of organic line work, give it a try.

photoshop paint brushes

 

  1.  The Triangle Brush

 

This one is great for sketching robots, vehicles or any sort of hard surface objects.

You start out by selecting the Polygon Tool, under shapes (U). You set the sides to 3 and draw out a triangle on your canvas. You save it as a brush by going to Edit – Define Brush Preset and you open your Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

Under Brush Tip Shape you lower the spacing once again and under Transfer you set the Flow Jitter Control to Pen Pressure. Check the Noise and Smoothing boxes, save it and we are done. You can use a Texture overlay or a Dual Brush also on it if you prefer. Play around with it.

photoshop paint brushes

 

  1. The Gritty Rectangle Brush

 

This brush has multiple uses — I’ve used it on almost everything to be honest. It works great with both figurative paintings and hard surface objects. It has a nice painterly feel to it and it works like magic with the smudge brush.

First we start out by selecting the Rectangle Tool and drawing a rectangle similar to the example on the canvas. Once we have the rectangle, create a new layer above and using your brushes set to white try to reproduce the shape we have on the image below. With the shape ready, we go to Edit – Define Brush Preset and open up the Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

 

The settings for this brush are the following:

Shape Dynamics

Size Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Minimum Diameter 60%

Angle Jitter Control: Direction

Transfer 

Flow Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Smoothing On

photoshop paint brushes

 

Save your Brush and enjoy.

 

  1. The Smooth Paint Brush

 

This brush works the best for me when painting really painterly still lives or portraits. Works like magic in combination with a hard edge smudge brush.

Once again recreate the shape below, Edit – Define Brush Preset and open your Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

 

Use these settings:

 Dual Brush

100 (Check reference image)

Size 100 px

Spacing 20%

Scatter 150%

Count 3

Mode: Overlay

Transfer

Opacity Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Flow Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Noise

Smoothing On

photoshop paint brushes

 

  1. The Oil Paint Brush

 

The oil paint brush is really good for achieving — you guessed it — the oil painted look. To create this brush you can follow the steps below.

Recreate the shape you see below, then Edit – Define Brush Preset and open your Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

 

Use the settings below to create your Photoshop paint brush:

Shape Dynamics

Size Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Minimum Diameter 65%

Angle Jitter Control: Direction

Texture

Artist Surfaces 1

Scale 50%

Mode: Color Dodge

Depth 95%

Dual Brush 184 (See example)

Size 184 px

Spacing 40%

Scatter 105%

Count 4

Transfer

Flow Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Smoothing On

photoshop paint brushes

 

  1. Grit Texture Brush

You can use this brush to apply texture to your objects or characters. It is easy to make and effective.

Recreate the shape you see below, then Edit – Define Brush Preset and open your Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

Use the settings below to create your Photoshop paint brush:

 Shape Dynamics

Size Jitter 30%

Size Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Minimum Diameter 30%

Angle Jitter 10

Roundness Jitter 5%

Minimum Roundness 20%

 Scattering

Scatter 90%

Count 1

 Transfer

Opacity Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Flow Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

 Noise On

 

 photoshop paint brushes

  1. Cloud / Smoke Texture Brush

As the title says, this brush can be used for creating Clouds and Smoke effects. Our approach for this one will be a bit different, but really simple.

You can start by going to Filter – Render – Clouds and once you have a cloud texture on your canvas, take your soft eraser and erase away the unnecessary parts, creating a shape similar to the one in the example below.

Once this is done you can go to Edit – Define Brush Preset and open up your Brush Panel (F5).

photoshop paint brushes

You can use the settings below:

 Shape Dynamics

Size Jitter 20%

Minimum Diameter 30%

Angle Jitter 100%

Transfer

Opacity Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

Flow Jitter Control: Pen Pressure

photoshop paint brushes

 

 

DOWNLOAD BRUSHES HERE

DOWNLOAD TOOLS HERE

 

 

That’s about it — I hope you enjoyed creating these Photoshop paint brushes. In case you didn’t succeed at your first try, or you didn’t quite get the expected result, I attached a download link below to the brushes.

You can install them by going selecting the brush tool, Right click on canvas, Settings – Preset Manager – Load, and choosing the brushes you downloaded.

I hope this tutorial helped you, and if you want to check out the video version you can find it below. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO