As an amateur designer, there were two things I loved to go to when making pieces: filters and brushes. Filters were just cool and fun to mess around with. Brushes were tons of fun as well, but I would tend to use them as stamps. Nothing really too fancy. They were just quick ways to insert an element I couldn’t make into a design.
Today, I’ve strayed away from the use of heavy filters, but I have stayed extremely invested in different brushes. As I’ve become a seasoned designer working in Photoshop, I’ve realized the many different uses of great paintbrushes. They’re good for when you need a quick texture or great for when you still need that one individual element. They’re also wonderful when manipulated rather than just used as a stamp fresh out the pack. Brushes are some of the most versatile tools available and extendable in Photoshop.
Some designers like to make everything from scratch, but I believe they are doing themselves a complete disservice. If you don’t have a couple of great brush packs on hand, you’re probably making your design life a bit tougher. Whether you need some grunge textures or some whimsical lines, brushes can help you enhance and better your designs. Today, I am going to share with you some of my favorites available free from brushlovers.com.
25 More Paint Brushes
Apparently this set of brushes is the second installment of a series. My advice is for you to get this set and whatever else you can get from this author. These are very high resolution paint strokes that will help anyone who’s looking to give an artistic feel to their work. I’d also recommend using these brushes with a bunch of different colors, or a monotonous color scheme using wet edges.
Sketchy Arrow Brushes
I saw this set and immediately thought of how cool these would be in website designs. Oftentimes, you’ll want to add a bit of a drawn in feel or you’ll want to point to something on a page, but you’ll want your arrow to have a bit of character. This is a great set for that. Keep in mind, this is not a high resolution set so whatever you do, you’ll definitely want to make sure you feature this on the web.
7 Brushey Brushes
Much like the first idea, this is another set of brushes that feature high resolution paint strokes. What sets this one apart is the thicker strokes as well as the combination of lines. There’s also a bit of a cleaner stroke here than the former. I like this set for more of a tribal, native kind of feel.
Fairy Lights is set of brushes that is exactly what you would expect to see trailing behind fairies. It’s a very decorative yet whimsical set that’s great when you want to create something that’s a lot more visual. This set would go great for those who like creating photo manipulations that feature other-worldly designs.
Ultimate Grunge Set
This grungey pack of brushes isn’t as high resolution as some of the others you’ll find, but what I adore about this pack is it has subtle as well as really harsh grunge textures. If you’re creating something for the web, this pack will be great for creating any type of grunge texture you’re looking to find. To create a really good grunge texture, try using any grunge brush and applying a bit of scatter to the brush settings.
Skin and Cosmetic Brushes
Here’s an example of a very practical use for brushes. Airbrushing is extremely hard to do. On top of that, it’s hard to get every color and every texture blended in just right. This brush pack helps to solve this problem by offerring some very realistic skin-like textures. You can add make up or just fix some skin blemishes. Try airbrushing with a soft-brush first, then putting one of these brushes over it to add that texture.
Spray Paint Splatter Brushes
I find that if you want a good combination of grunge and artistry, splatter brushes are very cool to use. Whether you just want to use these to introduce some different colors or mimic the look of blood, this high quality set is great. What I like best is each of the brushes are featured in three different sizes, great for print and web.
Don’t you just love galaxies? They are a trend that never gets old. Sometimes it’s hard to find that stock picture that’s just perfect for you and what you’re doing. This brush set fixes that problem by giving you the ability to create your own galaxies, complete with stars, clouds and shooting stars!
Much like our previous infatuation with Fairy Lights, Dreamy Fantasies offers a very beautiful approach to brushes. This pack is great for when you want to present a dreamy, reminiscent feel to your work. This pack is definitely appropriate for the web and makes great effects on darker backgrounds.
When it’s time to make something exciting, youthful and entertaining, this is the pack you should use. These extremely high resolution brushes are halftones that have been skewed and turned all around to add some fun depth. If you’ve got a fun party flyer coming up, try using this pack with lots of different and bright colors.
Hair Brushes 1
Have you ever attempted to cut out a woman but you just couldn’t find your way around her hair? It’s a very tough thing to do, and it’s even harder to make it look realistic. This hair brush has several different pieces to add very realistic hair to your models. What I even like about this set is it has strands with different opacity which helps create highlights. This is very neat and great for print design as well.
While they’re going for more of a grunge look, I actually like this more as an artistic set. You’ve got a couple of great brushes here that help create texture. But you also have brushes that look a lot like shading for drawings. This is actually a wonderful set of brushes to experiment with.
This is probably the most straight forward brush pack you’ll see on this list. There are 3 brushes here that are crumpled paper. It’s high resolution and it’s just plain great.
I used to make these lines a lot many years ago. They were part of an ever-growing trend. Every so often, you have to go into your bag and pull something out that will make people will remember. Not to mention this type of technique has a very good place in futuristic types of design.
Subtle Grunge Photoshop Brush Set 2
Quite frankly, you can never have too many grunge and texture centric brush packs. Though this one claims to be a subtle grunge pack, there are some very bold grunge brushes here as well. The subtle pieces are great and a joy to mess around with when creating textures. Try creating grunge textures in various color, not just black and white.
Simply Lovely Brushes
I like these brushes because they can add a little bit of ‘umph’ to a plain background. Try using this on a darker background, but choosing a color that’s lighter to go on top of it. Makes for something that’s simply lovely indeed!
Ink splatters are typically a straight forward type of thing. What I enjoy about this brush pack is these squirts of ink have little pieces of depth visible in their opacity. These two high resolution brushes can add a really artistic and fun look to a design.
This is a pretty clever pack of brushes. The author took some straight lines and warped them around. Fortunately, they saved each different manipulation and created a pack of brushes. Again, this is another very simple set that’s great for backgrounds and little details. You can also manipulate your own brush.
Colored Pencil Brushes
I was actually very surprised to see brushes like this. When we’re talking about artsy brushes, it’s typically some form of realistic brushes. It was nice to see colored pencils because they are a joy to work with. Most of these are just scribbles and shading, but would make a great texture as well.
Abstract Symmetrical Brushes
These symmetrical brushes have a bit of a regal feel to them; very reminiscent of the damask patterns we saw a few years ago. And again, I love going back a little! These would go great for those emblems in typographic pieces as well as patterns you can create yourself.
If we’re talking about one of my favorite packs of brushes, then this is it. I absolutely love this pack because, I mean, who doesn’t like clouds. You can make your own skys or add clouds into different abstract designs. There’s also a good blend of higher and lower res brushes in this pack. This is definitely a must-have.
Once you get your brushes and figure out where you want to use them, I have to recommend you learn how to use them. The paintbrush settings tab is probably one of the most highly underrated tools in helping increase the creativity seen in your designs. It can be as busy as creating a scatter brush technique or it can be as simple as using two brushes at once. Either way, enjoy using these brushes and get to producing even better work.
What are some of your favorite brushes to use? What are your favorite ways to manipulate them? Let us know in the comments.