Create a basic set of brushes for drawing in Photoshop

Tool Brush (Brush Tool) – the most popular tool among digital artists, but it is also one of the most complex. When you first start working, you have the same feeling that you need for each effect you want to create, your own separate brush. The set of brushes that is included in Photoshop by default does not seem particularly suitable for such purposes, but professional artists often share their work, so you can always download something more powerful and suitable for your work.

The problem is that the harder a selected brush is, the harder it will be to use it in the right way. And if you have ever watched the work of professionals in this field, then you have seen that most of the time they use either a simple round or slightly textured brush. They could use a simple set of brushes “by default”, and they would still create an excellent job with it. But why is it beyond your power?

In fact, using Photoshop is not just clicking on some buttons and waiting for the program to do something for us. You can not just take a brush, try to portray something with it, and if something did not work out, then start choosing another brush. And the point here is not at all in the hands, but in the person who uses them!

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a basic set of brushes. It will be a little less than what is out of the box with the program, and most certainly it will not confuse you. I will also show you how to use these brushes in the process of creating a detailed image. Thus, you will understand how to create freely, without constantly resorting to the search for all new brushes.

1. Create a Texture Brush to create thumbnails.

Before we begin, open the brushes menu (where you select your sets) and click Restore (reset) brushes (Reset Brushes). Oh, and do not forget to save your current set before reset!

Step 1

Create a new document. Take the tool Polygon (Polygon Tool) and install number of sides (Sides) 3. Now draw a black triangle.

Step 2

Create a new layer. Draw a rectangle with the tool. Rectangle (Rectangle Tool (U)) in mode Pixels (Pixel).

Step 3

Now go to Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Select distribution (distribution) by Gauss (gaussian) and unscrew the slider to the maximum.

Step 4

Now trim our “noise” rectangle to the triangle shape. This is done by applying Clipping mask (Clipping mask) Ctrl-Alt-G.

Step 5

Resize the “noise” layer with the tool Free transform (Free Transform Tool (Ctrl-T)), this will make the white areas more explicit.

Step 6

Now go to Editing – Define a brush (Edit – Define Brush Preset). We use this our figure as one of the components of a more complex brush, so do not worry about its name.

Go to Brush Settings (Brush Settings (F5)). Choose a brush a piece of chalk (Chalk) from the list of default brushes. We set its size to 30.

Step 7

Select items Broadcast (Transfer) Noise (Noise) and Smoothing (Smoothing).

Step 8

Select Double brush (Dual Brush). Find our triangle in the list and select it. Next, set the settings according to the image below.

Save the brush by clicking on the icon as a white card at the bottom of the brush settings dialog box. Name the brush Texture Sketch.

This is my favorite brush, it is very versatile. It is both chaotic and fairly accurate. You can use it at the first stage of drawing a sketch to make a sketch of your idea, even before you realize what you want to draw. Starting a picture with a free draft is the best way to create something from nothing, without planning, it allows you to make the final result more natural and organic.

2. Creating a brush for detailed sketches

Select Hard Round Brush (Hard Round brush). Change it The size (Size) and Intervals (Spacing) and tick the checkbox Broadcast (Transfer).

That’s all! Save this brush as Sketch Detail and try painting something with it.

This brush is ideal when used as a pencil. The less confident you are, the more transparent your lines will be, and this means that any shortcomings and mistakes will be easily corrected. With this brush you feel comfortable and natural, and it is great for creating detailed sketches.

3. Creating a brush for large figures and lighting

Step 1

Create a new document, take the tool Polygon (Polygon Tool) with number of parties (sides) 6 and draw a hexagon. Next, go to Editing – Define a brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset)

Step 2

Go to Brush Settings (Brush Settings) and set the value Interval (Spacing) 1%. Use large The size (Size) brush.

Step 3

Check the checkbox Broadcast (Transfer). Set the value Opacity (Opacity) depending on Pen pressure (Pen Pressure).

Save the brush by calling it Block.

This is a big bulky brush, and with its help it is impossible to draw individual small details. This is exactly what we need! This brush is great for drawing large shapes or for creating areas with light and shadow. It is quite difficult, but at the same time, it allows to achieve the effect of light mixing.

Useful advice on mixing:

Most of the brush sets include the so-called “mixing brushes”. They are usually used to hide the borders between colors and their shades (that is, to create smooth transitions in color). However, it is very important to understand that when mixing, the most important thing is the details! If you shade your creation and then blend the shading with something soft, then your surface will automatically become as smooth as plastic. When drawing objects with a non-smooth surface, do not attempt to blend with a large brush. Instead, use texture brush (Texture Sketch) to draw large details by selecting colors / shades on both sides of each border.

Yes, and do not worry if this stage takes you a long time. It’s quite normal!

4. Create a brush for drawing inks, sharp parts, and clipping masks.

Step 1

Once again we choose Round hard brush (Hard Round brush). Make it a little smaller and smoother.

Step 2

Check the checkbox Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics) and make Size depend on Pen pressure (Pen Pressure).

Save this brush as Ink.

The purpose of this brush is quite obvious. With it, you can draw clean artistic lines, or outline a hard contour without any translucent spots. In this lesson, such a brush was used to erase the area outside the bird’s image, by painting with the brush Masked layer (Layer Mask). This brush is irreplaceable when you are absolutely sure that you are painting, and do not want any surprises or even creative mistakes.

5. Creating a brush for coloring and masking.

Step 1

Select Soft Round Brush (Soft round brush). Make it big enough and make sure that Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics) you have turned off.

Step 2

Select an option Broadcast (Transfer). In this section, activate only Pressure swing (Flow jitter).

Save this brush, calling it Soft.

This brush is present in almost every set, but in reality, it is not as useful as novice artists think about it. You can use it to blend into the layer mask by selecting quick mask mode (Quick Mask Mode (Q)), as well as coloring.

In my case, I used a copy of the base to create Clipping mask (Clipping Mask) for flowers, set Blend mode (Blend Mode) for a layer with grayscale Multiplication (Multiply) and drew the colors below. This made it possible to achieve beautiful gradient transitions between tones. If you want to paint any part separately, select it with the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L)) or by creating a mask. This will give you a more natural effect than when painting with a tougher brush.

Useful coloring advice:

You can easily change the colors of light and shadow with Overlay Parameters (Blending Options), without manually selecting these areas. Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the layer in grayscale twice and place these two copies on top of it. Press Ctrl + B to make the first one yellow, then double click on it, and make the dark areas transparent by setting the slider in the dialog box Mix if (Blend If). Then change Blend mode (Blend Mode) on Soft light (Soft Light). To move only half the marker on the slider, hold the Alt key.

Do the same with the other copy, this time around the shadow. Make it blue, hide bright areas, and set Blend mode (Blend Mode) on Color tone (Hue).

6. Creating a brush for detail

It will be easy – we just create a modification of our Texture Sketch brush, which we created at the very beginning. Select it, and then turn on the option. Pen pressure (Pen Pressure) in the section Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics), this will make the brush resizable.

Save this brush by naming Rendering.

This brush seems small, but in fact it doesn’t matter what size you choose for it. So you just have to paint small parts instead of covering large areas of the image. Use this brush on a separate layer. Choose colors from the lighted area, make them brighter and draw the details. Do not paint the details in the shadow!

Next, create a new layer, again select the colors and make them brighter, but this time draw on the opposite side. Leave a dark area between the main light and the secondary. Press Ctrl-B to make these details blue, and lower opacity (Opacity) for this layer.

Additional helpful tips

When all the main work has already been done, you can find additional use for your brushes. For example, you can create a radiant outline with an Ink brush …

… as well as the glow below the bird using a Soft brush to better highlight our creation.

7. Make your basic brush set more accessible.

Step 1

You will need to use these brushes the most. You may have hundreds more, but you will use them only occasionally. That is why our set should be more accessible, and it should be easy to find.

To keep all these basic brushes within reach, you can save them as Tool parameter sets (Tool Presets). Open this palette through Window – Parameter Sets for Tools (Window> Tool Presets). Then delete the ones that were there by default.

Step 2

Select a brush from the palette and click on the icon in the form of a white card. Give the set a name and click OK.

Step 3

Do the same with each brush you would like to have quick access to. Now, even if you load a different set of brushes, your homemade brushes will still be with you! Finally, you can store your specialized brushes in separate sets, if necessary, loading only the one you need at a given time, without losing the main ones.

Well, great job, you all did!

Now you have a basic set of brushes that you really know how to apply! Of course, this does not mean that you can not use anything else besides them, but still I advise you to stick to them during the training stage. In this case, less is more!

Believe me, most professional artists have this basic set of brushes, usually from 3 to 10, which they use 90% of the total working time, and these sets are about the same! No need to get stuck in trying to constantly look for the perfect set of brushes for you, just learn how to have one that you already have. Give a chance to this set. Practice, have fun and feel free to modify your brushes to match your style.

Posted by: Monika Zagrobelna

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