Photoshop is a good tool for digital painting, whether you’re creating something from scratch or modifying an existing image. Even a solid-color background can be dramatically enlivened with light streaks, halftones, smudges, or textures. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination… and by the time you have to create complex effects. I can’t help you with the former, but the resources in this article will cut your effects creation time significantly.
You can use these 105 Photoshop brush sets — 1,845 individual brushes — to achieve artistic effects. All of the brushes are free for personal and commercial projects, and you can use them with Photoshop CS3 through CS5. I divided them into seven categories so they’re easier to browse, and I even threw in several brushes designed specifically for use with products from Wacom and other tablet manufacturers.
How to Install Photoshop Brush Sets
Follow these instructions to use the below brush sets:
1. If the download file is a Zip format, extract the .ABR file from the Zip archive.
2. Move the .ABR file to a permanent location on your computer. This could be into the Photoshop Brushes folder (full paths below) or a central location you create for Photoshop brushes. To place it in Photoshop’s existing brush folder, move or copy the .ABR file:
Windows: C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CSxPresetsBrushes
Mac OSX: Applications/Adobe Photoshop CSx/Presets/Brushes/
3. Open Photoshop and select the Brush tool.
4. On the Options bar, click the down arrow beside the brush shape preview. This will pop open the controls for brushes.
5. From the brush control popup, click the right-facing arrow in the top right corner and select Load Brushes.
6. When the Load Brushes dialog appears, navigate to the location where you placed the .ABR file and then open that file.
7. Photoshop will ask whether you’d like to replace the brushes already in the brush palette or append to them, adding the new brush set to the end of the list of brushes. Typically you’ll want to append.
8. Start brushing!
Natural Media: Watercolor
Watercolour Stroke (4 brushes)
Natural Media: Spray Paint
Spray Paint (20 brushes)
Natural Media: Other
Rolled Paint Set 2 (10 brushes)
Fractal (6 brushes)
Go to page 2 for MANY more Photoshop brushes!