Arghh I really hope that’s not what anyone actually thinks… I get the “BRUSHES??” question almost every single day without fail, but the reason I have a hard time answering isn’t because I’m trying to ~protect my secrets~ or anything. (That’s totally silly, especially as I believe that the idea that specific brushes would make your art any better is… highly questionable at best.) It’s because the brushes I use aren’t mine to redistribute. As in, aside from fiddling with program defaults I hardly ever make my own brushes - I trawl the internet for free (or if warranted, paid) Photoshop brushes that other hardworking creatives make available. I cycle through many brush sets, delete the ones I don’t like, and what I end up keeping comprises my current “brush set.”
This presents a couple of problems in terms of sharing. I would feel bad about uploading my brushes because they aren’t “my” brushes. I didn’t make them. It’s like that unspoken rule amongst online stock artists - free to use in your art, but don’t claim as your own. You’ll say I could just credit, which I’d love to do, but the thing is I’ve tested so many brushes and combined so many sets that I don’t remember who made what anymore. I didn’t have any reason to keep track. And even then, not sure the original makers would appreciate me redistributing.
OH MY GOD sorry for the longest and ultimately most unhelpful post ever. To make up for it here’s some information and a list of great free brush sets that I may not necessarily use anymore, but I know I downloaded at some point (keep in mind I use Adobe Photoshop and all info following pertains to that program only):
FIRST. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. I actually use Tool Presets, NOT Brush Presets. For those who don’t know, a tool preset saves information for a brush such as color, opacity and flow, so you don’t have to adjust it each time you switch. You should definitely learn to use and save your brushes as Tool Presets because they speed up productivity and are pretty much better in every way.
- so, these already come as tool presets (.TPL), not brushes (.ABR), they’re equally easy to install and I can vouch that both sets are amazing.
DITLEV’s Digital Watercolor
- I’m pretty sure these brushes are huge and therefore sort of lag on my computer, but they do have a wonderful watercolor-ish effect. I use these sometimes for color blocking.
- A very famous free brush set, probably the first result on deviantART, for good reason. One of the first I ever downloaded, I still use some of these, it’s an amazing set for digital painters. Highly recommended for beginners.
- Another highly recommended set for beginners. Simple, basic, very useful.
Okay… tl;dr but hope that helped in the end! And like I said - the best “brush advice” I can give is to be proactive. If you’re feeling sick of your current set, wipe it and really spend some time testing out new brushes. DELETE the brushes you know you’ll never use (not only do the suck up your computer’s resources since you have to wait for all that shit to load, they are distracting.) Keep yo’ shit ORGANIZED. And most importantly - don’t FIXATE on the idea that only “good brushes will make my art good.” That’s total bull. Brushes are ultimately tools for your art, they are useful but they won’t make up for actual artistic understanding. A great watercolor painting is great because the artist painted it well - you don’t look at it and go “oh, it must be because they used Winsor & Newton watercolors.” Many digital painters create incredible things with the defaults. In the end it’s up to you to push your resources to the limit!
YOU CAN DO IT