Updated for 2021! 42 custom Photoshop brushes that I made to support my digital painting workflow, which involves applying and blending a variety of flat, angular textures and patterns. Includes three full-length demo videos (no audio) and layered PSDs of virtual plein air studies that I've done using these brushes.
Note: Brushes can be very useful and time-saving tools, but they aren't shortcuts! I'd consider these intermediate-to-advanced, as far as the painting skill and Photoshop comfort-level I think would be helpful to really get the most out of them. I've included the demo videos and brush usage notes below to help communicate my workflow and how I think about mark-making with these tools. Ultimately, I think you'll get the best results if you have solid foundational skills and are interested in applying a more textured and graphic approach to your work.
MM Micron — It’s not exactly like a micron pen, but I do like to use this for sketching and for thin solid lines with a bit of texture on them.
MM Marker — if you took a marker but made it super textured like a dry brush. I use this for creating energetic lines and applying rough areas of paint in sketches.
MM Flat Fixed — This is my go-to brush for blocking in shapes. Some paintings I’ve done almost entirely with just this brush, it’s flat with just a bit of texture. You can also use it as an eraser to carve things out using the sides of it, or as a smudge tool to push paint around into new shapes.
MM Flat Taper — A tapered version of the flat brush, good for painting shapes that need more nuance or to have less of a flat-top look, like mountains.
MM Messy Fixed — A more messier, imperfect version of the flat brush with some color dynamics too. Great for blocking in noisier parts of a painting where you don’t want the color and texture to be to neat or even. Like an undercoat for messy grass areas. Increase the size of the brush as things get closer to camera for a quick way to indicate perspective.
MM Messy Taper — A tapered version of the above.
MM Vert Fixed — Like the flat brush but for painting more vertical structures, trees, etc. Great for blocking in distant buildings.
MM Vert Taper — A more organic version of the above, works well for distant trees.
MM Rake Flat — For that parallel rake texture look, with just a bit of texture and falloff. I love using this to suggest distant details or surface texture. I use it as a smudge tool a lot too.
MM Rake Follow — The rake brush but it follows the direction of your stylus.
MM Smudge Rough — Love this for blending shapes and edges through a lot of texture.
MM Smudge Soft — Great for softening and blending things more smoothly with just a bit of texture and imperfection.
MM Fuzzy Soft — For painting soft shapes and gradients with a bit of soft texture.
MM Fuzzy Crisp — Soft marks with a crisper texture effect.
MM Atmosphere — This is great for fog, clouds, dust, anything atmospheric. Try varying brush pressure and use in combination with softer and harder edged brushes to form shapes. Interesting results as a smudge tool too.
MM Speckles — Great utility brush for a variety of speckle effects / highlights.
MM Scribbles — I use this to build up noise and energy in an area, especially as a base-layer of complexity for foliage areas.
MM Flecks — Small bits of plants, or highlights (like specular across an area of grass or foliage.)
MM Rough — I use this to add texture, paint lightly for a slow build-up to create textured gradients.
MM Streaks — Parallel streaks of rough paint, useful for anything from grass strands to messy rock face texturing.
MM Foliage — A texture that can quickly indicate leaves and vegetation. Also useful to build up rough/rocky surface textures.
MM Tris — A slightly messy and irregular triangular scatter brush. Great for energetic polygonal notes, particularly more stylized foliage or even small rocks.
MM Flat Tris — Squished triangular shapes, often useful for foliage patterns.
MM Rocky Follow — Applies an abstract, rectangular texture that follows your brush direction. One of my favorites, I love using this to create rocky visual interest. (Great for the Smudge tool too!) Good for painting sides of rock formations where there’s a clear directional flow to the shapes.
MM Rocky Flat — Like Rocky Follow, but the pattern is always applied straight across.
MM Angles — An abstract geometric scatter brush. Fun to experiment with, can use as a starting point for distant rocky areas or anything you want a lot of angles in.
MM Circles — Scatter circles, good for distant bushes or deciduous trees.
MM Cracks — For shadow cracks in the hills, highlight ridges, water ripples, and more.
MM Mounds — Mounds of dirt, hills, distant plateaus, etc. Pen-pressure determines how flat or tall the shapes are (harder = taller).
MM Ovals — Scatter horizontal oval shapes with some texture. Pen Pressure determines how flattened the ovals get.
MM Scatter — Apply chaotic shapes, or rough-up edges with the Smudge tool.
MM Pines — Scatter triangular pine-tree shapes. Pressure determines height (Harder = taller).
MM Grass — Great for clumps of thick wild grass. Sometimes non-grass things too.
MM Flowers — Atylized triangle flowers. Sprinkle these on top of grass in a bright color for flower accents. These are going to appear perpendicular to the direction of your brushstrokes, so that you can brush across the page horizontally and still have them oriented the right way.
MM Shrubs Radial — spin this around in a tight counter-clockwise circle to paint bushes. Or paint straight across for an interesting take on grass or ground cover.
MM Branchmess — Geometric branches with texture. Try varying pressure and direction to create messy brambles, or brush up-and-out from a tree to quickly suggest branches (requires some curation & integration afterward to really sell the look.)
MM Tree Tops — For when you need to paint just the tops of bushes, mounds of grass, or distant deciduous trees (for example just painting the light hitting the tops.) Pressure determines roundness (Harder = rounder.)
MM Tall Grass — Tall Timothy grass blowing in the wind. Usually try to break this up a bit, or it can end up feeling very “I used a custom brush for this.”
MM Spikey Radial — this can be used in a tight circle for spiky shapes (like Yucca), or painted straight across for stark, triangular grass. Also creates interesting results as a smudge tool!
MM Chain Y — for dead plants and vine-y, crawler-y things.
MM Chain Leaves — symmetric geometric leaves and stem that will follow your stroke.
MM Chain Leaves II — same as above, but rounder & more compact leaves.
Updated the demo video files to .mp4 files - same quality, much smaller download, and they should now work on older installations of Windows 10.