The Adobe Brushes Primer: An Overview on How to Use Photoshop Brushes for Drawing!

Unsure of what Adobe brushes are needed for drawing? There's nothing to worry about, though. In reality, the majority of all drawings can broken down to a few selected brushes. This guide will focus on four main classification of brushes that are most useful.

There really isn't any need to over complicate it. In the years I've spent drawing using Photoshop, there were only a handful of times where I needed to get specific texture brushes. Even then, the overall effect of using these extra brushes were negligible.

In order, there are the default soft round brushes, hard chalk brushes, scattered type brushes, and object texture brushes. Paired with the right brush settings, there are unlimited number of possibilities for drawing the right textures.

Since these brushes are preloaded into Photoshop, drawing right out of the box is as easy as ever. As long as the drawing tablet can pick up pressure sensitivity, anyone can take advantage of these digital painting brushes to create wonderful drawings.

Adobe brushes: Soft round textures

The first category of Adobe brushes is the round soft brushes. Though tempting, this brush should not be used to start a drawing (pre-production). Instead, the round brush is used mostly for production and post-production when the drawing is nearly done.

Why? It is because the round brush is used to smooth out existing colors. For example, this brush is excellent for smoothening out skin tone like the cheeks and forehead. It is also excellent for introducing fill light. As for the brush settings itself, there are two particular settings that are most used.

Adobe brushes step 1 from

For the first setting, attach it to the pressure sensitivity options. It is listed under the 'transfer' box. This will control the color properly based on how hard the pen is pushed down on the drawing tablet. The second setting is changing the size of the brush under the 'shape dynamics' option.

I toggle between these properties often. I can even assign multiple properties. For instance, I can assign pen pressure to the tilt behavior. Another option is to assign it to keyboard shortcuts to free up more options on the pen tablet for other uses.

Adobe brushes: hard chalk brushes

Chalk brushes are used the majority of the time and comes in a variety of sizes. Some are large squares while others can be thing rectangles. Not only can it create outlines, it can also block in different shapes to create depth.

What makes these brushes special is that the actual brush shape is tilted at an angle. Combined with uneven edges, there are a lot of varieties of brush strokes that can be achieved. Just like the round brush, set the pressure sensitivity settings properly.

Adobe brushes step 2 from

In terms of drawing and painting, use a small chalk brush to create the subject's gesture drawing after a general background color is filled in. Then, switch to a larger chalk brush to fill in all the shading required. After that, switch between various sizes of chalk brushes to block in the details.

In addition, combine this particular type of brush head with other tools like the smudge and eraser tools to get extra textures not possible with the soft round brushes. For example, combining it with the smudge brush can help with drawing wispy clouds.

Adobe brushes: scattering textures

Typically speaking, splatter brushes are fairly situational. Depending on the subject or composition, it might not be used at all. However, when drawing people and animals, this brush is a time saver for fur and hair.

Depending on the drawing program, splatter brushes can be a brush on its own or it can be a setting that needs to be turned on. Photoshop has both these options available in that there are built in splatter brushes already but can also change any brush head type into a splatter brush.

Adobe brushes step 3 from

Specifically, there's a setting called 'scattering,' which spreads the brush into many random directions depending on the amount of pressure being applied. This option can also be combined with existing brush options like 'shape dynamics' to scatter the texture in various spread sizes.

It is also even possible to set a fixed or random angle to the scatter brushes! Other than that, these digital painting brushes are straightforward to use and can come very handy when creating fancy textures or simulating the randomness of nature.

Adobe brushes: object textures

Normally, the concepts learned up to this point are more than enough to draw almost anything from start to finish. However, this last category is still helpful for those times when a specific shape is required to speed up the process of drawing. Rather than draw it out, use object brushes.

Just as it sounds, object brushes have designs that look like everyday objects we recognizes. There are leave objects, fruit objects, star objects, vehicle objects, etc. The list goes on and on! There is even a choice to create any custom object brushes as needed.

The most common ones that artists use are the nature brushes that simulate grass, leaves, and other natural patterns. While foliage can be simulated by scattering any chalk brush, these particular brushes are useful when painting objects up close to show added details.

Adobe brushes step 4 from

At the same time, additional drawings can be made using the object brushes. This is done through changing a few settings like the gaps in between each stroke. Doing so can create a nicely decorated organic whip, tail, scale textures, swarms of insects, etc.

Just knowing that this is possible can save a lot of time when trying to get an idea across rather than drawing every single textured detail. At the end of the day, it's all about what the composition demands. Heck, object brushes may not even be used at all.

I hope this little introduction to the common digital painting brushes is enough to get the ball rolling. Again, don't over think it. Everything else comes with experience and practice using these four categories of brushes to draw anything.

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