101: Digital Brush Basics

by Pattie Knox

Digital brushes are the digital equivalent of an inked rubber stamp—but with added flexibility. Available in every shape and style imaginable, the creative possibilities are endless with brushes once you’ve mastered the basics of loading and applying them. Let’s give it a whirl!

happy talent by Pattie Knox materials template from “Tough Stuff ” set, paper from “Mailroom No. 1” pack, digital brush from “Countdown Brushes –n- Stamps” set by Katie Pertiet; digital brush from “Play Word Art” set by Anna Aspnes; brad from “Brad Bonanza” set by Pattie Knox (Designer Digitals) + Jeanna font + Photoshop (Adobe)

How to load and apply digital brushes:
1 Select the Brush tool from the Toolbox.
2 In the Options bar, click the arrow next to the brush sample to display the pop-up palette.
3 In the pop-up palette, click the double arrows on the right.

4 From the drop-down menu, select Load Brushes.
5 Navigate to the directory containing the brush .abr file, select the file and click Load.

6 Double click the brush of choice to load it.
7 Set the foreground color to the color of choice.
8 In the Layers palette, create a new blank layer above all other layers. (For flexibility in editing, always apply your brushwork to a new blank layer.)
9 To easily resize the brush, press the ( or ) keys to increase or decrease the brush diameter.


10 Position the brush and click the left mouse button once to “stamp” the design. Photoshop brushes are limited to a maximum size of 2500 pixels, however you can enlarge the stamped design (as shown on the sample layout.)

11 Select the brush layer in the Layers palette.
12 From the Image menu, point to Transform, choose Free Transform. Drag one of the corner bounding boxes to resize.

Now you’ve mastered basic brushwork! Look for the next installment of 101 where we’ll explore some exciting options for utilizing digital brushes in your projects. Until then … have fun experimenting with your newfound skill!

Visit Pattie's blog: Postcards from the Edge

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