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All the best free Photoshop brushes

Photoshop brushes: tie-dyed photoshop brush pack
(Image credit: Diego Sanchez)

The vast number of Photoshop brushes on available on the internet will save you mountains of time, helping to enhance your own unique work with an extra pop of creativity. Since the brushes are designed by others, you don't need to go through the process of creating design elements from scratch – you simply select the Photoshop brush you want, and start creating.

For those just starting out, searching for that perfect brush may feel like a huge task as there's an overwhelming spectrum available. You'll find brushes that mimic traditional mediums such as pen and pencil, as well as those at the other end of the scale, like experimental grunge. There are also brushes available that'll help you achieve cloud and sun, or even lightning effects, as well as enabling you to recreate fur and grass. 

Photoshop does ship with a set of brushes pre-installed, but they are only a taster of what's actually possible when using the brush engine. To make things a bit clearer, we've split our selection into four categories to help you find the perfect Photoshop brush: 

Whether you're using an older version of Photoshop or have recently joined Creative Cloud, you can grab the free Photoshop brush downloads below and start creating stunning design flourishes in your artwork. Please note that you need to double check the licence terms of any brush you are downloading and using.

Need some help getting started? You'll find lots of handy advice in our list of top Photoshop tutorials. If you're not sure that Photoshop is for you, see our list of the best Photoshop alternatives.

Free Photoshop brushes for painting

01. Photoshop and GIMP brushes

Photoshop brushes

Get a range of textures with this freebie (Image credit: Obsidian Dawn)
  • Designer: Obsidian Dawn
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use but see terms
  • Download here

These Photoshop brushes are actually textures, meaning you can create some interesting effects that are...well... textured. They're great for backgrounds and for experimentation in general. Check the terms for all uses as you need to credit the artist. But if you cannot provide credit, then a commercial license is only $3. 

02. Abstract paintbrushes

Photoshop brushes: Abstract brushes

Have fun with this messy brush set (Image credit: Darrian Lynx)
  • Designer: Darrian Lynx
  • Usage: Free for non-commercial use
  • Download here

There are a range of options to explore in this abstract paintbrush set. It is totally free for non-commercial use and perfect for creating a bright, messy, modern paint effect. 

03. Wavenwater Photoshop brushes

Photoshop brushes: Wavenwater

This set features lots of options 
  • Designer: Michael Guimont
  • Usage: Free for personal use (contact artist for commercial licence)
  • Download here

This comprehensive set of Wavenwater Photoshop brushes comes from freelance concept artist and illustrator Michael Guimont. We haven't counted exactly how many brushes are included in this set, but there are lots of options to add serious flair to your artwork. 

04. Sakimichan

Photoshop brushes: Sakimichan

These brushes work best at 70-100 percent opacity
  • Designer: Sakimichan
  • Usage: Free for commercial and personal use
  • Download here

Deviant Art member sakimichan has made 56 of her favourite custom Photoshop brushes for painting available to download for free in this big bundle. She recommends painting at 70-100 percent opacity with the pressure option on, and says that the brushes are already set up for this. 

05. Photoshop paintbrushes

Photoshop brushes: paint

Griffin is a pro illustrator and concept artist offering up the brushes he uses, for free
  • Designer: Aaron Griffin
  • Usage: Free for commercial and personal use
  • Download here

Aaron Griffin is a self-taught illustrator and concept artist known especially for his figure paintings (his work even graced the cover of our sister magazine ImagineFX). He's generously offering up the Photoshop brushes he uses to create his digital paintings, free of charge. 

06. Thick acrylic paint strokes

Photoshop brushes: Thick acrylic paint strokes

Quickly add authentic paint strokes to your work
  • Designer: Creative Nerds
  • Usage: Free for commercial and personal use
  • Download here

The second instalment of a popular set of free Photoshop brushes from Creative Nerds, Thick Acrylic Paint Strokes volume 2 lets you quickly add an authentic paint effect to your illustrations. The brushes are free for both personal and commercial work – but you're not permitted to redistribute or modify them for resale.

07. Dry brush strokes for Photoshop

Photoshop brushes: Dry brush strokes

These brushes are amazingly detailed
  • Designer: Chris Spooner
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Dry Brush Strokes are a set of 12 excellent free Photoshop brushes from Chris Spooner. These high-resolution dry brushes are fantastically detailed, bristly and texture-rich. Featuring wispy lines and detailed edges, they're perfect for roughing up your artwork or distressing your edges.

08. Dry brushes

Photoshop brushes: dry brushes

The dry brushes are dynamic
  • Artist: Kirk Wallace
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Artist Kirk Wallace created these Dry Brush Photoshop brushes at home using ink and paper, and offers them to you for free. Perfect for creating rough, harsh textures, they're also dynamic – you can click and drag to span larger areas without getting an ugly repeat effect, or you can paint with them.

09. Spray paint

Photoshop brushes: spray paint

These brushes can add a distressed, street art look to your designs
  • Designer: Creative Nerds
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Creative Nerds is offering this spray paint effect Photoshop brush set completely free (you just need to subscribe – also free). The pack includes four high-res brushes (2500px each). Use them to add a distressed effect to your paintings.

10. Speedpainting set

Photoshop brushes: speedpainting

Give the illusion of speedpainting with these free brushes
  • Artist: Darek Zabrocki
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Concept artist Darek Zabrocki created this speed painting set of brushes. The artist has worked for some of the biggest projects and companies in the fantasy art world, including Assassin's Creed, Magic: The Gathering and Halo Wars 2. He's offering the set of Photoshop brushes he uses for his speed paintings for free download.

Watercolour Photoshop brushes

11. Watercolour brushes #2

photoshop brushes: watercolour

Mimic watercolours with this set (Image credit: Snezhana Switzer)
  • Designer: Snezhana Switzer
  • Usage: Free for personal use 
  • Download here

This extensive pack of watercolour Photoshop brushes is by Snezhana Switzer. It contains 40 Photoshop brushes, perfect for mimicking watercolours. If you like what you see, you can purchase her even bigger pack on Creative Market

12. Furry watercolour Photoshop brush

Photoshop brushes: Furry watercolour brush

Soften things up with this choice of brush
  • Designer: Heygrey
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

If you're looking to create a soft, hazy aesthetic in your work, try this free furry watercolour Photoshop brush from Heygrey. It is described as a 'furry watercolour brush', and the creator suggests using it to create hazy backgrounds. We're especially impressed with the realistic watercolour effect that has been achieved here.

13. Watercolour Photoshop brush: spray

Photoshop brushes: Watercolour paint spray

The creator says this brush was a pleasure to create
  • Designer: Creative Nerds
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

This large-scale watercolour spray Photoshop brush is handy for creating a watercolour spray effect in your digital artwork. The creator has achieved an impressively authentic effect, which you can apply to your own artwork with ease.

14. Watercolour splatter

Photoshop brushes: Watercolour splatters

There are 32 high-res brushes in the pack
  • Designer: pstutorialsws
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

These watercolour splatters were created with the help of professional-quality watercolour paint on cold press watercolour paper. There are 32 high-res Photoshop bushes in the pack – they work with Photoshop 7, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 and CC – and you can download the lot for free.

Pen, ink, charcoal and pencil Photoshop brushes 

15. Illustration brush set

  • Designer: Matt Heath
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

This set of free Photoshop brushes was created by designer Matt Heath using an 8B Staedtler pencil and custom settings giving a natural feel and wide variety of textures. These are available from Heath's Gumroad page – simply enter $0 to get them for free, donations are of course appreciated, and if you want more you can get a huge set of art brushes right here.

16. Ink brushes

Photoshop brushes: Free Ink

Featuring big slabs, thin strokes, ink splotches and everything in between 
  • Designer: Brittney Murphy 
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Introducing designer Brittney Murphy's set of ink Photoshop brushes. Among the impressive 192 brushes included in the set, you'll find big slabs, thin strokes, ink splotches and everything in between. Murphy generously offers these brushes for free, with no attribution necessary, however, she does ask that they're not redistributed.

17. Pencil Photoshop brush

Photoshop brushes: Pencil brush

This brush is one of the most realistic out there
  • Designer: Andantonius
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Create the effect of a soft pencil sketch, but without the grubby hands and smudged paper. This pencil-effect Photoshop brush is one of the most realistic we've seen, and you can download it for free on DeviantArt, courtesy of professional digital artist Andantonius, aka Jon Neimeister.

18. Realistic charcoal Photoshop brush

Photoshop brushes: Realistic charcoal

Avoid the mess but keep the effect with this digital charcoal
  • Designer: WojtekFus
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Charcoal's an essential part of any artist's toolkit, but it's undoubtedly the messiest as well. Get those soft charcoal lines – without getting charcoal all over your hands and everything else – with these excellent charcoal brushes.

19. Real markers

  • Designer: Eilert Janßen
  • Usage: Free for personal and commercial use
  • Download here

Perfect for fashion illustrations, industrial design and storyboarding, this set of 12 free real marker brushes by Eilert Janßen enables you to create lively imagery that looks like it's been sketched out with marker pens. If you like what you see, you can buy more of Janßen's brushes on his website.

Next page: Natural brushes