Free Photoshop brushes
Photoshop brushes are a fantastic time-saver as they enable you to quickly create rich artwork without having to draw all the individual design elements.
So where to start? There's a huge spectrum of brushes available, ranging from leaf designs to fabric textures, and cloud patterns to glass shatters. And while Photoshop CC does ship with a set of brushes pre-installed, they only scratch the surface of what's possible with the brush engine.
We've split our collection into four categories: painterly brushes (for when you want to mimic a traditional art effect), natural brushes (everything from trees and grass to smoke, fire, and skin effects), grunge brushes (for when you want a distressed or aged effect) and finally fantasy and comic brushes (including halftone brushes and sparkle effects). Use the drop-down menu and quick links above to jump to the section you need.
Whether you're using an older version of Photoshop or have joined Creative Cloud, grab the free Photoshop brush downloads below and start adding amazing design flourishes to your work.
Photoshop brushes for painting
- Designer: RetroSupply
- Usage: Free for commercial and personal use
Normally you’d have to pay for RetroSupply’s fantastic Woodland Wonderland pack of natural media-inspired Photoshop brushes. However, we’ve spotted a link to a free sampler pack – which will give you a free gouache Photoshop brush from the Woodland Wonderland pack in exchange for your email address – plus a number of other free Photoshop brushes too. Bargain.
- Designer: Creative Nerds
- Usage: Free for commercial and personal use
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 as always you're permitted to redistribute them.
Aaron Griffin is a self-taught illustrator and concept artist known especially for his figure paintings (his work even graced the cover of the Anatomy special of our very own ImagineFX magazine). He's generously offering up the Photoshop brushes he uses to create his digital paintings free of charge.
These 24 very hi-res brushes will provide a real-media feel to your design work. Some brushes look like paint tin marks, while others are thicker, providing lots of options within the pack.
A set of 12 excellent brushes from Chris Spooner. These high-resolution dry brushes are fantastically detailed, bristly and texture-rich.
Artist Kirk Wallace created these brushes at home using ink and paper, and offers them to all for free. Perfect for rough, harsh textures, Wallace uses them in his own fruit prints.
Add realistic dribbles of paint to your digital designs with these free Photoshop brushes. They're the work of DeviantArt user LilithDemoness and there are 14 in the set to choose from.
Limitations: Free for commercial use
Creative Nerds is offering this spray paint effect Photoshop brush set completely free. The pack includes four high-res brushes (2500px each). Use them to add a distressed effect to your paintings.
Restrictions: No redistribution.
Concept artist Darek Zabrocki 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 generously offering the set of Photoshop brushes he uses for his speedpaintings, free to download.
Watercolour Photoshop brushes
If you're looking to create a soft, hazy aesthetic in your work, try this free 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.
This large-scale Photoshop brush is handy for creating a watercolour spray effect in your digital artwork. The creator has achieved an impressively authentic effect.
Restrictions: No redistribution
If you're going for a watercolour feel in your work then these shapes and splatters will help you get the look just right; just don't overdo them.
Limitations: free for personal use; contact for commercial use
These watercolour splatters were created with the help of professional-quality watercolour paint on cold press watercolour paper. There are 32 high-res bushes in the pack, and you can download the lot for free and use them without attribution in your work.
Pen, ink, charcoal and pencil Photoshop brushes
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 Jon Neimeister.
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 brushes.
Perfect for fashion illustrations, industrial design and storyboarding, this set of 12 free 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, Janßen sells a set of 300 marker brushes for just $9.
Next page: Natural brushes