Photoshop Brushes: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering the Brush Tool

Photo Editing

7 minute read

Every digital artist might have come across the Photoshop brush tool while editing the images. However, not many are aware of the true potential it holds. Thanks to the various online Photoshop resources that offer guides and tutorials to help you to understand the concept and use it at your convenience.

Photoshop brush is one of the powerful tools that can help digital artists to unleash their creativity and bring their thoughts to reality. It can help them to edit, paint, or draw just anything that they can ever imagine. However, to do this, they need to have an in-depth knowledge of using the tool to get the most out of it. Knowing what features can give the desired effect, they can use it in the most effective way to produce the desired output.

This handy guide is a compilation of all the basic rules for mastering the concept and creating your very own design. Here, you will get to know about the Photoshop brushes in detail, its classification, how to install photoshop brushes and use it, basics of brush presets, and the best websites that allow free downloading of the tool.

What is a Photoshop Brush?

The Photoshop Brush is a digital painting tool that was designed for editing the color of the images by drawing lines or shapes. The tool is located in the standard tool bar and allows you to control the application of colors with various features like brush strokes, soft edges, dynamics, blending properties, and more to resemble the traditional painting on a canvas.

Brushes are used for a variety of purposes that includes creating hand-drawn designs, palettes, textures, patterns, and more. It is an easy-to-use tool, and because of its versatile nature, it is used by both beginners and experts alike for adding value to their projects.

How to & Use or install a Photoshop Brush?

Installing it is quite easy and can be done within minutes. However, to make it simpler, we have mentioned the required steps to carry out the installation process.

  1. The first step is to download the set of tools.
  2. Then, select the file and unzip all the contents. A new folder will be created where all the unzipped files will be present.
  3. Identify the desired files. It will usually have the .abr extension.
  4. These files will be located in the Photoshop folder by default. However, you can put it in the desired location.
  5. Open Adobe Photoshop and drag the .abr files into the Photoshop window.
  6. Otherwise, click on the Edit menu, select Presets, and then, the Presets Manager.
  7. Click on the load option to add your desired files.
  8. Or, navigate to the location of your downloaded files and open it.

Once it is loaded, you are ready to use the tool.

Using the Brush Tool Presets

After saving the different tool options in the form of presets, you can access it and choose any preset from your collection to use it for drawing. Check out the steps of using a Photoshop Brush.

  1. Open the Photoshop Window and click on the Brush Panel option.
  2. Select the tool and choose the different options present in the option bar.
  3. Choose the desired Style according to your design requirements.
  4. Once you select the desired brush, the Settings panel will open automatically, allowing you to adjust its size and shape.

Creating new Preset Brushes

Changing the shape, size, and hardness of a preset brush is temporary. However, if you need the changes to be permanent, then you need to create a new preset. It will ensure that you don’t have to change the default setting each time you are using it. Below are the steps mentioned to create a new Preset Brush.

  1. Selecting a preset brush

    • Select the painting or editing tool from Photoshop.
    • From the options bar, click on the Brush pop-up menu and select the brushes.
    • Customize different options for your desired presets. Some of the available options are described below.


      This option is available for round and square brushes for modifying the anti-aliasing effect, i.e., the amount of fuzziness at the edge.


      With diameter, you can temporarily change its size, i.e., giving the diameter a larger value will help you to add large brush strokes.


      It will help you to determine the brush stroke’s thickness or thinness. If you want to reset its original settings, then use the sample size.


      This effect will help you to change the number of strokes in the tool along with its placement, thereby adding the element of randomness.


      By smoothing out the strokes, i.e., eliminating rough edges or blips, you can make your drawings look more proportional and accurate.


      With the Bristle option, you can create naturalistic strokes by adjusting its length, sharpness, thickness, stiffness, softness, and more.


      It will help you to modify the space between each stroke. Here, if you set the value to 100% or more, then you can get a dotted line.


      By using Airbrush, you can get a spray paint kind of effect in your drawings. So, change the pen pressure accordingly to get the desired look.

  2. Organizing your brushes and brush presets

    • Go to the tool panel and click on the folder icon. It will organize your different tools into groups.
    • Give a specific name to the folder and then, click OK.
    • Drag and drop the required brushes or presets into the group.
    • If required, you can also start creating more groups
  3. Importing free or purchased brushes and brush packs

    • Go the tool panel present in the flyout menu and select Get More Brushes.
    • Or, go to the tool panel and right-click the brush option. A contextual menu will open from where you can click on the Get More Brushes option.
    • Locate the already downloaded file or download a new pack.
    • Now, double-click the ABR file and open it. The brushes will be added to the panel.
  4. Saving the customized brush as the new preset brush

    • Customize the tool according to your needs.
    • Go the panel and select New Brush Preset.
    • Specify the desired name for the preset and then, click OK.
    • Click on the Create New Brush button.

Thus, by following the steps, you can easily create a new preset tool. Now, let us move to the best websites from where you can download the Photoshop brushes for free.

Top Websites to download free Photoshop brushes

There is a huge availability of free Photoshop brushes online. However, it might be a little difficult to find the right one. Even though you find the best option for your designs, there is also a high possibility that those tools lack the desired quality to produce stunning outcomes.

Hence, to help you in this matter, we have collected the list of top websites that offer royalty-free Photoshop brushes with the best quality.

  1. BrushLovers

    The BrushLovers website contains thousands of free Photoshop brushes that allow you to mark and save your favorites for downloading later. Apart from that, the site also has a huge collection of patterns, styles, gradients, vectors, etc. so that users can choose from and use it to edit their photos.

  2. Brusheezy

    The website has a large database for Photoshop brushes. It enables you to navigate and easily search your desired item with the help of filters. You can narrow down your search options by filtering through the category, highest-rated, most popular, newest, and the desired Photoshop version.

  3. Chez Plumeau

    Chez Plumeau is another online resource offering more than 600 top-quality brushes. These are divided into different categories like life, nature, culture, abstract, science, human, twilight zone, and more. Here, you can search by using keywords or browse through random categories.

  4. Brush Photoshop

    Brush Photoshop contains more than 1000 brushes that are available in high-quality. It has easy navigation features where you can find the desired design by sorting it according to the category or dates. The different categories present here are abstract, symbol, vintage, grunge, etc.

  5. Brushez

    This website will provide you with a number of choices to select your desired Photoshop brush. Besides, it allows you to search in your specified language by keyword or from multiple categories like heart, abstract, splatters, flower, animal, grunge, fractal, drawing, urban, and more.

  6. myPhotoshopBrushes

    It has a user-friendly interface that allows free downloading of professional Photoshop brushes. Apart from this, the website also offers different patterns, styles, custom shapes, gradients, tutorials, etc. to download. Designers or artists are permitted to share their creations as well.

  7. Photoshop Roadmap

    It is another great resource offering hundreds of brush sets for downloading. It consists of the works of various designers and artists from around the globe. These are available in various categories like grunge, vintage, postscripts, drawing, environment, tech, cracks, vines, etc.

  8. Fractured Sanity

    This website has a huge collection of works submitted by graphic designers or artists. Apart from free brushes, it also offers patterns, textures, images, fractals, screencaps, or different styles for downloading. Various Photoshop tutorials are also available on Fractured Sanity.

  9. FBrushes

    It consists of over 4000 brushes with a collection of 200 brush sets. Almost every design present here is available for free downloading and can be used for personal or commercial purposes. Consisting of over 100 pages, it allows you to choose the designs in the abstract, border, fractal, and other categories.

  10. Photoshopbrushes

    It is another great website containing high-quality brushes in unique themes that can be available for free downloading. Apart from this, it also provides free tutorials to help users load, save, use, and create their own brushes. It is accessible to a wide range of users from around the world.

  11. inObscuro

    This website allows you to choose from 40 different sets of Photoshop brushes. All the different sets available here are created and maintained by the owner of the site, Nela Dunato. Apart from Photoshop freebies, inObcuro also features website designs, tutorials, and textures.

  12. Adobe

    Adobe, the creator of Photoshop software, also offers some free brushes that can be easily downloaded from the site. Besides, this website also allows you to manage or create custom designs or presets for personal use. Here, you can download and choose from around 1000 sets.

  13. WOW Brushes

    This is another good website for downloading unique and high-quality brushes. It has a collection of over 400 Photoshop brushes in various categories. Here, you can find your preferred set by sorting through different categories, keywords, popularity, newest arrivals at your convenience.

  14. Alice-Grafixx

    Alice-Grafixx is a community having a variety of Photoshop resources and goodies. You can find here almost anything related to Photoshop or GFX like brushes, styles, patterns, gradients, etc. In addition to this, the website also provides tutorials on Photoshop, HTML, CSS, MySQL, PHP, etc.

  15. 123Freebrushes

    Over 650 pages of Photoshop brushes are available on this site. These are present in a wide range of categories like abstract, fractal, atmosphere, cartoon characters, animals, flowers, old frames, birds, Christmas, Holidays, music, aquatic, building, grunge, frames, border, fantasy, etc.

  16. Obsidian Dawn

    Obsidian Dawn is one of the popular websites to download free Photoshop brushes. Here, all the designs are original, unique, and attractive. These are sorted in different creative categories like abstract, objects, fantasy, markings, paintings, nature, people, themes, and more.

  17. Qbrushes

    There are more than 200 pages of over 3000 professional looking designs present on this site. Because of its easy browsing and findability features, you can find the exact match of the design you want without any difficulty. Here, you can either browse by tags or categories.

  18. BrushKing

    BrushKing is a resource gallery consisting of over 9500 brushes in good quality. You can search your ideal design by keyword, category, or popularity and use it for both commercial and personal purposes. Its different categories include fractals, hearts, splatters, vectors, stars, and more.

  19. GFXFever

    There are over hundreds of options available here for downloading Photoshop brushes. Besides, it also displays user ratings that can help you to identify the most effective tool for your project. It is mostly dedicated to web designers and offers free resources related to graphics or web.

  20. GetBrushes

    This website is completely dedicated to offering the best collection of free Photoshop brushes. You can find them in a wide range of categories such as abstracts, fractal, tech, gothic, grunge, and more. Besides, it also has a forum to discuss topics regarding Photoshop or graphic designs.


    It is one of the best resources for downloading free Photoshop brushes. This site regularly updates new designs and also enables designers to upload their creation. It consists of more than 2000 designs and can be sorted by category, keywords, recommended, most popular, and newest ones.

  22. Creative Bloq

    Creative Bloq is another good resource that is dedicated mostly to designers. Besides offering high-quality brushes, it also offers various guides related to Photoshop. Along with it, it also showcases many news and reviews that were published on the latest photo editing software or tools.

  23. Photoshopfreebrushes

    This website has a good collection of creative and unique brushes that are available for free download. There are over hundreds of options to choose from. So, feel free to experiment and choose the one that is beneficial. Here, you will also find blogs explaining the use of different Photoshop tools.

  24. Melsbrushes

    A good collection of Photoshop brushes, textures, or patterns are available here that can be used for a variety of graphic design projects. Apart from providing brush sets, it also offers a few beginners’ tutorials to help users understand the concepts related to Photoshop or graphics.

  25. Celestial Star

    It is a graphic resource site that provides free Photoshop brushes for commercial or personal use. Here, artists are allowed to download as well as upload their works. You can browse the preferred design by keywords, versions, or different categories like grunge, swirls, nature, Japanese, etc.

  26. Brush Pattern

    This website offers high-quality brushes and patterns where everything can be downloaded for free. This site ensures regular updates and has an easy search filter to sort the desired design by category, version, most downloaded, comments, ratings, oldest first, newest first, etc.

  27. GrutBrushes

    This website has a good user interface with over 450 free collection available for download. If you are looking for a website having a rich collection of Photoshop brushes along with other freebies, then this is the one. However, you need to create an account before downloading the files here.

  28. deviantART

    It is one of the leading graphic design communities that offers a variety of free and high-quality Photoshop brushes. However, this site is mainly dedicated to offering videography, photography, or artwork. Here, the designs are present in popular categories like fractals, splatters, anime, flourishes, etc.

  29. PSBrushes

    This website is a simple looking website but has a great collection of more than 500 brushes. It ensures that the free design sets are regularly updated and are available in various categories like animals, drawings, fractals, grunge, landscapes, pattern, religious, scratches, and more.

Hope that the above guide has helped you to understand how the Photoshop Brush Tool works. Thus, by taking maximum advantage of the tool, you can add almost any effect that you want to your digital artworks. Even though it is a very basic tool, it is still effective for creating outstanding custom design elements by providing creative freedom and facilitating easy workflow.