Free PhotoShop Brushes and How to Install Them

Last week on a whim I threw away all my Photoshop brushes. Lately I’ve been feeling like my work has been missing some texture. I have a few brushes that I had been waiting to try and never did because I was stuck in my ways. I know that it’s not the brushes that make a good artist but I feel like I needed to change something and the brushes were the quickest and easiest thing I could think of.

By the way PLEASE don’t throw away your brushes without backing them up first.

This impulsive move has led me to several great places to find new Photoshop brushes. I thought I’d share some of these sites with you. Please be sure to download these brushes as soon as possible. They are free from each of these artists and they could remove the links at anytime.

First let me explain how you install new brushes into Photoshop.

  1. Before you install make sure that the brushes you’re about to use are compatible with the version of Photoshop you’re using.
  2. Next download the brushes. You may have to unzip the file so be sure to do that as well. The brush files extension should be .abr
  3. Now open PhotoShop.
  4. Once Photoshop is open click “Window” menu in the tool bar and select brushes Presets.
  5. Now select the drop down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the brush palette and open that menu. Once the drop-down menu is open select “load brushes”.
  6. Now find your saved .abr brush file and open it.
  7. The brushes you added should show up in the brushes palette near the bottom.

Now onto the brushes. Please know that all the links below go to the creator of these brushes website and you will be going to outside pages to download these brushes.

My first selection comes from DeviantArt. DeviantArt is a great place to find new brushes. There are plenty of groups you can discover that are all dedicated to just sharing brushes. I encourage you to find these groups and find the brushes that best suit your art style and needs. I found these great environment brushes by Dean Oyebo AKA TheEchoDragon on Deviantart. He made a great comment on the post with these brushes. He wrote “Please remember folks that good art is not all about the brushes you use. They are as much a tool as photoshop itself and should be viewed as such when you’re still learning.” I totally agree with this statement. Please check out Dean’s work on DeviantArt. Grab the brushes from the following link.


Next we have 9 texture brushes by Nathie Block or nathies-stock on Deviantart. Nathie has given permission for you to use these brushes anywhere you would like. Nathie seems to be a prolific poster of brushes so keep checking back on this page. I would like everyone to know that I’m just directing you to this great resource and not going against Nathie’s wishes and reposting the download elsewhere (we would never do that). You need to go to this DeviantArt page to grab the download.


Finally, we have a set of brushes from Alex Dukal. He has two sets of great brushes on his site. The first set of brushes are a great resource for children’s book illustrators. The textures range from a pastel look to a chalk drawing but there are so many more. Grab them from the link below and try them out.

newPhotoshopbrushes005He also has another set of brushes for download which he calls Artistic Brushes Pack #2. Again, another set of wonderful brushes to add texture to your pictures. If you think these brushes are useful Alex asks if you will make a donation on the page where you download the brushes from. These brushes are licensed under a Creative Commons License so please read this agreement carefully before using. Head to Alex’s Blogspot to grab them.

newPhotoshopbrushes004Now that you know how to install brushes and where to find them, start playing with them and see what you come up with. If you come up with something you like share your image in the comments below.

About the author

  • Norm GrockNORM GROCKContributor, Founder

    Having grown up on the shores of Maui, Hawaii, Norm has always had a love for drawing. Since leaving the Islands’ beautiful beaches and landing in Oregon he went to college and received a degree in graphic design. Now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Norm has been working as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator for the last 12 years. He has spent countless hours perfecting his craft as a freelance illustrator working on several children’s books, a few video games and creating numerous educational products. His ability to draw has given him the chance to do the thing he truly loves — Create.

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