50 Must-Have Photoshop Brushes


by Daved Brosche

Having a good collection of Photoshop brushes is essential for any designer. There is certainly no shortage of Photoshop brushes on the Web these days. The problem with Photoshop brushes isn’t in finding brushes, but in finding quality brushes. Below you’ll find a collection of quality brushes that every designer should find handy.

These 50 Photoshop brush sets are ones I find myself using over and over in a variety of projects. This collection is the result of years’ worth of downloads, trials and experiments. I hope this list helps you find some new Photoshop brushes that improve your collection.

Paint Splatters Link

Paint splatters are an essential set of Photoshop brushes to have. Lord knows there are plenty of them out there, but they are not all created equal. I have a good number of splatter brushes in my arsenal, but these are the ones I find myself calling upon the most for a variety of effects.

Splashes of Paint1






Photoshop Brushes Set 17


Photoshop Brushes Set 29


Photoshop Brushes Set 311


Lucidity Brushes13


Gradiant Splats15


Go Media Brushes17


Massive Splatter Pack19


Brush Strokes Link

These types of Photoshop brushes are great to have on hand because they can achieve a variety of effects. They can do anything from helping you finish off an edge to grunging of a photo, and endless amount of other tasks. Brush stroke brushes are a commodity in Photoshop. These are some of my favorites.

Simple Smudges21


20 Painted Brushes23


Watercolor Brushes I25


Watercolor Brushes II27


Messy Spraypaint29


Grungy Watercolor Brushes31


Hi-Res Water Color Brushes 233


Hi-Res Watercolor Brushes35






Textures Link

While actual texture photos come in handy for adding textures to your work, sometimes a Photoshop brush comes in more handy. For those times, you may want to look into some of the texture brushes I have picked out below. They are great for adding a touch of texture to your latest grunge design.

Concrete Series Vol 341


Fabric Textures Hi-Res43


Texture Brushes Set 245


Paint Peel Pack47


Wood Photoshop Brushes49


52 Texture Brushes51


Grunge Brushes53


Hi-Res Dirt Brush Set55


Grunge Brushes Moved57


50 Texture Brushes59


Borders and Edges Link

While not as multi-purpose as the stroke brushes, these edges and border are nonetheless valuable. I probably have more border and edge brushes in my collection than any other type of Photoshop brush. A good border or edge brush pack can make all the difference in your design. Many of these brushes come in super-large sizes to give you quality results.

Chalk Edges61


Paper Edges63


Torn Edges65


Torn Edges 267


Sachet Edges69


Torn Paper Brushes71


Dirty Grunge Brush Set 173


Grunge Corners Brush Pack75


Grunge Grit Borders77


More Borders79


Hand-Drawn Elements Link

Ok, so these are only really essential if you are trying to create that hand-drawn effect in your design. That said, these are some essential Photoshop brushes that will help you create a design with a hand-drawn look. Most, if not all, of these Photoshop brushes were made from real drawings. You can’t get much more “hand-drawn” than that.

Hand-Drawn Ornaments81


Handwriting Brushes83


Flower Brushes Drawn85


Hand-Drawn Floral Pattern87


Handmade Doodles89


Big Swirly Ornaments91


Old Markers93


Sketchy Circles95


Crayon Stars97


Handmade Doodles99


Smashing Magazine’s Photoshop Brushes Link

Splatter and Watercolour Brushes For Photoshop101


67 Health and Beauty Brushes103


Grunge Photoshop Brushes Set105



Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://mouritsada-stock.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Pack-Splashes-Of-Paint-94180220
  2. 2 http://mouritsada-stock.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Pack-Splashes-Of-Paint-94180220
  3. 3 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/882-Splatters
  4. 4 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/882-Splatters
  5. 5 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/842-Splatter
  6. 6 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/842-Splatter
  7. 7 http://designersdepot.noelevz.com/?p=267
  8. 8 http://designersdepot.noelevz.com/?p=267
  9. 9 http://benblogged.com/?p=180
  10. 10 http://benblogged.com/?p=180
  11. 11 http://benblogged.com/?p=172
  12. 12 http://benblogged.com/?p=172
  13. 13 http://lucidity.de/
  14. 14 http://lucidity.de/
  15. 15 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/527-Gradient-Splats
  16. 16 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/527-Gradient-Splats
  17. 17 http://gomedia.us/arsenal/freestuff.php
  18. 18 http://gomedia.us/arsenal/freestuff.php
  19. 19 http://garfcore.deviantart.com/art/Massive-Splatter-Pack-32641687
  20. 20 http://garfcore.deviantart.com/art/Massive-Splatter-Pack-32641687
  21. 21 http://env1ro.deviantart.com/art/SimpleSmudges-1-Brushes-Pack-52089760
  22. 22 http://env1ro.deviantart.com/art/SimpleSmudges-1-Brushes-Pack-52089760
  23. 23 http://designblurb.com/20-painted-photoshop-brushes/
  24. 24 http://designblurb.com/20-painted-photoshop-brushes/
  25. 25 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-watercolor-photoshop-brushes/
  26. 26 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-watercolor-photoshop-brushes/
  27. 27 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-watercolor-photoshop-brushes-set-ii/
  28. 28 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-watercolor-photoshop-brushes-set-ii/
  29. 29 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-photoshop-brushes-messy-spraypaint/
  30. 30 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-hi-res-photoshop-brushes-messy-spraypaint/
  31. 31 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-high-res-photoshop-brushes-grungy-watercolor/
  32. 32 http://www.bittbox.com/freebies/free-high-res-photoshop-brushes-grungy-watercolor/
  33. 33 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/05/high-resolution-watercolour-photoshop-brushes/
  34. 34 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/05/high-resolution-watercolour-photoshop-brushes/
  35. 35 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/05/high-resolution-watercolour-photoshop-brushes/
  36. 36 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/05/high-resolution-watercolour-photoshop-brushes/
  37. 37 http://bombay101.deviantart.com/art/Fingertips-52077177
  38. 38 http://bombay101.deviantart.com/art/Fingertips-52077177
  39. 39 http://bombay101.deviantart.com/art/Blood-05-50236413
  40. 40 http://bombay101.deviantart.com/art/Blood-05-50236413
  41. 41 http://www.room122.com/photoshop/sidewalk-series-vol-3-concrete-rust-free-high-res-brush-set/
  42. 42 http://www.room122.com/photoshop/sidewalk-series-vol-3-concrete-rust-free-high-res-brush-set/
  43. 43 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/08/free-high-resolution-photoshop-brushes-fabric-textures/
  44. 44 http://www.fudgegraphics.com/2008/08/free-high-resolution-photoshop-brushes-fabric-textures/
  45. 45 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/828-Texture-Brushes-Set-2
  46. 46 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/828-Texture-Brushes-Set-2
  47. 47 http://outlawdesignblog.com/2008/freebies-paint-peel-brush-pack-2/
  48. 48 http://outlawdesignblog.com/2008/freebies-paint-peel-brush-pack-2/
  49. 49 http://www.whiskey.puffinhost.com/2008/06/free-wood-photoshop-brushes-6-pack/
  50. 50 http://www.whiskey.puffinhost.com/2008/06/free-wood-photoshop-brushes-6-pack/
  51. 51 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/684-52-Texture-Brushes
  52. 52 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/684-52-Texture-Brushes
  53. 53 http://blog.dubtastic.com/2007/12/30/8-new-grunge-brushes-for-photoshop/
  54. 54 http://blog.dubtastic.com/2007/12/30/8-new-grunge-brushes-for-photoshop/
  55. 55 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/258-High-Res-Dirt-Brush-Set
  56. 56 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/258-High-Res-Dirt-Brush-Set
  57. 57 http://kelzky13.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Brushes-moved-101523508
  58. 58 http://kelzky13.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Brushes-moved-101523508
  59. 59 http://buburu.deviantart.com/art/50-Texture-brushes-89610874
  60. 60 http://buburu.deviantart.com/art/50-Texture-brushes-89610874
  61. 61 http://malstir.deviantart.com/art/PS-7-0-chalk-edges-37650592
  62. 62 http://malstir.deviantart.com/art/PS-7-0-chalk-edges-37650592
  63. 63 http://jstoltz.deviantart.com/art/Paper-Edges-Photoshop-Brush-63598602
  64. 64 http://jstoltz.deviantart.com/art/Paper-Edges-Photoshop-Brush-63598602
  65. 65 http://spiritsighs-stock.deviantart.com/art/Torn-edges-17786256
  66. 66 http://spiritsighs-stock.deviantart.com/art/Torn-edges-17786256
  67. 67 http://spiritsighs-stock.deviantart.com/art/Torn-edges-2-17786291
  68. 68 http://spiritsighs-stock.deviantart.com/art/Torn-edges-2-17786291
  69. 69 http://eunoiastock.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Sachet-Edges-6413242
  70. 70 http://eunoiastock.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Sachet-Edges-6413242
  71. 71 http://melemel.deviantart.com/art/Torn-Paper-brushes-86404906
  72. 72 http://melemel.deviantart.com/art/Torn-Paper-brushes-86404906
  73. 73 http://asunder.deviantart.com/art/Asunder-Dirty-Grunge-Set-1-388847
  74. 74 http://asunder.deviantart.com/art/Asunder-Dirty-Grunge-Set-1-388847
  75. 75 http://ravenfire711.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Corners-Brush-Pack-100197601
  76. 76 http://ravenfire711.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Corners-Brush-Pack-100197601
  77. 77 http://asunderstock.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Grit-2-Borders-31130493
  78. 78 http://asunderstock.deviantart.com/art/Grunge-Grit-2-Borders-31130493
  79. 79 http://asunderstock.deviantart.com/art/More-Borders-4-Asunder-34503295
  80. 80 http://asunderstock.deviantart.com/art/More-Borders-4-Asunder-34503295
  81. 81 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/935-Hand-drawn-Ornaments
  82. 82 http://www.brusheezy.com/brush/935-Hand-drawn-Ornaments
  83. 83 http://redheadstock.deviantart.com/art/Handwriting-Photoshop-Brushes-37997244
  84. 84 http://redheadstock.deviantart.com/art/Handwriting-Photoshop-Brushes-37997244
  85. 85 http://www.whiskey.puffinhost.com/2008/08/5-free-flower-brushes/
  86. 86 http://www.whiskey.puffinhost.com/2008/08/5-free-flower-brushes/
  87. 87 http://www.room122.com/photoshop/hand-drawn-floral-pattern-brushes/
  88. 88 http://www.room122.com/photoshop/hand-drawn-floral-pattern-brushes/
  89. 89 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-45-HandmadeDoodles-79125524
  90. 90 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-45-HandmadeDoodles-79125524
  91. 91 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/BrushSet58-BigSwirlyOrnaments-97339186
  92. 92 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/BrushSet58-BigSwirlyOrnaments-97339186
  93. 93 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-56-Old-Marker-92681563
  94. 94 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-56-Old-Marker-92681563
  95. 95 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-55-Sketchy-Circles-92424994
  96. 96 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-55-Sketchy-Circles-92424994
  97. 97 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-13-Crayon-Stars-45346665
  98. 98 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/Brush-Set-13-Crayon-Stars-45346665
  99. 99 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/BrushSet-47-HandmadeDoodles2-80086495
  100. 100 http://punksafetypin.deviantart.com/art/BrushSet-47-HandmadeDoodles2-80086495
  101. 101 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/22/splatter-and-watercolour-brushes-for-photoshop/
  102. 102 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/22/splatter-and-watercolour-brushes-for-photoshop/
  103. 103 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/12/health-and-beauty-photoshop-brushes-set/
  104. 104 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/12/health-and-beauty-photoshop-brushes-set/
  105. 105 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/12/grunge-photoshop-brushes-set/
  106. 106 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/12/grunge-photoshop-brushes-set/

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  1. 1

    Oh, another “best of…” article. It is sad that SM turned into this fast-&-not-necessarily-creative blog :-/

  2. 2

    good stuuf!

  3. 3

    sweet stuff!

  4. 4

    good! thankyou

  5. 5

    All these brushes are certainly useful and convenient, but I’m a bit skeptical about the doodle brushes. They’re nice for sure, but isn’t it far better to draw and scan your own? It doesn’t take that long.

  6. 6

    Great ones! thank you.

  7. 7

    I was waiting patiently for a post like this on Smashing Mag. Great!

  8. 8

    Great collection. And thanks for including one of my brush packs in the list!

  9. 9

    Franz Jeitz |fudgegraphics

    November 10, 2008 3:33 pm

    wow this is a great list. some are new to me. thanks for including 3 my brush sets! you’re smashing!

  10. 10

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    November 10, 2008 3:44 pm

    @leszek: you see, we have a really large audience. We try to do our best to offer something useful and/or interesting for as many readers as possible. And we are pretty sure that such posts are quite useful for designers and graphic artists. Are we wrong?

  11. 11

    Great selection of brushes — thanks much! Don’t listen to the haters — posts like this are definitely helpful.



  12. 12

    Awesome post! Some really, really cool brushes here. I like how yall broke it down into categories for easy browsin. Congrats to all featured! Great post!

  13. 13

    Great post and as a designer it’s definitely useful. For those of us in fashion design some must have brushes to add; standard denim, a distressed finish for over logo & screen tees, a translucent ribbed effect!

  14. 14

    @Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz
    You’re far from wrong. I just started new study, Digital communication. And things like this always help me out big time.
    Just stepped into the whole internet thing, but already hooked to Smashing Magazine!

  15. 15

    @Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    i totally agree with your comment. Smashing still a reference for graphic designer.

  16. 16

    @ leszek – it amuses me when I see comments from people like you. You obviously see yourself as so far above everyone else in terms of your creativity. As my mum used to say, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

    If it’s so sad for you, then why don’t you leave this site, and go somewhere you are amongst other people with such high opinions of themselves.

    I’ve been running my own successful design agency for the last 7 years, and this site continues to be a fantastic resource for beginners and professionals alike.

    Vitaly and Sven, keep up the good work!

  17. 17

    good brushes! yahoo!

  18. 18

    im also beginner here. for leszek “get out of here” I’d says. if u so creative why dont u make for ur own..huh

    ps: nice collection.

  19. 19

    Nice collection of brushes there. One type missing is “Clouds”.
    I have quite a collection of brushes that I use.

    Might be good to note there is a program for windows called “ABR Viewer” Lets you look at the brushes outside of Photoshop and can export them to plain images.

  20. 20

    @ Vitaly and Sven,
    What makes Smashing Magazine unique is the depth and usefulness of lists. Tons of blogs post lists, but very few put as much practicality and usefulness into the lists. Smashing’s list posts certainly stand out to me as they always go way beyond everyone else. As someone who’s written a few similar posts for Smashing I know that I always feel I have a lot to live up to with these posts because of the standard that has been set.

  21. 21

    Nice Collection…

  22. 22

    LOVE this! Thanks!

  23. 23

    Wow, this is fantastic. Stuff like this really helps me as I start to get in to web design. I just wish a zip of all of this were provided.

  24. 24

    AWESOME! i spent most of the day making grunge borders for a site im workin on and here you guys go making life easier once more.. many many thanks!

  25. 25

    Any tech brushes?

  26. 26

    Perfect collection. Great post! Thank you SM

  27. 27

    Now this is some thing useful
    I gotta bookmark this page
    thanx a lot man, I really appreciate this …

  28. 28

    Nice collection as always but are those brushes free for commercial projects???

  29. 29
  30. 30

    down with the haters. just go somewhere else!

  31. 31

    wow. amazing stuff. thanks SM

  32. 32

    I love the handdrawn examples!
    The rest I feel like I’ve seen too many times allready. :)

  33. 33

    Excellent timing – just as I need something special for a new header… :)

  34. 34

    for me, one of the best brushes resource:

    keep up the good work SM!


  35. 35

    its another great list but not really a “must-have”. thanks for this great article again. sm is my nr1 source!

  36. 36


  37. 37

    I love it! SM is a really great resource. It’s really great that there are people out there that still share their creativity with others. Thanks again!

  38. 38

    old … and not so “must have” material ….

  39. 39

    You’ve got to take care of your extremely long page loads. This page (50 PS brushes) took 1 minute to load, and you don’t need to know about my bandwidth. It’s the same as everyone else: 7mbps cable broadband. Network conditions are fine this morning. I checked the Safari activity window, and the culprit is your images. They are all hovering around 150-300KB. I don’t think it would be that difficult to crunch them down a little more in PS’s save-for-web feature. These things should be no more than 75KB each…

  40. 40


  41. 41

    holy macaroni! now that is what i’m talking about! Thanks a bunch SM! :D

  42. 42

    more grunge? no thanks.

  43. 43

    Great post. As for the long page load… what did you expect when you saw a post for “50 Photoshop Brushes”; a quick list of links? And the crying about the hand-drawn brushes… the same could be said about many of the other styles as well.

    I’ll go find my tiny violin brush set for both you…

  44. 44

    @ Vitaly and Sven,

    Making these lists of brushes is great way to look at the past post without constantly searching or digging up posts in the past. The lists are great!

  45. 45

    This one of the “must have it” material for all of the Adobe Photoshop users. For few years I use special brushes with great capabilities of simulating artist brushes like the watercolor stroke, oil stroke, chalk, dry brush and so on and I know the value of this type of tools.

    So as a official illustrator for the two publisher I highly recomend this topic and all tools diplayed here.


  46. 46

    Another stunning – and helpful! – compilation. Thanks so much!

  47. 47

    @ Mark – If you judge me after one short comment “you obviously see yourself as so far above everyone else in terms of” psychology ;-*
    I don’t check only this site for inspiration & creativity, but SM was so different from others when I came here. And I really liked this difference. Now in my opinion there are too many “best of” articles (which are indeed useful, but not so useful for me if I have this on X other sites).
    I prefer not-best-ofs at SM so I voiced my opinion – sorry if I said it in wrong way.

  48. 48

    It would be great to see info, which/if presented stuff is compatible e.g. with Paint Shop Pro, or other painters. Not everyone is using PS. ;)

  49. 49

    Thanks for another great collection of “Must Haves!”

    Please DO continue to provide this type of resource — it provides great inspiration and saves so much time whenever Smashing publishes a great collection like this! You guys are providing a great service, and I always look forward to visiting Smashing Mag at the start or the end of my day. Thank you, Vitaly & Sven!

  50. 50

    Tom Ross - PSDFAN

    November 11, 2008 7:10 pm

    Great list. I’m just getting into using brushes more and some of these will definitely come in useful.


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