Top 10 Custom Brushes to Paint Skin and Hair in Photoshop


One of the biggest advantages of digital painting is the plethora of different brushes that have been made available to artists all around the world. Gone are the days where an artist would be limited to traditional brushes. These days, the options are practically limitless.

Literally anything can be turned into a brush, which allows an artist to save a lot of time and produce a rather effective art piece. Adobe Photoshop is one software which digital painters use, and apart from the stock brushes, artists around the world keep contributing to the collection, which is then available to download either for free or for a tiny premium.

brushes-marta-prime

There is a lot one can achieve with custom brushes. This particular article regards custom brushes in Adobe Photoshop as it is perhaps the most powerful software out there. We will be discussing ten different brushes and we will use them in order to create different characters. Sounds challenging enough, but at the same time it has a certain ring to it that we are sure any artist will be tempted to at least try. So without further ado, check out our favorite Top 10 Custom Brushes to Paint Skin and Hair in Photoshop. We hope you enjoy the read. Let us know in the comments below.

Ragged Hard Round Brush

This particular brush will be more than just perfect for the initial drawing stages, especially for the first stages of color blocking. The brush has ragged hard round quality to it which will also prevent the transitions from being very rough. Given the fact that while painting, you will be using some sort of a tablet, the pressure sensitive opacity that comes along with this brush should allow you to create several different skin tones. There are several settings you can play with but we recommend the following:

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Spacing: 10%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Smoothing: checked

Ragged hard round brush

Blending Spackled Brush

If you are looking to blend the facial skin tones in a character, this is the best brush for you. It is a speckled brush and owing to this particular shape, and pressure sensitive opacity, you can create a realistic pore-y texture that human skin generally has. Of course, you will also be able to blend the colors together nicely too. You can smoothen out the transitions with this brush. Remember to use the eye dropper in order to choose the colors. Try the following brush settings:

Opacity: 20-100%

Flow: 100%

Spacing: 6

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Scattering: Both Axes, 109%

Blending Spackled Brush

Airbrush

Airbrush is perhaps one of the most popular brushes around and it is exceptionally flexible. You can use it to literally do anything you want, from painting the character, to adding strands of hair, doing makeup, and even create moles and other facial marks. If you have an already painted object, you can use an airbrush to soften the edges of those objects. You can also use it to smoothen out the transitions between certain shades, and a lot more. Try the following settings:

Opacity: 80-100%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Shape dynamics: just switched on

Airbrush

Rotating Brush

You should always be looking to enrich a particular color palette on a character, and this is the perfect brush to achieve that. If you have a body part already painted, use this brush in order to enhance and enrich the color palette that you already have in use. As the name suggests, as you stroke with this brush, it will provide various different angles owing to the rotation, and everything will seem rather natural to you. You can also use this brush as a skin tone blender. Use the following settings:

Opacity: 50%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics:

Opacity and Flow, 0%

Scattering: 100%

Shape dynamics: just switched on

Rotating brush

  1. Spattery Brush

This is another form of the speckled brush we mentioned before. You may want to use this one on a low opacity and on a separate layer. That is because after applying this brush, you will want to play with the layer modes, and in our experience the blend mode ‘Soft Light’ works the best if you are looking for natural effects. Use the following settings for this brush:

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Spacing: 75%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Smoothing: checked

Spattery brush

Triple Dot Brush

Once you are done marking the hair base with your airbrush, you may want to consider adding a bit of texture. This brush is perfect for the job of adding texture to the hair on your character. While applying the hair strands, you will want to move from bigger and darker, to smaller and lighter. That is of course if you want to achieve the best results. Other techniques will work as well. Try using the following settings:

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Smoothing: checked

Triple Dot Brush

Slimmed Brush

This particular brush changes the size and opacity based on the pressure applied on the tablet while you are drawing. That is why this brush is perfect for creating eyelashes. You will want to use this one on a low opacity in order to mark the shades under the eyelashes. Later, you will want to lower the size and increase the opacity. This will let you mark the actual eye lashes. If you are looking to add extra detail to the hair, this brush can prove to be very helpful in that regard as well. Try using the following settings:

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Shape dynamics: just switched on

Smoothing: checked

Slimmed brush

Fairy Dust Brush

Another great brush in our collection is the Fairy Dust Brush. You can use this brush to give some texture to mouths. If you are going for a realistic and natural look, you may want to play with the size and opacity constantly. Try using the following settings with this brush:

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Smoothing: checked

Scattering: Both Axes, 85%

Fairy dust brush

Scratch Maker

This particular brush is absolutely awesome if you are looking to create some scratched surface. You can even use this brush to create cuts, bruises, and scars on a character. Try experimenting with the settings. We recommend the following:

Opacity: 30-40%

Flow: 100%

Scratch Maker

Dirt Brush

Finally, we have the dirt brush. This is a great brush if you are looking to add dirt effects on either clothing or skin. All you would need is a darker (dusty) color and you are good to go. Try the following settings:

Opacity: 10-50%

Flow: 100%

Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow, 0%

Smoothing: checked

Scattering: 33%

Dirt brush

 

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