Thursday, November 5

CoffeeShop Tutorial: Using Brushes!

Today I wanted to teach you how to use "arty" brushes in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Brushes are great to use to make cards, storyboard templates, textures, clipping masks, logos, etc. There are many free brushes out there, but some of my favorite can be found at Pixels & Ice Cream. You can also find all kind of free Photoshop brushes at Deviantart and Brusheezy.

For this tutorial I will load some free brushes from Pixels & Ice Cream. Jennifer has a great selection of completely free brushes and some amazing premium brushes. I am going to download the free Laurie Ornament Brushes.

Click on the download link and download the zipped file to your desktop. I have a folder on my desktop labeled "Downloads" so I can find them later. After you download the folder, find it and right click, Extract All, Extract.

Loading the brushes is really easy. I usually open Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, go to Edit, Preset Manager, select Brushes, and then load the brushes.

The brushes will be on the bottom of your brushes pane, in this case the last four. The number under the brush is the largest size in pixels. Click on Done.

To use the brushes, open a new document or an image. Click on B to select your brush, then go to the top pull-down menu and find the Laurie ornament brushes. I am going to use Ornament 4. The color of the brush is whatever your foreground color is at the moment, and you adjust the size either by the top slider or by pressing the [ key to make it smaller or the ] key to make it larger on the fly.

I always add a new blank layer before using a brush. Then I can move it around after "stamping" it.

To move it or make it smaller (I wouldn't make it much bigger, you lose resolution and it is better to start with a new bigger brush), Ctrl-T to free transform the brush. Make sure Constrain Proportions is selected in Photoshop Elements if you don't want it to distort, or hold down your shift key in Photoshop.

After transforming my brush, I clicked Ctrl-J to copy that brush layer, then free transformed (Ctrl-T) the new layer to flip it around. Then I dragged the second brush layer up against the first brush layer to make a new design. To move the layers, click V to select your move tool and drag them to taste.

I hope you enjoyed this little brush tutorial. :-) Now you can even make amazing borders for your images. If you want to be inspired, check out these amazing borders at IttyBitty. If you haven't visited IttBitty before you are in for a great time. If I had some spare cash I would be shopping like crazy at her site, I think I love everything there. If you could see me now you would see the drool. ;-) Now go and have fun playing with your brushes. :-)


  1. Thanks for pointing me to the free brush sites...I've been looking for some good ones:)

  2. Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Tutorials search engine today (look for timestamp: 05 Nov [LA 04:00pm, NY 07:00pm] - 06 Nov [UK 12:00am, OZ 11:00am] ).

  3. Excellent tut - thanks so much. I am going to try and make some borders! :)

  4. love it! i always wondered what the heck "brushes" were for - haha. thank you so much for this tutorial and the awesome link referrals!

  5. I've been trying to download the brushes from pixels and I'm having trouble. I mean the actual download works, the brushes appear in PSE and everything. But if I change from Default brushes to a different set of brushes and then go back to Default where the brushes first appeared, they are gone. Do I have to upload every time I want to use them or is there something I am doing wrong during upload?

  6. I just wanna tell you thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this site! I really appreciate all your freebies/links to freebies more than you know! Anyway, when I choose a brush, it isn't the default color like you say, it's no color, just the outline. And I'm having the same problem as Summer (who left a comment here) I can't figure it out!?

  7. Hi !
    thanks for the tutorial (and the actions, and the presets, and...everything !)


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