When I was growing up I was never far from a pencil and a blank piece of paper and I spent countless hours sketching, doodling and experimenting with any tool that could make a mark on paper. I used to collect the graphite shavings from my pencil sharpener and would dip my fingers into the silky smooth powder and then use my loaded finger to draw or shade my sketches with dusty fingerprints and the smudges that inevitably came with them. The Lead Thumb natural media brush is my digital tribute to those late night experiments in my pencil lab. All these years later I finally made one that won’t spill all over the carpet.
I drew this dog with the Lead Thumb brush by using heavy stylus pressure to draw the dark full textured marks and then softening up the pressure to create the gray shaded areas. When lines were to thick or too pronounced I either used the eraser to chip away at them or just used a mid tone closer to the background to draw over them and soften them.
When making and testing brushes I tend to spend so much time with just one brush that I forget how the much fun comes from combining brushes. Sketching a stick figure outline with an ink brush I gave it some body and shading with a watercolour brush, a fun-fur collar and hat with two strokes of a fuzzy Charcoal brush, then back to ink for some personality by way of a pair of oversized blue glasses.
I painted this Giraffe with this week’s free Photoshop brush “Gritty Bits” a natural media pastel brush, available to download for free through Sunday in the brush shop or on the free brush page:
I didn’t get a chance to announce this week’s free GrutBrush on Monday due to my day job, but it’s been there and is still free until Sunday (24 hours left!) This one is a cross-hatching brush and I doodled this guy above using it. First I sketched the basic shape in black and then I ‘etched’ into it with the same brush, but using white to chip away at it (you could also use an eraser) and essentially carve into the black. Finally I made the layer a Multiply layer so that the white disappears and the paper background shows through.
Doodling with the latest brush “Molten Filo” it is an organic crusty edged Photoshop oil paint brush (old style, non-impasto) which starts with a thin faint sketching line and spreads to a medium width opaque line with variable textured coverage.
Magical abstract trees painted with this week’s free GrutBrush, “Slow Velcro” a scraggly Photoshop ink brush. You can download it on the free brush page until next Monday when, as always there will be a new brush GrutBrushes.com/freebrush
This is me trying to break my habit of drawing with black lines on a white background. Having grown up doodling on white photocopy paper with pencils and pens, my instinct is still to go for black lines on white. To try something different, here I started with a coloured background and a white paint brush (“Molten Filo”) and finished him off with a few orange flourishes with the “Creamsicle” watercolour brush. It’s very satisfying to break away from what’s comfortable and shaking things up is always a nice way to kickstart your creative impulses.
If you’re wondering about the texture, I am painting above a coloured background layer but underneath a copy of that layer, which is set to ‘overlay’ thus providing the linen-like texture.