22 Free Hand-Drawn Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop

Tired of having to subscribe before downloading the brushes and finding out they are not free for commercial use after you get them? I know the struggle! That’s why I love creating my own brushes. 

I was creating a watercolor-style drawing the other day, but I couldn’t find ideal preset brushes in Photoshop. Instead of spending time browsing for brushes, I figured it’d be faster to make my own, so I took out my watercolor painting sets and drew some brushes by hand. 

Then I digitalized the brush strokes and made the brushes editable just in case I need them for future use. And of course, I thought about sharing them with more watercolor lovers! 

In this article, you’ll find 22 free customizable hand-drawn watercolor brushes for Photoshop. You can change the colors to even modify the brushes to make them your own. 

I’ll also show you how to install and customize brushes in Photoshop. And no, you don’t have to create an account or subscribe, simply download and use them for your artwork. 

And yes, they are free for both personal and commercial use!

If you like them, feel free to try them out on your design. 

The brushes are totally free for personal or commercial use. It took me nearly 20 hours to complete, so a link credit would really make my day 😉 Thanks! 

Got the brushes ready to use? Follow the quick steps to open and use them in Photoshop.

How to Install Brushes to Photoshop

After downloading the brushes, they don’t just appear on the Brushes panel. You’ll need to add the brushes to Photoshop

Note: Screenshots are taken from Adobe Photoshop 2022 Mac version. Windows or other versions can look different.

Step 1: Unzip the file you just downloaded on your computer. 

Step 2: In Photoshop, go to the Brushes panel, click on the folded menu, and choose Import Brushes.

Step 3: Find the unzipped brushes file and click Open. The file format should be .abr. 

Now you should see the brush set on the Brushes panel. 

Choose a brush and start painting! Or you can use them to create something else.

What can you create using watercolor brushes?

There are a lot of things you can do with watercolor brushes. For example, you can use them to add clouds, as text background, or create hand lettering. Here are some ideas 😉

This image of realistic clouds is made with watercolor 1 and 2 brushes. 

Tip: Watercolor 8 is pretty good as a cloud brush too. 

This lettering is written using watercolor 16.

I used watercolor 11 and 19 brushes to add a touch of watercolor effect as the text background on a thank you card. 

Hope you’re liking the brushes, but if you find the size, orientation, or opacity isn’t what you want, you can also modify the brushes.

How to Customize Brushes in Photoshop

When you open the Brushes panel, you’ll see the Brush Settings panel right next to it, and that is where you’ll be able to customize the brushes. Simply select the brush you want to modify and go to the Brushes Settings to customize it. 

There are lots of settings here, but I would say the two main ones are Brush Tip Shape and Scattering. You can see how the brush shape changes at the bottom as you modify the settings.

You can rotate the brush tip and change its size from Brush Tip Shape. 

The Scattering setting modifies the scatter and count of the brush. When you increase the scatter, it’s separating the original form of the brush, but if you increase the count at the same time, it makes the brush denser. 

If you want to learn more about each brush setting option, Adobe has a complete guide for this. 

Alternatively, you can also adjust the brush size, opacity, etc from the top toolbar.

After creating your own brush, don’t forget to save it to your Brushes panel. Simply click on the plus sign to create a new brush, name it, and click OK

That’s Pretty Much It

Watercolor brushes are useful not only for watercolor drawings. Get creative and explore. Enjoy the watercolor brushes and let me know how you like them. 

About June
June is an experienced graphic designer specializing in brand design. Photoshop is the essential tool that she uses every day along with other Adobe programs for her creative work.

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