Creating custom brushes is part of illustrator, animator, and former Adobe Creative Resident Syd Weiler’s creative process; she frequently creates brushes that she uses to add environmental elements to her work. This set of tools—more than 20 of them, which she created for Adobe Create—includes brushes that mimic foliage, grass, and snow, as well as some inkers Weiler developed in 2017.
Either click on the .abr file you downloaded to open Adobe Photoshop and import the brushes, or go to Window > Brushes, and select Import Brushes from the menu at the top right. We encourage you to use the brushes in both personal and commercial projects—and please tag @AdobeCreate when you share your creations on Twitter or Instagram, so we can admire them! However, please don’t redistribute these brushes.
In the article below, Weiler talks about the inspiration behind the brushes and takes us into her creative process:
CREATING THE FALL AND WINTER BRUSH SET
In late 2014—as a junior in college, having just changed my major to illustration—I had saved up enough cash to go out and buy myself a hardware upgrade. That purchase, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, changed how I worked.
I had gotten into streaming my work process to a live audience around this time as well—one of the earliest pieces I remember sitting down and working on for viewers, late in the evening, was this autumn field, shown below.
These two pieces have been regularly pulled and cited as style/light inspiration by many of my professional clients in the years since. While I’m pleased that they’ve lived that long, they just don’t match my current painting abilities or tool-creation skills. I cringe a little each time the first piece—now five years old—is shown next to a piece I’ve developed (with new skills) in the years since.
But these pieces, along with others done at the time, were formative to my process. In letting myself play in my digital sketchbook, I figured out how to translate what I was learning in school to my pieces on-the-go.
Several years, and many paintings and projects, have passed. With recent pieces, I’ve found myself feeling frustrated when I finish a work: looking back, my process has felt nebulous and unsolidified to me. Larger illustrations are intimidating in many ways—there can be a lot to balance. I needed to take a step back and re-summarize how I like to paint, and move forward from there.
At this stage, I was very pleased with my progress—my self-discipline isn’t usually this good; I’ll want to dive in, make brushes, and noodle with them immediately. However, when I indulge myself, I’ll often run into plenty of construction issues later on. I really have to force myself to focus on the meat of the piece before I get to have my dessert.
Designing brush sets has become as much a creative outlet for me as the final illustration pieces themselves. I love finding shapes that work harmoniously, invoking textural feeling in a piece. For both client or personal projects, I find myself curating brushes that fit the needs of the piece, and flexibly loading them in and out of my Adobe Photoshop brush organizer—I can also hand these tools off to a client if need be.
When Create approached me to make some fall- and winter-themed brushes to give away, I knew I wanted to have fun making new tools that would hopefully inspire users to experiment with their own process.
First and most important to this piece: foliage—two old, two new! I didn’t sweat it here. I went for a walk and observed shapes as my neighborhood transitioned from summer to fall, and then made what felt right.
I also really love little, nitty-gritty details in an image—making brushes that make those easier to add is a guilty pleasure. I love grass and cattail shapes, so I built a few brushes that felt nice together.
And then it started snowing.
The quietness of the first snowfall here at home brought back the memory of painting another piece, years ago, around the same time of year.
Enjoy the brushes, enjoy the holidays, make something for yourself, and start your 2020 with a clear mind.