With the invention of digital illustration applications, being an artist has become a lot easier. These applications come with accessories to aid drawing, painting, and modeling just like the traditional art methods. One basic accessory is the brush palette.
All digital applications are built with their own brush preset and engine which makes their brush tools peculiar to them. However, new brushes can be created and added to the palette. This is what some artists specialize in. These new brushes may or may not be customized for a particular software, that is, they may be downloaded and used on only one or a range of applications depending on the file type.
For the sake of this piece, we would be considering brushes that work with one of the most versatile art applications; Firealpaca (although a couple of them are compatible with other applications). These brushes have been designed by a number of artists on DeviantArt and are currently free for download. Also, these set of brushes are particularly designed for painting hair and fur but may also prove effective in painting other elements like grass and feather.
That said, let’s explore the world of brushes.
The spurt hair brush set comprises two different brush textures: Spurt Hair 1 and Spurt Hair 2. The first is soft with blur lines that leave small dots next to them while painting. This works great on animal fur especially and could also be used for grass.
Spurt Hair 2 is much lighter than the first and gives a softer feel to the fur. Unlike the first, it doesn’t leave dot splashes next to the strokes.
For the perfect hair texture, you need this in your palette. The hair strokes are well defined with smudged edges that finish the look like a pro. You can control the direction of the strokes by your hand movement instead of using the settings like other brushes would require. Besides human characters, he brush could be used for animals with pretty long hair or furs like a lion’s mane.
This brush set offers two type of furnace brushes: the Soft Fur brush and the Fluffy Fur brush. The soft fur brush produces more defined fur strokes that are closely joined so you can almost pick out every single strand of hair from the painting. Also, the strokes are short, just like a typical fur strand.
The Fluffy Fur brush is indeed, fluffy. The texture is much softer and the strokes blend quite well into each other. Using this, your illustration would have a more animated look.
This is just a single brush type which can be employed in painting hair, feather and maybe fur. The strokes are soft and do not blend so much into each other, giving you a feather like texture. By adjusting the settings, you can make the strokes softer and blurrier. To get a more realistic feather look using this, blend in two shades of color that resembles what you’d see on a live bird.
This bitmap brush does a good job when it comes to painting hair on human characters. The brush strokes are well defined, making the hair strands visible instead of smudged. The strands end in faint strokes which make the paint look quite realistic.
With this brush, painting hair just got better. The brush strokes are well defined, producing a realistic hair-like texture. The strokes are made from a set of lines with a varying thickness which have been smudged at the end to give the blunt edges that are obtainable in real-life hair. Just add a couple of highlights to show the effect of light and your hair is on fleek!
Bring the animals in here quickly because this one’s for ‘em all. This brush has a variety of strokes that are useful in painting different animal characters. From short curvy strokes to blur dot-like strokes to straight strokes, your painting would come out with an animal-like feel. All the work is in the settings.
Because hair textures vary, digital illustrators have to come up with brushes that can be manipulated to suit the different needs. This brush type was made to do just that. By flipping the settings, you can make the brush strokes curly, wavy or straight as well as increase or reduce the thickness. This means that you could save different settings and have a whole palette just from this brush type.
In the set, there are two brush textures: the short fur and the long fur brushes. The short fur, as the name suggests, produces shorter strokes which are grainier than the long fur strokes. The strokes are well suited for furs especially for characters like wolves and bears.
The long fur brush is softer, less grainy and gives off longer strokes. The lines are well blended and could also be used for hair.
Sometimes, you may want a more animated and less realistic kind of hair. This particular brush type is the go-to for such purposes. The strokes are not as slender as a typical hair stroke should be but they have a soft texture all the same. By adjusting the settings, you can make the strokes more or less defined and give them a softer or sharper edge.
To be honest, words do not do justice to some of these brushes. Seeing them create brilliant strokes and textures on your work space would help you understand how effective they are when it comes to hair, furs, and feathers.
Before we go, it is worthy of note to say that acquiring these brushes won’t hurt because they’re free so, if in the end you decide that it is not what you need, you can uninstall it without losing a dime.