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SAI Tutorial - Custom Brushes

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By DarlingMionette   |   Watch
Published: April 26, 2010
© 2010 - 2019 DarlingMionette
Wheeeeeee another tutorial :) This time on custom brushes in SAI! <3 I love custom brushes. It was getting so long that I tourniquet'd my custom brush settings off of it >.> But if anyone sees a brush exampled up there that you'd like, just ask and I'll copy the stats for you :)

Official Website: [link]

SAI costs approximately $56 USD (5250 Japanese Yen) for a license. Trials last 31 days. Check the exchange rates on your currency - they change daily so it can fluctuate up and down.

[link] <- Custom Brush Suppliment Tutorial. Has all my brush settings.

NOTE: This deviation is a little outdated. You can now download "DarlingMionette's SAI Resources" at the bottom of the Custom Brush Supplement.

It is a .zip file of all my brush settings, textures, blank do-it-yourself resources, instructions for creating custom content, and associated start-sai.exe file that lets you register these files to your SAI without editing the .conf files manually :3 All in one convenient place. All of my current brush settings have been updated to match the files in the .zip file, and contain image examples for each. Be sure to read the README's! If you like it, then drop me a +fav on this deviation :D. Thanks!
Image size
1017x7658px 2.98 MB
anonymous's avatar
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xhorjael's avatar
you are an absolute blesSING FOR MAKING THIS. ive been looking for like tutorials on how to actually make your own texture brushes for sai and you're the very first person i've found that's gone into detail about not just the brushes themselves and what the other brush settings mean, but on the actual customisation part itself and I Cry So Hard :'''') so thank you so much for this, friendly :''''')
Aurixiiee's avatar
AurixiieeHobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, just bought sai today and doing all the setting up
onlyribbit's avatar
are the brushes supposed to stay even when you close the software??? because every time i re-open SAI all my custom brushes are gone.
i'm not talking about brush textures!!!!
Andhii's avatar
AndhiiHobbyist Digital Artist
peep24414's avatar
peep24414Hobbyist General Artist
erm the link i downloaded just asked me for a bunch of my personal info....
GrayingMorality's avatar
GrayingMoralityHobbyist Digital Artist
Only thing is, mine refuses to respond to pressure and it's really... freaking... annoying...
Hibya's avatar
HibyaHobbyist Digital Artist
the first try of creating a new brush type worked but i coudn't create more..
NoxKore's avatar
NoxKoreProfessional Traditional Artist
This helped a lot! I love your "Parrot" the best.
ChristianGal777's avatar
ChristianGal777Hobbyist Filmographer
I have the valid version, I got it for my birthday, but I don't have start sai or do it yourself or anything like that! What happened?
Irish-Filly's avatar
Irish-FillyHobbyist General Artist
Hello, I thought maybe you could help me out with something, if you have the time that is c:
   So I wasn't sure if I had an authentic copy of sai as I downloaded it for free but it does have the "do-it-yourself" folder. I opened the template in sai and drew on it and saved it as a .bmp to the elemap folder and than opened sai with the start-sai icon. But the brush I made wasn't there. I've made two at this point and neither show up, and I'm a tad bit confused. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places? Or are we supposed to draw on the same layer as the template? It had two layers when I opeened it and I drew on the blank one. 
GhoulBanshee's avatar
GhoulBansheeStudent Traditional Artist
I love your tutorial, thanks a lot!
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
The lack of the file seems to be based on the version of Sai that you have. I bought mine two weeks ago, but meh, idk, whatever. Still didn't have the folder. So, I found this:


Download file, save to PC, and unzip. Inside is the infamous "Do-It-Yourself" Folder. Move it to your Sai directory (mine is located at C:\PaintToolSAI). Open the PS file in SAI, and save it to the same location as a bitmap, or .bmp, file. Delete the PS file.

You now have an empty brush template. Save your brushes as .bmp files and copy to your 'elemap' Folder, as DarlingMionette has already described.

But wait! There's more!

In your directory, open the CONF file labeled brushform with Notepad, and add your brush to the list in this format:


(Brush name must be exactly as it is labeled in your file, omit brackets.

Save the file, and restart SAI.
Your brush should show up under the "Simple Circle" dropdown, and be ready for use.

Hope this helps some artists! Sorry it's a little long-winded, I did all of this as I wrote the instructions to make sure I didn't leave anything out. ^-^
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
*****Here is my MediaFire host of the empty brush template.

VIRALHALO's avatar
VIRALHALOHobbyist Digital Artist
says page doesnt exist?
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
I've provided a link to my MediaFire upload of the .bmp image. Sorry bout that! ^^'
jet-laq's avatar
Oh my thank you SO much for this! I didnt have the diy folder either :') cant wait to try it out and finally make some new brushes!
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
I hope it works for you! :]
jet-laq's avatar
Haha yeah i managed to make some new brushes! I found the blank psd thing on google because the link isnt working :0 i mean it leads to a removed deviation?
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, shoot. Well, it was from quite a while back.   >^<
MillyMop585's avatar
MillyMop585Hobbyist General Artist
Just wondering but if I have version 1.2.5 shouldn't I have the Do-it-yourself file?
CrystalTrees's avatar
CrystalTreesHobbyist Digital Artist
I got the newest one, too, and it didn't give it to me. Maybe there's some little trick to getting the diy file, like turning your Firewall off, or disabling anti-virus during installation. But I didn't have it either. :shrug:
ChristianGal777's avatar
ChristianGal777Hobbyist Filmographer
I bought it but there is no do it yourself! :(
TanyaHedgehog's avatar
TanyaHedgehogHobbyist General Artist
Awesomeness! Wish I had found this ages ago, I would have made tons of my own brushes and paper textures. Thanks so much for this tutorial!
anonymous's avatar
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