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5 Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop by pixelstains 5 Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop by pixelstains

Today’s Photoshop Brushes are for achieving the watercolor effect.

I’ve been hunting a lot for watercolor brushes back in the day, and they were always a source of frustration because 99% of the brushes I found online were just stamps of water stains on paper. The remaining one percent wasn’t free, and it cost way more than I planned to spend on brushes without any guarantee that they’ll actually be what I am looking for.  If you’ve been looking for watercolor brushes you know exactly what I mean.

The brushes you can find below will hopefully solve both of those issues as they are free, and designed for painting not stamping over your painting.

For brush requests, ideas for future brush sets, or related questions you can email me at

The set contains five different brushes:

  • The first one is a big soft brush designed to tone the background for your painting or vignettes.
  • The second brush works good for painting your shadows and designing your painting while keeping it still fresh and smooth.
  • The third brush is for details and small highlights in your painting.
  • The fourth one is for adding the extra watercolor feel to your paintings. You have less control over it, but it’s worth the sacrifice as it adds that essential freshness to the image.
  • The last one is for painting your occlusion shadows and small details. You can also use it to add interesting stains and texture to your work.


Use airy colors in your watercolor paintings. Start with colors that are high in tone and add the dark shadows last. Avoid starting with dark colors, start very high on the scale and go lower and lower gradually. You don’t need to use the full tonal spectrum either — I found that the images are more lively with a restricted tonal scale.

Use the smudge tool for even more control over the effect. You can download my Smudge Brush Pack from here.

All my brushes are FREE to use both in commercial and personal art.
I do not request credit or back linking, but if you do I'll take it as a kind gesture.
If you want to keep up with the latest content you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter at

Add a Comment:
arsira Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2018
Thank you for every beautiful brushes!!
Kirby741 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2018  Student General Artist
Thank you very much! I was looking for a good water color brush to finish a commission for a friend.
ShayleeNymph Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2018
Just getting started, thank you !!
ShishiNoSeirei Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Student Artist
"99% of the brushes I found online were just stamps of water stains on paper"

SAME XD Thank you for sharing,this is great :D
pirulisation4 Featured By Owner May 9, 2018
how to download?
Rhagrim Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
These are wonderful! Thanks a lot! :)
NoraMohammed Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
really beautiful thank you 
Starved-Soul Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :)
emmajoy1234 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
thank you! <3
tvveekers Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi, I was wondering if there was a way to make these brushes compatible with Photoshop Cs5? I tried to load them in, but it said they were not compatible. They really look nice, so I hope this won't be a problem!!
shamylicious Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
same here...:(
Rukychi Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017  Student Interface Designer
manowolvie Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017   Traditional Artist
Hi, I'm new in digital water coloring. Thank you for the brushes... :)
Saptarshi-Nath Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2017  Student Digital Artist
cant thank enough
BigBang27 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2017
Thanks you!!!!!! :happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce: 
myrall Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
rekaYuu Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much :love:
Poleron402 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
kcoolamaze Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2017
Thank you!
yaradapinn Featured By Owner May 22, 2017
Thanks :D 
jamiismyname Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2017
Thank you!!
tsarinvisible Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Using these awesome brushes feels like cheating
AngelHeart03 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2017
thank you!!! Looking forward to using this in my product packaging!
wwwPaiThancom Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2017   Artist
anhanh1067 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Student Filmographer
Ths a lots <3
mandy7581 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2016
thank you11
manuarts3000 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2016
EverlyXaelle Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh my goodness!!! I've been searching the net to find actual brushes with sensibility and not the ones with stamps/splatters!!! Thank you sooooo much!~ =v=
pixelstains Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2016
my pleasure! :D I know what you mean, I struggled a lot back in the day when I was hunting for watercolor brushes. That's why I decided to make this set :D
paperthin-z Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hello, just wanted to let you know your brush set helped me with this digital painting, thank you sooo much :hug:…
pixelstains Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016
awesome stuff! keep up the good work :D and glad to hear they helped
asharashark Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm super excited to use these! I'll credit when I do :)
pixelstains Featured By Owner May 4, 2016
cheers! looking forward to see your work :)
BriannaMermaid Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just downloaded some of your brushes and I'm SO EXCITED to use them, they're amazing!!

But for some reason, this one and the clouds one says it's unable to download because it's not compatible. I'm not sure why :(
pixelstains Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2016
hmm... did you try downloading it from the website? - give it a try

Cheers :D
BriannaMermaid Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's still saying the same thing for some reason, unfortunately.
pixelstains Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2016
sorry to hear that :(
Artemis827 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you!! I spread the news about your awesome work and brushes. cute!
pixelstains Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015
cheers! I appreciate that :D
mollydwhite Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015  Student General Artist
thank you so much!
pixelstains Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015
my pleasure :)
Lessandrant Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015  Student General Artist
Beautiful ^^
pixelstains Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2015
Thank you!
SirenAnimations Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi! I went to try and use your brushes and it says its not compatible with my version of Photoshop, is CS5.1 Extended version I am using!
pixelstains Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015
Hi there! Yes, unfortunately this brush set was created in PS CC, and it has some settings that are particular to that version of Photoshop.
SirenAnimations Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh okay!
ShoyzzFanArt Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Hi theree ^^
I downloaded your brushes but for some reason it says that it's not compatible with Photoshop.
Have you had this problem before?
Just wondering if I'm doing something wrong.
Thank you!
pixelstains Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015
Hey! Yes, unfortunately some of the brushes only work in Photoshop CC or higher because they use some setting specific to the new versions of PS. However I try to optimize the brushes whenever I can, so most of them do work in older versions too. :)
weirdchitidrew Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It won't work in CS5.
ikr Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015
Thanks a lot for making them and sharing! 
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
March 7, 2015
File Size
6.0 MB


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