When working with most image-editing applications like Photoshop Elements, brushes are the digital equivalent of the rubber stamp. Like their physical counterparts, brushes can be “loaded” with different colors and “stamped” at different angles. The digital version carries it a bit farther because they can be re-sized and have any number of effects added to them.
In addition to finding brushes in all kinds of shapes and effects, you can easily create your own. I found this ornament in a 19th century tourist guide to St. Augustine. It can easily become a brush for use in Photoshop Elements and used to create cards or collages or become part of a background.
Like rubber stamps, brushes can be simple or complex designs. They can be images or patterns. Brushes are a great way to turn a flat-colored background layer into palm trees silhouetted against the moon. With brushes you can create crumpled or distressed paper or a worn piece of leather. In addition to making your own, you can find a lot of free brushes online. I’ll warn you right now, using custom brushes is quite addictive.
To learn more about custom brushes, check out these resources:
- About.com has a series of great tutorials on creating and using brushes in Photoshop Elements. They also have download sources for free brushes.
- The Scrapping Guy has a very nice video tutorial on using brushes and offers some good sources to find additional brushes.
- Renee Pearson has written a series of Digital Designs for Scrapbooking books which are full of great ideas and howto information. Digital Designs 2 has a whole section on using and creating brushes. Renee also offers a series of classes. Visit her site for details.