Painting edges in illustration with Photoshop brushes. Digital Painting Technique, using brushes in Photoshop.
Brush is a very essential tool for painting. Without it, there would not be a painting. In traditional oil painting, there are many different kind of brushes for you to pick from. Though the most common brush many painters use are simple round and flat brushes. With just two simple kind of brushes, good painters can achieve an amazing piece without having to have any special fan brush or other texture creating tools.
The same principle apply in digital painting. Basically in most painting program (Photoshop CS, Painter series, Gimp, etc.), we have default round brush soft and hard. And with just these default brushes, we should also be able paint a good piece without having to use any fancy custom brushes. I am not suggesting that we should not use custom brushes. I use a lot of custom brushes in my painting, and I strongly encourage you guys to use them in digital painting. Only one thing, I believe we should be able to paint well with the basic tools first and foremost. Most of all we should understand the core principle of painting such as shapes, values and edges. See “three important rules for paintings” for more detail.
What custom brushes do best is creating interesting edges and textures in Photoshop and Gimp. Sometimes it mimics the look of the oil painting with beautiful strokes and textures.
Anyway, I just lost my train of thought. I just remember that I just want to talk about “edges” in this post. Any brushes, no matter how awesome it looks, will not be much use if we do not understand edges. In painting, digital or traditional, we use edges to bring out an image from the empty canvas. Painting with great use of edges often look really powerful. I would love it if I can be better at applying edges in my own painting. It takes me years to try to understand edges. To me, the concept is very abstract and often difficult to apply and master. There are three type of edges; hard edge, soft edge and lost edge.
We can achieve these edges using just default brushes (soft and hard). Hard round brush can easily create a really strong hard edge. And soft round brush is perfect for soft edge and lost edge.

Here is the image I’ve been working on, still very rough. But it can still roughly demonstrate edges.

type of edges in painting

type of edges in painting

Below are the sample of edges in digital painting.

type of edges painting tips

type of edges painting tips

*In some case value range, color range, softness and hardness could fall in between.

More drawing and painting tips.
-5 steps to improve your drawing skill fast
-What pencil is the best to draw and sketch
-What size to paint in Photoshop for illustration
-Basic photoshop tools tutorial for artists

Painting edges in illustration

| Tips and techniques | 2 Comments
About The Author
- Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded ( in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Business Inquiry please e-mail me.



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