Tutorial: Brushes to Create Backgrounds in Photoshop CS

Beginner Brushes Tutorial
April 14th Chat

This tutorial will guide you through the basics of brushes in Photoshop. It will cover the basics of the brush palette and how to create a simple background made completely of brushes.

There are 2 ways you can access your brushes in Photoshop, click on the brush tool on your tool bar then choose one of the following:

1) On the left portion of your options bar you will see a Brush menu, if you click on the arrow you will see a list of all your brushes. From this menu you can select a brush and change the size and hardness of your brush.

2) The better way to access you brushes is through the Brushes Palette, which is normally located in the upper right corner of your palettes, or press F5 to view it. We are going to concentrate on the brush palette for the purpose of this tutorial.

To better understand the Brushes Palette, read this tutorial for the Photoshop CS brush palette that is a wonderful resource for beginners.


This tutorial will give you a basic understanding of the more common brush features in the brush palette. The options in this palette are seemingly endless and the settings below are just to recreate the background I have done. Once you walk through this tutorial and read the tutorial from the link above you should have enough knowledge to begin using brushes in your layouts. We will cover more advanced features in future tutorials!

1) Open a new layout in your size choice and fill the background with whatever color you choose. (The example uses an Inner Shadow layer style from Layer>Layer Style>Inner Shadow to give a little bit of a grungy look.)

2) On the left use a simple square brush filled with a texture to create a grid
a) Choose Square Brushes from the brush list to load into the palette: click on the small Arrow icon to open the Palette Menu.

b) Choose the largest square brush available, Thick Heavy Square 24.
c) Click on brush tip shape function on the left of the palette to change the diameter of the brush to 482 and the spacing to 97%.
d) Now choose Texture function to add a texture to your square. I chose a grid like texture from the artist surfaces list and sized it to 730% and changed the mode to subtract.

e) Create a new layer. Click once to stamp the square grid brush onto the background, stamping multiple times to create the border as shown. Do not click and drag.

3) On the lower right add some flowers
a) Choose any flower brush from the Special Effects brush list.
b) Set diameter to 444 pixel and spacing to 73%
c) Set the Foreground color to pink and the Background color to Peach. Then click on the Color Dynamics option in the Brushes Palette, and set the Foreground Background jitter to 100%,
Saturation to 15% and Purity to +5%.
d) Change the Shape Dynamics to a Size Jitter to 37% and the Minimum Diameter to 48%.
e) Create a new layer, then stamp a flower by clicking the brush once for each flower: do not click and drag.

4) For the final step give the whole background a little texture.
a) Choose Assorted Shapes from the Palette Menu list, and chose the brush named Ornament 5 (if you hover the mouse over the sample you should see the name appear.)
b) Brush Shape dimensions are 595 pixels and 865% spacing
c) Shape Dynamics are 37% size jitter, roundness jitter 91% and minimum roundness 24%
d) Scattering is scatter at 1000%, count 7, count jitter 90%
e) Color Dynamics (foreground set to white) is foreground/background jitter at 100% and purity at –78%
f) Create a new layer just above the Background layer. Click and drag in several short strokes to create the background texture.

After brushing all the graphics, experiment with the Blending Modes in the Layers Palette to see what other kind of effects they offer, slightly lower the opacity of some layers.

Be creative using brushes to stamp and stroke to create many varied backgrounds for digital scrapping.

For a printable version of this quick class, click here

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