Brushes are a lesser-used feature of Photoshop that designer Silvia Bukovac Gaševi has exploited to extreme effect. The concept is simple: Create an image, define it as a brush, and apply it with the Paintbrush tool.
As an example, she suggests, “Let’s say I wish to add a snowing effect to a graphic. Instead of placing snowflakes one by one to the image, I just select a snowflake brush.”
Gaševi’s website at graphics-illustrations.com contains a huge variety of brush patterns, ranging from alphabets to leaves to lipstick impressions. Some designs are for sale, while others are free.
The site also offers tutorials, beginning with basics and progressing to esoteric topics such as “How to create grungy vector brushes.” Gaševi creates many of her brushes in Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw before importing them to Photoshop, but a few have a more organic genesis. “My Coffee Stains brushes,” she says, “are real stains that are scanned and imported directly into Photoshop.”
There’s only one snag if you want to brush up on your brushes: you’ll need Photoshop 7 or later to make full use of this feature.