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Abstract Texture Brush Set by Keith Cowan

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Another week, another brush set. This week’s free brush set was made by Keith Cowan, a Texas native who uses SketchBook Pro to create astonishingly detailed abstract and surreal pieces. The sixteen-piece brush set includes a wide range of textured brushes adaptable to any style of painting. Download Keith’s Abstract Brushes to your desktop and double click the .skbrushes file to install. If you’re as impressed with Keith’s art as we are, read on to learn more about his background and work process.

abstract art in sketchbook pro
An astonishingly complex work in progress by Keith Cowan shows just how much work goes into his drawings.

As you’ll notice in some of the art we’re sharing here, Keith focuses a lot on lines and shading. But if you look really closely, you’ll see that the shading is often done with textured brushes. Sometimes the shading follows the light source, but sometimes it does its own thing, which helps give his work that surreal look. It’s a look that says something’s not quite normal here. His brush set is largely composed of these textured brushes. Try this technique out and see if it works in your own process.

About Keith Cowan

A firm believer in lack of planning, Cowan’s method of creating art consists of simply drawing or painting whatever pops into his head and letting it develop as he goes forward. He has a tendency to stay within the realm of the surreal which, when combined with the element of spontaneity, results in highly unique and striking art. He makes a lot of extremely detailed black and white pieces which can take over a hundred hours to complete. But he’s also a fan of using colour, which he says he intends to explore more for the remainder of this year.

Cowan pen painting

When it comes to the tools of the trade, Cowan uses a variety of platforms: the always flexible iPad Pro, a desktop computer accompanied by a Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD Touch, and the traditional go-to Koh-I-Noor technical pen. As an avid user of the SketchBook Pro app, these days he creates more digital art than traditional. A quick Google search will show you that Cowan is very active in the online art community. He is admin of the Facebook group The Mobile Artists Collective and is involved in a number of other online forums and websites. In his spare time, he also does beta testing for SketchBook (both on desktop and iOS). Take a look at his Facebook Page and Deviant Art page if you’d like to see more of his work.

Cowan black and white

Installing the brush sets

Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook subscribers. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook, simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried the subscription, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).