Do you have trouble drawing skulls? We might have something just for you. It’s time for another free brush set for SketchBook Pro users (There’s a new one every week).
You can make a brush out of just about anything. You can tweak an existing brush until it has a stroke that you love. But brushes don’t just have to look like paintbrushes. You can take a piece of something you’ve drawn or upload an image and make that into something like a stamp. If you needed to add a zillion scales on a fish you certainly wouldn’t want to draw all of them by hand, so you make a brush and use that to paint on a pattern.
For this week’s brush set, we asked our fearless colleague Kyle Runciman to come up with something neat. And he got a little creepy on us. Skulls. Or, as we decided to call the set, “Skullz.” They’re pretty useful even if you’re not into the grotesque — and very easy to pop into SketchBook Pro and try out. Just download the Skullz Brush Set and double click on the .skbrushes file that ends up on your computer. The latest version of SketchBook Pro will open and install it. (If you use an older version of SketchBook, you’ll need to access a menu option.)
These are very nice skulls, and they work great as background elements for all kinds of images. They also work as a starting point for a naturalistic drawing, as Kyle so ably demonstrates in this video on the SketchBook Pro YouTube channel. Nice elephant, Kyle!
Tips for making your own brush icons
You can take things you’ve drawn and make them into brushes just like we did with these skulls. In fact, give it a try! Once you do, you may want to make custom icons. A few quick tips to consider when making your own icons:
- Make your images or selections square. If you choose an aspect ratio that isn’t 1:1, your icon will stretch. Not good.
- Have your image be transparent. While it’s not completely necessary to do it this way, it will look a lot better — and more uniform — in your toolset.
- The higher the resolution, the better. Your image needs to be at least 80×80 pixels. Too small will be too blurry.
A creative example
We found this absolutely wonderful drawing by Geoff Osborne, someone who has joined us on our regular Twitch channel at times. He’s a mechanical engineer who lives in Oshawa, Ontario, and he’s a long-time AutoCAD user — but also pretty great at drawing in SketchBook. We love how he took the skull idea and reverse engineered it to make this skeleton dog. It’s our new spirit animal. Thanks for the fun sketch, Geoff!
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).