In the real world, wear and tear happens on everything we interact with. Grunge can tell the story behind an object — from the torn edges of your favorite hoodie to the paint that peels from that spot where you always place your hand.
How do you make your artwork feel gritty and grainy? With our free set of SketchBook Grunge Brushes. Adding textures (a brand-new feature) can make your artwork more realistic and visually interesting. Twelve different dirty textures are in this set: Oil Spots, Tire Treads, Dirt Splash, and many more.
It’s a pretty simple matter to take something squeaky clean and make it a mess. Follow along as we dirty up a shiny blue robot.
How to Lay Down the Grunge
After installing the Grunge Brush Set, open it up and give it a look. You’ve got twelve different types of gritty goodness to muss up your drawing with. I made a new layer for my grunge under the robot line art, and I went to town! Check out the transformation below from clean to scratched up:
Use Transparent Ink for Detail
The Grunge brush textures look good, but they can be even more unique with “transparent ink.” Transparent ink is a special feature in SketchBook. You can find it in the color puck, right here:
With transparent ink, any brush you use actually becomes an eraser. That means you can use any textured shape, like the grunge brushes, and add more detail by erasing the edges.
Play with Blending Modes
Blending modes are a powerful way to get neat effects quickly. They use complicated equations to change the way the layer’s color behaves in relation to the other layers. You can find them in the Layer Editor menu here:
On my grunge layer, I tried out a few blending modes to see the way it changed up my robot. Depending on the colors and tones you use in your art — the dark and the light — you’ll get wildly different results from each blending mode.
You should try as many as you can. You might be surprised at what happens! Check out this video below, which shows Normal blending mode vs. Soft Glow and Multiply:
Installing the Brush Set
Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook Pro members. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook (version 8), 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 SketchBook Pro, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).