Free Fur Brush Set: Paint Realistic Fur and Fluff with Textured Brushes

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We’ve published many in-depth tutorials on animal anatomy, so we thought it only made sense to create a Fur Brush Set for our users. Instead of having to painstakingly paint each stroke of hair, you can quickly add semi-realistic or realistic fur textures to your animal drawings with these thirteen brushes. With digital brushes it’s certainly faster and easier than traditional methods to paint realistic fur.

We painted a quick photo study of a gray wolf (using a reference photo from National Geographic) to show how to use the fur brushes to create that realistic effect. Though we chose to paint a wolf, you can use these brushes to paint all kinds of furry creatures.

The painting process broken down into five steps.
The painting process broken down into five steps.

From Silhouette to Shaggy

Start with the basic shape and colors of the wolf. This process was quick and messy – you only need a general idea of the fur’s color palette. The fur brushes will layer on top of this, which will add the realistic texture we’re looking for.

wolf base

After mapping out the colors of the image, use the Short Fur or Short Sparse Fur brush to add texture to the wolf’s muzzle and overall face area. Remember that fur grows in a natural direction, so lay down the brush strokes facing in the same direction, just as the red arrows indicate on the image below. For longer fur, drag the Thick Fur Wisps brush in horizontal sweeps along the sides of the wolf, just as the blue arrows indicate. Depending on the type of animal fur you are painting, you can use any of the longer fur brushes (such as Wavy Fur and Straight Fur) to fill out the textures.

wolf fur tutorial

If you don’t like a particular section that you’ve painted, use the Rough Grainy Eraser so you don’t have harsh eraser lines on your image. For finishing touches, use the Fur Smudge Brush and Strand Brush to add extra wisps of fur.

wolf finished
Finished photo study painting.

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 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).