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Rough Primitives: Free Brush Set

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Drawing and shading tutorial header

Anyone who’s ever had to take an art class has been there: drawing and shading basic shapes such as the classic sphere, cone, and cube. Maybe not everyone’s most exciting choice of subject to sketch, but did you know that basic shapes make for some amazing shading brushes? This week we’re bringing you a set of very useful tools that take things back to the fundamentals of art. The set includes a number of brushes that can help you create some shading and textures useful for any kind of painting. There are also several stamp brushes ideal for anything unique and decorative. Download the Rough Primitives Brush Set and take a look for yourself! Check out the tips and tricks below to help you along the way.

Shading with primitive shapes

We thought we’d take this opportunity to practice shading basic shapes and perhaps improve your shading techniques. We sometimes forget that everyday objects, and even the human body, is made up of basic shapes. By practicing how to draw and shade “primitive” shapes (cones, cubes, spheres, etc.) you can learn to shade pretty much everything correctly. If you like, you can download the Primitive Shapes.tif file you see below to open up in SketchBook and practice directly on the cone, sphere, and cube with your new brush set.

primitive shapes light

When shading actual objects, it’s sometimes harder to determine exactly how to shade to create a sense of depth. You have to use your judgment to figure out if something has a hard edge (like the cube) or a softer edge (like the sphere or cone). For example, an article of clothing could have a wrinkle that appears to have a hard edge with sharp contrast to make the fold pop out. But it could also have a subtle shade that’s a soft gradient without a distinct cut off. And if you really want a photorealistic look, keep in mind elements such as bounce light (light that’s reflected off of another surface) and how certain objects such as food absorb light in different ways (like the subtle glow of a raspberry). Artistic choices like these take time to master; never be afraid to reference real life examples or do a quick search on the internet to figure out what route you should take.

primitive shapes shading

Pay attention to the light source we’ve provided for you. If you want more of a challenge for this exercise, change the position of the light source or even use some complex shapes or objects to shade from different angles. Like everything in the world of art, keep practicing and eventually it will be second nature to quickly figure out exactly where to shade and where to add light.

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).