Free Photoshop Pencil Brushes


I do all my artwork from start to finish in Photoshop. It’s a very powerful program and overall I enjoy using it. But I’ve never been thrilled with Photoshop’s brushes.

There’s nothing in Photoshop that does a good job simulating the look and feel of a real-world graphite pencil. Painter and Sketchbook Pro are have pretty good pencil brushes, but I’m so used to Photoshop that I don’t really want to go to the trouble and expense of learning a new program. Instead, to simulate pencil I’ve been using the standard hard-brush tool in Photoshop with the opacity set to 30%. That way I get a thin gray line that I can build up with pressure and crosshatching. For rough sketching it gets the job done but it’s really not the same thing. The results are satisfactory at best.


Then I discovered these Photoshop brushes (Nagel Series 33) from Dave Nagel at that do a pretty good job of simulating graphite and chalk. I’ve only had a little time to play around with them and have yet to try them on a client project, but so far I really like them. It’s a huge improvement over anything that comes standard with Photoshop. My favorite is an 11-point brush called NagelSeries33-CharcoalPencil1. I used it to sketch the doodle up above. The texture looks like a lot like graphite, and you can get a nice range of dark-to-light simply by pressing harder with the Wacom stylus. I think I’ll be using it a lot.

And best of all, the brushes are free. You can download the brushes and get instructions on how to install them here.



40 thoughts on “Free Photoshop Pencil Brushes

  1. Awesome! Thanks for the link Cedric.

    I’ve tried them out and there’s a couple of brushes that I really like! Will be adding them to the favourite brushes file 🙂

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  4. Hey Cedric. Jon from Mojo Solo here. Just happened across you site (#1 result for Photoshop Pencil Brushes) — thanks for sharing. Great job on the blog.

  5. I am 13 yrs old. I love to draw One day i would love to be a cartoon artist. I would like information in how to become a cartoon artist.

  6. Hey darling, great website! I genuinely like this post.. I was curious about this for a long time now. This cleared a lot up for me! Do you have a rss feed that I can add?

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  10. When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

    • I spent some time poking around my blog settings and unfortunately I can’t find a way to turn off the automatic notifications for an individual commenter. I guess that’s something you’ll have to investigate, maybe you can turn it off using your WordPress or OpenID account? Sorry about that.

  11. GREAT brush set.I’ve been searching for a perfect pencil brush for years,to save me the hassle of drawing+scanning by hand before colouring.Its so close to the real thing…Thank you!

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