Lately I have been getting quite a lot of questions about brushes and I would like to tell you something about this.

Girl with white hair, drawn in ProcreateI draw and illustrate in the Procreate app on my iPad. Over the years I have collected more than 400 brush sets and each brush set also contains several brushes. So you can say that I really have a lot of brushes 😉

I have found many free brushes online and also purchased brush sets from various artists. I also learned a lot about brushes by studying and trying them out. I have also experimented with the different functions in a brush and have now also made a number of brushes myself. And you know what's so funny? Ultimately, I only work with a few small brush sets and from those brush sets I sometimes only use a few favorite brushes!

My biggest pitfall was that I often thought: “That artist is so very good and he uses his own brushes. I must have those brushes too and then I will probably succeed in achieving that result!”. It's a bit different unfortunately, because give me the most luxurious Stradivarius violin and I probably still can't get a clean note out of it. The same goes for the brushes. Personally, I only find a brush set really interesting if you know how they are used and as a beginner you often have no idea about that. How do you get certain effects from a brush or when and at what size do you achieve that beautiful effect? And don't forget that many textures still (in my eyes) look too digital and too flat on a 'smooth' canvas.

That's why I usually, almost always actually, work with a special canvas that already has a texture in it. This immediately gives extra depth and a kind of richness to your illustration. I really like it when it all looks like it was really drawn on paper.

When I create an online lesson myself (for SkillShare, among others) or in real life, I always give you a brush set so that you can really achieve the same effect. Of course, these are self-made brushes and sometimes also a few from Procreate itself, which I have tweaked to my own taste. Furthermore, there is a homemade canvas with textures. Because you have that lesson, you can also immediately see how I use the brushes.

Roze watercolor meisje, getekend in ProcreateIt has recently also become possible to purchase my most used illustration brush set separately for €15, including a soft paper canvas. There is a small simple video tutorial available where I show how I use them, how to apply different ways of highlights and shadows and how I apply additional textures. Click here for more information.

Of all the brush sets that I have purchased myself, I am most satisfied with the brushes from Lisa Glanz. In my opinion, her watercolor brushes are really great and I really enjoy working with them. Her other sets are also super good and nice to work with. Every set she makes and sells also comes with beautiful canvases and a nice tutorial. You will then immediately learn how to use the brushes in the way they are intended and designed. Take a look at her site:

Don't forget to take a look at Procreate's brush library itself. It contains very good brushes, such as the 6 B pencil, the Larapuna and Willow Charcoal, to name a few. Just play with them, try them out at different sizes with more or less pressure, put them over or together and try out different colors and various blend modes. Some brushes also react very differently if you hold your pencil at a slightly more angle (just take a look at the 6B, which reacts just like a real pencil in that case). In short: try, test, mix and match and who knows, you might discover some really nice new effects and results yourself.

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  • Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creative and curious people, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more. On Skillshare, you’ll find inspiration from hands-on classes and teachers at the top of their creative fields, so you can take the next step in your creative journey.

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  • On my YouTube channel I have several videos in which I explain about Procreate. For example, there is a series of 26 hand letter videos, 1 video per letter of the alphabet.

    Please click here to go to my YouTube channel (opens in a new tab)

  • On Instagram I post most of my work as a photo, sometimes a reel with a tutorial or a teaser of what I'm working on at that moment. In the Stories I show more of my daily activities and often make the announcements there.

    Click here to go to my Instagram page (opens in a new tab).

  • On Facebook I have several communities where you as a member can ask questions, find information and post your work. The Dutch group was initially created for hand lettering with Procreate, but gradually more and more people get into drawing. The English group was created by Jennifer Nichols and myself, mainly to help our (future) students.

    - Click here for the 'Dutch Procreate Lettering' group (in Dutch)
    - Click here for the 'Procreate Art Community' group (in English)