Artist in residence, Kirsten Winkelbauer, shares her advice on creating custom signature brushes for your works of art.
Kirsten Winkelbauer: When you’re finishing up a design, the final touch is usually adding your logo or name to the image – after all, we need to give ourselves credit! If you’re doing this step digitally, an incredibly easy option is to turn your signature, logo, or custom design into a Photoshop brush. This way, you just select your custom brush and click!
I’m working in Photoshop CC, but the process should be the same in older versions as well. You want to start off by opening a new file. The size and dimensions are up to you, based on the design you’ll be doing. Keep in mind that the larger the file, the larger the default size for the brush will be. Here, I created an 800 px x 800 px file at 300 dpi.
Once you have your file open, the next thing you’ll need is your design. There are a few different ways to do this, from using pre-made fonts, to vector images, to custom drawings. The key thing to note is that your design should be pure black on a white background; the more defined your image is, the cleaner it will look as a brush.
The first example I did was using a pre-made font. The perk to this is, you can combine multiple fonts and have certain areas be different sizes or cases, and know that you won’t have to type that by hand every single time you want to use it on a piece. After arranging your text how you like it, go to the Edit menu and select Define Brush Preset. This function takes whatever you have on your canvas and turns all of it into a single brush.
You’ll get a pop-up window with a preview of your brush and an option to name it. Then, just click OK and you’re done! Your brush will be automatically saved into your brush library and will function like any other brush – meaning you can change the color, size and opacity.
The exact same process can be used for just about any image or design. This second example used a vector image that was designed in Illustrator and copied into Photoshop, before following the same steps. This works really well for people who use an image or logo instead of text when they sign their pieces.
If you want something a little more custom and organic, you can also create a brush of your own signature. You can create the signature by either writing it directly into your file with a Wacom or digital tablet, or you can write it on paper and scan it into your computer. For this method, just keep in mind that you might have to do some photo editing to clean up your scan.
Once you get the hang of it, there’s a lot of room for creativity! Brushes are essentially like stamps, and you can have a lot of fun playing with different colors, or layering them to get different effects. You can overlap in two different colors to get a drop shadow effect, or in different opacities to get a hazy effect with just a few clicks.
And because you can adjust the opacity and color, you can make them as bold or subdued as you want. Maybe you want your logo to stand out, or maybe you want it to look like it’s a part of the image. Your art is a reflection of yourself, so have fun with it!
Follow us on Instagram and keep an eye our for more easy tips and tricks!