Photoshop Blog

A Behind-the-Brush Look at Kyle T. Webster’s Photoshop Mastery

One of the Photoshop community’s most admirable qualities is its collaborative spirit. Artists helping each other and benefiting from each other’s work is always awesome to see, and is especially perpetuated by Kyle T. Webster.

If you’re an illustrator or digital artist, I’ll bet you’ve either used or heard of Kyle’s custom Photoshop brushes. We caught up with him recently to learn more about his history and process:

Can you tell us about your progression in Photoshop? How did you make the move from painting in Photoshop to creating your own brushes?

I started using Photoshop in 1998 in my senior year of college and was instantly addicted. Immediately following college, I was hired as a web designer and I found as many excuses as possible to create graphics on the job, rather than write code. While at my first job, I started experimenting a little with brush creation as a way to create random patterns for website background elements.

Then, I was hired as a graphic designer in 2002, and it was at this company that I started getting serious about designing my own custom brushes for illustration. We had many clients who needed many different kinds of artwork and I wanted to be able to create 100% of the art in Photoshop, if possible. I was once asked to create folk art painted in acrylics on wood panels. I created custom brushes to do the job in Photoshop instead (because of the very tight deadline and inevitable rounds of revisions) and after the report was successfully printed, the client requested one of the ‘original paintings’ for their corporate office. We had to confess that there were no originals! I knew then that the tools I had created were quite good and had served their purpose.

I continued making better and better tools at the design firm and then at my own company after 2006, when it became a bit of an obsession in my downtime. Finally, in 2013, after numerous requests from associates to borrow my brushes, and when Gumroad had gone live and made it possible for independent creators to sell digital products easily, I launched kylebrush.com. I now have over 150,000 customers around the world.

What is your workflow for creating a Photoshop brush?

Actually, there is no set sequence of moves in place for creating my tools. Most of the time, I will let myself be free to create shapes for hours until I hit upon a few that seem special somehow. These shapes are often made in Photoshop using other brushes I have already built (more than 400 of them now), or will be created with natural media on paper and then scanned. Then, I will make adjustments to a tool through Photoshop’s brush engine and see how many unusual things I can make it do. This can take a few minutes or weeks of tinkering.

After I have an assortment of mostly finished brushes, I will look for common traits, and then group them together, add brushes, and refine this group until it becomes a dedicated set that emulates a certain kind of natural media. If I do not have enough for a full collection, I will add these new tools to my Megapack, which has grown over the years from 90 assorted tools to 170! Before releasing any new brushes, I will send them to a short list of beta testers who I trust to give me excellent feedback.

Kyle1

In addition to crafting brushes, you’re also an incredibly talented illustrator. Do you have a go-to brush that you use in your own work?

Thank you! Well, because of the range of brushes I have made, I find it nearly impossible to stick with any one tool anymore because they are all so fun to play with. So, these days, I find excuses to use a lot of different brushes for different assignments so that I’m never bored.

I bounce around between the watercolors, the dry media, and the gouache sets a lot. I just finished all of the art on my first picture book (Please Say Please! from Scholastic, available August of this year) with my Ultimate Gouache set, in fact, and it was really fun, and quite different from much of my work from years past.

What’s your biggest design pet peeve?

Design by committee. Nothing good ever comes from this and the best ideas always get watered down. A point person should be assigned by the client / customer to handle creative direction for a design project. And careful thought should be given by a client to hiring a designer they can trust to really bring great, on-brand ideas to the project. Hiring a ‘wrist’ to simply execute a committee-approved design usually does not lead to great results.

Your brushes have gained amazing popularity among the digital art community. Who are you most surprised uses your brushes?

I am so thankful for my customers – they write the nicest, most supportive emails and posts online and this drives me to keep going with more innovations with each new set or update. I am most surprised whenever I learn that an artist who is best known for their traditional artwork is now using my brushes as part of their process, or sometimes from start to finish for various projects.

Here is a short list of great artists who have used my brushes in their work: Olly Moss, Robert Neubecker, Sterling Hundley, Paolo Rivera, Christoph Niemann, Celine Loup, Roman Muradov, Steve Mack, Mike Moran, Gerard Dubois, Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Bradley, Ian McQue, Paul Shipper, Pascal Campion, and Dale Stephanos. Even the musician, Gerard Way, has tinkered with them – I don’t think enough people realize that he is very good at drawing, amongst other obvious talents.

KyleIllustration3

How did you find out your brushes were being used by the pros?

I usually find out about pros using my brushes through the contact form on my kylebrush.com website, through Twitter, or in person at conferences or art award events. It’s a great feeling to get a note, out of the blue, from an artist I really admire, who wants to thank me for creating these brushes. That is tough to beat.

Which of your brushes would you recommend to a novice digital painter?

I always point people to my Megapack first because it provides such a wealth of varied drawing and painting tools at a very low price. It includes a bit of everything: pencils, inks, paints, and some pastels. And, updates to the set are always free for existing owners, so that just makes it even more valuable.

Any career advice you’d give to someone breaking into the world of digital art?

My advice would be exactly the same as the advice I would give to any artist: be patient, be friendly, be objectively good at making the kind of art you wish to make and then approach the appropriate audience for this work with a combination of confidence and humility.

Be an active member of the art community and meet people who do what you do; social media is great, but real human contact is second to none, so attend conferences and conventions and get to really know your clients and fellow artists.

Inspiration, Photoshop

Join the discussion

  • By song dau tap 2 - 8:12 PM on March 11, 2016  

    Đón xem Song Đấu tập 2 phát sóng lúc 20h thứ 7 ngày 12/03/2016 trên kênh video ovuinhi.com (Tại đây)

    • By riky - 1:27 AM on April 5, 2016  

      saya ingin membuat gravity

  • By 5s online tap 579 - 5:28 AM on March 14, 2016  

    Đón xem 5s online tập 579 ruộc cóc – bắt cóc vào lúc 21h ngày 14/03/2016 được trực tiếp full hd trên kênh video ovuinhi.com (tại đây).

  • By cuoi xuyen viet 2016 tap 1 - 7:09 AM on March 16, 2016  

    Mời khán giả đón xem Cười xuyên việt tiếu lâm hội tập 1 phát sóng trực tiếp lúc 21h thứ 5 ngày 17/03/2016 trên kênh video ovuinhi.com

  • By nguoi bi an 2016 tap 4 - 6:02 PM on April 15, 2016  

    Mời khán giả đón xem Người bí ẩn 2016 tập 4 trực tiếp vào lúc 21h chủ nhật ngày 17/04/2016 trên kênh video ovuinhi.com (Tại đây).

  • By nguoi bi an 2016 tap 5 - 6:15 PM on April 22, 2016  

    Mời khán giả đón xem người bí ẩn 2016 tập 5 phát sóng trực tiếp và ập nhật nhanh nhất trên kênh video ovuinhi.com vào lúc 21h chủ nhật ngày 24/04/2016.

  • By ANDRIJA - 9:51 AM on April 28, 2016  

    KURAC

  • By Angelina veronica - 1:25 PM on May 5, 2016  

    Very creative idea you have shared

  • By Sonya - 4:02 AM on May 6, 2016  

    I’m very glad to see such funny pictures . The first picture is very funny .

  • By Ơn Giời Cậu Đây Rồi 2015 Mùa 2 Tập 12 - 8:00 AM on May 17, 2016  

    Hãy cùng xem các khách mời giả gái như thế nào khi đứng cạnh ông hoàng trong vai trò này là danh hài Hoài Linh nhé. Đến với haihoailinh.net là đến với những giây phút hài hước nhất, cười sảng khoái nhất.

  • By Vong Chong - 2:12 AM on May 25, 2016  

    Impressive painting . Thanks for sharing .
    I like such painting .

  • By Dmitry - 9:14 AM on May 25, 2016  

    You made my day! Thanks for the post

  • By bien hoa hoan hao tap 4 - 6:39 PM on May 27, 2016  

    Mời khán giả cùng đón xem chương trình biến hóa hoàn hảo tập 4 phát sóng trực tiếp lúc 21h thứ 7 ngày 28/05/2016 trên kênh video ovuinhi.com (Tại đây).

  • By bien hoa hoan hao tap 5 - 6:00 PM on June 3, 2016  

    Từ khóa: bien hoa hoan hao tap 5, clip bien hoa hoan hao tap 5 full hd, biến hóa hoàn hảo tập 5 full hd

  • By guong mat thuong hieu tap 1 - 1:23 AM on June 25, 2016  

    Đón xem Gương mặt thương hiệu tập 1 – The Face Vietnam 2016 vào lúc 20h ngày 18/06/2016 được cập nhật mới nhất trên kênh video ovuinhi.com.

  • By truyen xuyen khong - 9:35 PM on July 10, 2016  

    Doc online truyen xuyen khong moi nhat

  • By Marcus - 11:58 AM on August 7, 2016  

    I was waiting for this sort of subject. Thank you very much for the post.

  • By Printable 2017 Calendar - 11:50 PM on November 21, 2016  

    Awesome One.