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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Create an Ink Brush in Photoshop

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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this Photoshop tutorial, we will be learning how to create an ink brush in Photoshop, as well as how to create a quick ink text effect! 

What You Will Learn in This Adobe Photoshop Brush Tutorial

  • How to create an ink brush in Photoshop
  • How to create a text ink wash brush in Photoshop
  • How to use layer masks in Photoshop 
  • How to use gradient maps in Photoshop

Follow along with us over on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Need

To complete this project, you will need the following resources:

Find more resources on Envato Elements! 

1. How to Create an Ink Brush in Photoshop

Step 1

First, to create an ink wash brush in Photoshop, make a new canvas, and drop in an image of an ink or watercolor stroke. The color doesn't matter, just that it has a white background.

water color stroke

Step 2

Create a white to black Gradient Map adjustment layer, which will turn the image greyscale. 

greyscale brush stroke

Step 3

Next, create a Levels adjustment layer above the gradient map layer. 

Use this layer to increase the contrast of the image so that the ink becomes darker and the background becomes pure white. 

darken brush stroke

Step 4

If needed, create a new layer above both adjustment layers, keeping it set to Normal. Using a combination of both a hard and soft round Brush, paint white in the areas that still need to be hidden, like the paper texture on the background. 

This particular image does not need it. 

Step 5

Finally, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. If the option is greyed out, simply Right-Click > Merge Visible all of your layers, and then shrink the canvas down to 3000 px wide and try again.

You can use your brush by selecting the Brush Tool and going into The Brush Preset Picker. It will appear below all previous brush presets. 

define brush preset

Step 6

Create a second and third set of more textured ink blot Photoshop brushes by hiding the levels layer and repeating the above steps! 

Create as many brushes as you'd like. I made two more for a total of three. 

create second brush

2. How to Create an Ink Wash Text Effect 

Step 1

Once you've finished creating your ink blot Photoshop brushes, open a new canvas, and type out your text using a thick or brush stroke font in black.  

brush stroke font

Step 2

Add a Layer Mask to the text. Using one of your ink brushes set to black, mask out portions of the text. I used the lighter of the three brushes I made earlier. 

mask out text

Step 3

Next, create a New Layer below your text. Paint solid black strokes of ink using your new brushes, making them look as if the ink is bleeding and flowing from the text. 

add brush strokes

Step 4

Drag and drop a wrinkled paper image under your text, changing the layer mode to Pin Light. Turn the image greyscale with Image > Adjustment > Black & White. This will give you a very light paper grid texture.

Feel free to experiment with different layer modes on different color backgrounds! 

add paper texture background

3. How to Use Gradient Maps in Photoshop 

Step 1

Looking for a quick and easy way to create a colored ink effect? Try gradient maps! 

Open up the Adjustments panel by going to  Window > Adjustments. Choose Gradient Map, placing it above all other layers.

add color with gradient maps

Step 2

Double-click the gradient in the Gradient Map's Properties panel. Open the Reds preset folder, choosing the first preset.

Instant colored ink! You can experiment with all of the other colored presets as well. 

Conclusion 

And that's all there is to creating an ink splash brush in Photoshop! Create your very own set of Photoshop brushes for inking, perfect for text, images, and graphics. Don't forget to add a quick splash of color using gradient maps!

How to Create an Ink Brush in Photoshop

In a Hurry? 

Don't have time to create a set of ink brushes yourself? Try these five premium ink splash brushes in Photoshop and save yourself some time! All from Envato Elements! 

Photoshop Ink Brushes

Photoshop Ink Brushes

The set includes a total of 36 brushes! All these brushes were created from real China ink samples scanned and transformed into brushes for an even more realistic result. Use these premium brushes to push your design to the next level. Create the perfect project using the ink in water brush in Photoshop today! 

82 Sumi-E Ink Strokes

82 Sumi-E Ink Strokes

This brush pack contains a whopping 82 hand-painted paint stroke ink brushes for Photoshop. Use these high-res Photoshop brushes to create photo borders, texture, paintings, and more.

100 Watercolor Ink Photoshop Brushes

100 Watercolor Ink Photoshop Brushes

Looking for a set of ink wash brushes for Photoshop? This set is the one! With over 100 brushes to choose from, you will never have to worry about reusing the same two ink brushes in the same project. This ink in water brush for Photoshop is hyper-realistic and can be used for both inking and watercolor.

30 Gofe Ink Photoshop Brushes

30 Gofe Ink Photoshop Brushes

The Gofe ink splash brush for Photoshop was made by hand, so the ink produced is incredibly realistic! With 30 brushes in total, this pack has all of the essential ink shapes you might need, including circles and long stripes of painted ink.

66 Long Ink Strokes Photoshop Stamp Brushes

66 Long Ink Strokes Photoshop Stamp Brushes

If you need a set of Photoshop brushes for inking, this pack has all of the long, straight lines you will need! These brush textures are high resolution and a great addition to any professional project. 


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