Designers have been slowly pushing from Adobe’s growing monopoly on creative software and GIMP is an open-source alternative. It’s a powerful graphics editor opposing Photoshop that offers most of the same features including custom GIMP brushes.
In fact, as of GIMP v2.8+ it’s now possible to import .abr brush files directly into GIMP. This means all Photoshop brushes should be useable in the newer versions of GIMP.
So how do you get started with GIMP and find the best brushes for your design work? I’ve curated a handful of sites with loads of free brushes that you can download, customize, and use for any & all of your digital design projects.
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It should go without saying that DeviantArt belongs at the top of this post. It is undoubtedly the largest library of free brushes and resources for all design programs.
You can browse through the free GIMP brushes under DeviantArt resources posted by DA users. Each creator organizes their posts differently so you’ll really want to search through the archives to see what’s out there.
Just remember that you can also use PS brushes by importing them into GIMP. Most should work fine and compatibility is rarely an issue as GIMP continues to update the software.
And if you find a lovely piece of work on DA feel free to contact the original creator. They’re often willing to share brushes they create or let you know which brushes they used to create their own work.
But when first getting started on your search for GIMP brushes I have to recommend the DeviantArt community first and foremost.
Another handy resource is the GIMP-only community called GIMP Stuff. The site has loads of great resources including free brushes submitted by GIMP users.
The brush category is not updated very often because GIMP users mostly rely on other websites for sharing. But GIMP Stuff is a great place overall with a helpful(yet small) community of dedicated GIMP users.
Brush sets are hard to come by so you really want to spend time looking for them. And if you create anything worth sharing then drop it into the GIMPStuff website to give back to the community.
Undeniably the largest design brush resource on the web is Brusheezy. Dozens of free brushes are added constantly to a growing library of high-quality brush packs.
You can browse all brushes sorting by submission date, or even browse categories on the site.
The best thing about Brusheezy is the quality search feature. It’s super easy to use and pulls hundreds of relevant search results for any query you could imagine.
It does offer similar resources like UI kits, repeating patterns, and custom textures. But the brush library has over 2,500 different brushes to choose from and it’s growing larger every month.
If you’re struggling to find quality brushes in Google or in DeviantArt then give Brusheezy a try.
The Texture Mate website has a bunch of custom categories for resource organization. Most relate to custom textures but there is a free brush pack section full of custom brushes for Photoshop and GIMP users.
Thankfully with modern support for .abr files it’s easier to blur the line between these two programs. Photoshop brushes are fair game for all GIMP users and can be used interchangeably with no issues.
In my experience Texture Mate offers more generic brushes or pulls from other websites. They’re not bad brush packs, however there is room to be desired for greater variety.
Lastly I’d like to introduce BrushLovers, a design gallery with a primary focus on digital design brushes. You’ll find hundreds of free brushes along with gradients and patterns.
Take the time and search through all their brushes to see what’s available. At the moment I count just over 1,500+ unique brushes in the gallery with infrequent updates every so often.
BrushLovers is more of a digital design resource than anything else. It does have a focus on brushes but tries to offer content to a wide array of users.
All of these resources are completely free and super easy to use. Since brushes are a scarce commodity they’re not easy to find in Google. Designers often share brushes personally on their own websites or on Gumroad, but these links are scattered across the Internet.
I hope this post offers some truly reliable brush resource websites that you can use for years to come. With more designers entering the creative field it’s only becoming easier to find great resources and put them to work in quality design projects.
And if you’re looking for more free brushes be sure to check out these related posts.