I recently wanted to put an image on some wood in photoshop, but wanted it to look like it had a border. I looked for Photoshop brushes and they all did a pretty good job, but what I really wanted was a technique that I could use to get various effects. This was my solution;

Photoshop Art Brush

Photoshop Art brushes work a little differently to regular brushes. Used with a graphics tablet it can give a more natural feel for digital painters. In this tutorial I won’t be using a tablet but I will be using the different settings.


As you can see we have a lot of control over how the brush behaves and I’ll be using this to make several different effects.


Image Set Up – Keeping it Non Destructive


I’ve moved the image of the young woman sitting on the mountain at sunset to its own layer [1] then under that added a wood texture. [2]

With the young woman layer active I’ve added an Hide All layer mask [3].


Now when I paint with white on the layer mask I’ll be revealing the young woman layer.

Setting Up The Brush


I’ve got some interesting results from the Round Fan brush so that’s where I’ll start for this tutorial, and for the first go I’ll leave it at it’s default settings.

Add Brush Strokes

With a large brush size I’ll start at the bottom left with a single click, then holding Shift click at the top leftish. By pressing Shift the brush strokes in a straight line between the two points. By zig-zagging my way across the screen I can make some nice brush strokes.


Add More Effects

This is all well and good, but I want to experiment some more. With the woman image active I’ll press Ctrl+j (PC) / Cmd+j (Mac) then, with the layer mask selected press Ctrl+Backspace / Cmd+Backspace to fill it with black.

Then I’ll turn the visibility of the first layer off.


I can then alter the brush to get a different effect;



The variance in the brush it endless and I can quickly build up a series of different ‘looks’.


Add a Little Depth


For my image I’ll add a little bevel and Emboss to add a little depth to the image;


Blend It

To make the image blend in with the wood texture I’ll change the Blending Mode to one of the Darken modes;