Photoshop Grime Brushes

Brushes have been a fundamental feature in Photoshop since its first ever versions.

Of the many tools found inside Photoshop, none are as widely used as the humble brush. From flyer designers, digital painters, photographers and illustrators; the brush tool has its place.

New users are often enthralled by the power of the seemingly simple brush. Its single-click ability to add photorealistic effects is truly awesome. Furthermore, the ever growing world of new Photoshop brushes never bores a creative mind.

In this quick blog post I’m going to share with you my most-used Photoshop Brushes. I use each of the brushes featured in this post in many of the flyer templates I produce here on FlyerHeroes.

Many of you may expect I use bold and striking brushes, yet the opposite is actually true.

Whilst I use these brushes frequently in my work, at first glance it may not be noticeable. Most of the time they’re used sparingly. Primarily for adding subtle grime textures and weathered effects to my flyer designs.

I have included 3 comparison images in this post to help illustrate the ways I use these brushes. As usual if you have any questions, please just leave a comment and I’ll be sure to reply.

Disclaimer: Some of these brushes I made myself, some are free and some you’ll have to spend a few bucks on.

“Paint Brush Wash” – Long-Stroked Photoshop Brushes

Wet Brush Stroke Wash example on Vintage Thrills Flyer Template

Wet Brush Stroke Wash example on Vintage Thrills Flyer Template

To replicate a worn and weathered appearance on Vintage Thrills Flyer Template, many different tools and effects are used. Yet the most notable is the addition of what I dub a “paint brush wash”.

In the above image you can see the dramatic results achieved by adding these brush strokes to the flyer.

To do this I’ve simply applied long-stroked paint brushes over the top of the design. This mimics the appearance of a poster after weeks pasted onto a wall.

Long-stroked Photoshop brushes are great for recreating this “wash” effect. They also make great backgrounds for titles and are perfect for borders and edges.


Dry Brush Strokes for Adobe Photoshop

12 Free High Res Dry Brush Stroke Photoshop Brushes

I’m a big fan of Chris Spooner and his website SpoonGraphics. Chris has been posting useful graphic design resources since early 2007.

This pack of Dry Brush Strokes has been in my “go to resources” folder since the day they were published. Their high resolution and photorealistic paint brush style make them an ideal choice for print designers.

Wet Brush Strokes Photoshop Brushes

163 Wet Paint Stroke Brush Set ($10)

After searching for good quality brushes to add wet paint effects to my work I decided to create my own, albeit covering my apartment in paint!

Though messy to create, these brushes are intricately detailed. They’ve also proved their usefulness as my most-used set o’ strokes.

Free Distressed Halftone Brush Strokes

21 Distressed Halftone Brush Strokes

Another set of Photoshop brushes I created myself. Though originally the “rejects” of my premium sets, I overcame their flaws by adding creative halftone effects.

To date they’ve clocked more than 43,000 downloads and I’ve even seen them on the History Channel!


Grime Photoshop Brushes

An example of how to overlay grime on flyer designs, using Conkor Flyer Template.

An example of how to overlay grime on flyer designs, using Conkor Flyer Template.

The above featured flyer template can be downloaded for free here.

I find that adding subtle touches of grime to a flyer is the quickest way to make the page feel more “realistic”.

Of course you won’t want to add grime to every design you produce. But I do find these effects work well on indie flyer designs and other items which require a “rustic” appeal.


Wefunction Subtle Grime Brushes

Subtle Grime Brushes by Wefunction

Liam McKay’s Wefunction is another long-time star in the graphic design community. He’s regularly publishing freebies like this fantastic collection of subtle grime brushes.

This set of subtle brushes gives you the ability to add realistic grime effects to your work with just one click.

55 Subtle Grunge Brush Strokes by Liam McKay

55 Subtle Grunge Photoshop Brushes ($9)

This set of 55 Photoshop brushes is the premium version of the aforementioned freebie.

Again produced by Liam McKay from Wefunction. This pack features a variety of “grunge” styles which can be combined to produce wonderful worn-out effects (particularly on flyers).

Element Photoshop Brushes by Nathan Brown

Element Photoshop Brush Set

“Element” is a set of Photoshop brushes by GraphicMonkee. They feature beautiful scratched-leather like textures.

It’s a uniquely great brush set, especially for using in your flyer design projects. Unfortunately the license prevents us from using it in our templates – oh well!


Bonus – Paper Folds (Texture)

An example of using paper fold textures on Indie Stump Poster Template.

An example of using paper fold textures on Indie Stump Poster Template.

The above featured design, “Indie Stump Poster Template”, can be downloaded here.

As print designers who’re creating flyers, it’s only natural that we like to add paper-style effects to our work. After all, paper is our medium.

Whilst this effect can be added quite simply in real life (by folding the paper), including it as part of the design can produce a beautiful juxtaposition when printed.

The effect of adding weathered paper and folded paper textures to your design is another style I think works particularly well with indie flyers.


Free Folded Paper Textures by DesignerCandies

Hi-Res Folded Paper Textures

This is another free resource I produced on DesignerCandies. I got bored with overly-realistic paper folds and decided I wanted something a little more unique.

With these free textures you can add bold paper folds to your work with a beautiful halftone effect – definitely something a little more interesting!


I hope you found this post useful and possibly discovered some new go-to resources.

I’m often asked about the grungy effects applied to some of my designs and many people are surprised to learn it’s as simple as a brush stroke 🙂

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