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Colin Smith
February 6, 2017

Note:  This blog post and brush set was originally created by Michelle Li

We’ve published many in-depth tutorials on animal anatomy, so we thought it only made sense to create a Fur Brush Set for our users. Instead of having to painstakingly paint each stroke of hair, you can quickly add semi-realistic or realistic fur textures to your animal drawings with these thirteen brushes. With digital brushes it’s certainly faster and easier than traditional methods to paint realistic fur.

We painted a quick photo study of a gray wolf (using a reference photo from National Geographic) to show how to use the fur brushes to create that realistic effect. Though we chose to paint a wolf, you can use these brushes to paint all kinds of furry creatures.

From Silhouette to Shaggy

Start with the basic shape and colors of the wolf. This process was quick and messy – you only need a general idea of the fur’s color palette. The fur brushes will layer on top of this, which will add the realistic texture we’re looking for.

After mapping out the colors of the image, use the Short Fur or Short Sparse Furbrush to add texture to the wolf’s muzzle and overall face area. Remember that fur grows in a natural direction, so lay down the brush strokes facing in the same direction, just as the red arrows indicate on the image below. For longer fur, drag the Thick Fur Wisps brush in horizontal sweeps along the sides of the wolf, just as the blue arrows indicate. Depending on the type of animal fur you are painting, you can use any of the longer fur brushes (such as Wavy Fur and Straight Fur) to fill out the textures.

If you don’t like a particular section that you’ve painted, use the Rough Grainy Eraser so you don’t have harsh eraser lines on your image. For finishing touches, use the Fur Smudge Brush and Strand Brush to add extra wisps of fur.

Finished photo study painting

Installing the Brush Set

If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook, simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install.

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Colin Smith

Colin is a Sr. Product Manager on the Automotive and Conceptual Design Team at Autodesk. During his 25-year career in the CAD industry he has worked in customer support, training, consulting and as a product manager for Alias and Fusion 360. Currently, he works on SketchBook Pro and Create VR and is based in Toronto, Canada.