The brush tool in SAI works a little differently than Photoshop or Krita. It uses textures to design brushes along with other settings that you can customize on the fly.
This means a lot of artists will take screenshots of their brush settings and release them online, but they won’t always release a full brush file. This is because the brushes often rely on textures to create the end result.
Some of the newer versions of SAI do not come with all the same textures. Naturally this is pretty frustrating.
But if you grab a copy of this texture pack you’ll have all the assets you need to work with the brush tool on your own.
You could even mess around with some settings to create your own custom brushes from scratch. How cool!
So I just mentioned how SAI often uses custom settings for brushes. This is even clearer with this amazing pack of 40 free brush settings.
The creator DocWendigo released a pack of textures alongside these brushes and you can download all of them right from the DeviantArt page.
All the textures are hosted on sta.sh but they’re still free to download. And on the main brush settings DA page you’ll find a step-by-step tutorial on how to install these textures/brush settings into your software.
Please note: this is a bit confusing to learn but you’ll get the hang of it with time.
Parts of the process involve copying code and editing files directly like Brushtex.conf. It sounds scarier than it is.
Realistically this is just how SAI works so it’s part of the deal when painting in this software.
It comes as a freebie from user Piromanova and the pack includes 17 unique textures tailor-made for brushes. You can alter the shape, spacing, and even change how they work based on opacity.
A lot of options to work with here.
Inside the .zip file you’ll find a set of instructions on how to install these textures too.
SAI can be really confusing if you’ve never used it before so basic instructions are pretty commonplace with texture packs.
I do recommend checking this out and testing these textures just to see what you think. They don’t follow traditional brush norms but they are really well-designed. And they can fit into a bunch of project types from custom comics to anime fan art.
If you’re looking more for shapes and unique brush styles then DigiKat04 has a pack for you.
Take a look at these custom SAI brushes and see what you think. I’d argue this pack is one of the better options if you’re doing a lot of custom effects or graphic design work mixed with illustrations.
But many of these brushes also work very nicely with digital painting. The Scale, Flat, Lace, and Flake brushes all look really nice together. I’m also a fan of the Dragonfly brush style.
Inside this pack you’ll find 12 unique brushes with a wide range of styles to work with.
Overall definitely recommend grabbing this set whether you’re a newbie or experienced artist.
Nature brushes are always nice to have. Aside from the grass brush mentioned above there’s also this free pack of leaf and bark brushes.
The textures really do feel quite natural and they’ll blend into any piece of artwork.
But I do think this pack will be tough for newbies just learning Paint Tool SAI from scratch. If you’ve never done any digital drawing in here before then spend some time with the default brushes first.
Try to use this pack more as an addition once you’re comfortable with digital painting. It feels great under your stylus but will take some adjusting.
Gumroad is one of the best websites to find digital art brushes. Problem is they’re spaced out across tons of profiles and there’s no easy way to search for everything.
But Gumroad user electroslime has a really nice brush pack that I highly recommend downloading.
This is totally free so it’s a valuable asset for beginners and experts alike. Not to mention the brush pack itself is full of so many nifty designs.
You’ll find cloud-style brushes along with pencil and pen styles to match any piece of artwork. There’s a good mix of examples in the image above with semi-blended and blended work all from these same brushes.
What I like most about this pack is the consistency. It can be used for almost any project so this is a brush set you’ll use many times over.
And let me say this brush pack does a fantastic job.
While this is hosted on Gumroad, you’ll notice it has a price tag of $0. That means you can download the entire pack for free at no cost, or choose to give a tip. Either way these brushes are available for everyone.
Gumroad is one of the best sites for artists to share tutorials, brushes, textures, everything. It’s the single largest digital download marketplace so it’s a trusted resource.
Considering you can get these brushes totally free I’d absolutely recommend grabbing them.
Especially if you’re big into game art or if you’d ever want to paint your own concept art from scratch.