Smith Micro Graphics Software Blog

Creating and Using Custom Brushes in Clip Studio Paint

Posted by Smith Micro Blogger on May 17, 2017 8:25:00 AM

Creating And Using Custom Brushes In Clip Studio

By: Tammy Coron

In this Clip Studio tutorial, you’ll learn how to work with custom brushes. This includes importing brushes and creating your own brushes. As an added bonus, you’ll also learn how you can share your custom brushes with other Clip Studio users!

Note: In Clip Studio, ‘brushes’ are sub tools; and sub tools can be more than just brushes. They can be pens, pencils, erasers, and more. For simplicity, this tutorial uses the term 'brush.'

Importing Custom Brushes

The first thing to do is grab yourself these FREE BRUSHES from Day Of The Indie. This will give you something to play with.

You can also get yourself the 16 Zombie Killin’ Brush pack from there too, if you’re looking to build your brush collection.

16 Zombie Killin’ Brushes

Now that you have some brushes, it’s time to get to work!

STEP 1: Prepare a spot for the new brushes

I typically keep my custom brushes separate from everything else. Of course, this is a matter of preference, but it does help to keep things organized.

The easiest way to do this is to copy an existing brush. When doing so, it’s important to choose one that is similar to the brush (or sub tool) you’re installing. In this case, the “brush” is actually a pen.

To select the [Pen] tool group, press ‘P’ on your keyboard, or click the Pen tool icon.

Pen Tool


With the ‘Textured pen’ selected, click on the ‘Create copy of currently selected sub tool’ option, which is located at the bottom of the [Tool] palette.


Copy Sub Tool
When prompted, enter ‘COPY’ in the ‘Name’ field.


 Rename Duplicate

Now that you have a copy of the ‘Textured pen,’ it’s time to use it to create the new tool group, which will hold your custom brushes. To do that, drag the ‘COPY’ to the top of the [Tool] palette. This will create a new tool group named ‘COPY.’

Move Brush 


You’re now ready to import your brushes.

STEP 2: Import the new brushes

Okay, here’s the deal… there’s more than one way to import brushes! If you only want to add one brush, you can add it from within Clip Studio using the ‘Import sub tool…’ option from the [Tool] palette.

Import Single Brush


While that method certainly works, there’s a better way, especially, when you’re looking to install multiple brushes. In Clip Studio, make sure the tool group in which you want to add your brushes is selected. Then, move the canvas out of the way to gain access to your file system. On a Mac, this is Finder.

Select the brushes you want to install, and then drag them over to Clip Studio.

Import Multiple Brushes 

Huzzah! Your brushes are now available in Clip Studio!

Creating Custom Brushes

Now that you know how to import someone else’s brushes, it’s time to learn how to make your own.

STEP 1: Set up the canvas

The first step to creating your own custom brush is to get the canvas set up properly. Start by creating a new project.

To create a new project, select ‘File’ -> ‘New…’ from the main menu.

Create New File

For the best results, use the following settings:

Width: 2000 px

Height: 2000 px

Resolution: 300

Basic expression color: Gray Paper

Color: Green

Canvas Settings 

The most important setting is the ‘Basic expression color,’ which is set to Gray. If set incorrectly, the brush will not behave as expected. For example, you won’t be able to select a color when you go to use the brush. Also, while it’s not necessary to select a GREEN ‘Paper color,’ I find that it helps when creating the brush design.

STEP 2: Create the brush tip for the brush

With your canvas prepared, it’s time to create your brush. This is done by creating a brush tip, which is essentially just an image.

To create a brush tip, draw whatever you want on ‘Layer 1’ inside the canvas. The final image here will be used for your brush tip.

Because the canvas is set up with a ‘Basic expression color’ of ‘Gray,’ you’ll be able to use any color from the palette, and it’ll automatically adjust itself to gray-scale.

Brush Tip Image 

Note: You can create some wicked cool brush patters by introducing various shades of gray. Also, you may have noticed that in the screen shot, my ‘Layer 1’ is named ‘Custom Brush.’ I strongly encourage you to name your layers.

STEP 3: Save the material

When you’re happy with how things look, you’re ready to save the image as ‘Material, which you can then later use for your brush tips.

With ‘Layer 1’ selected, choose ‘Edit’ -> ‘Register Material’ -> ‘Image…’ from the main menu.

Register Material

Inside the ‘Material property’ window, there are a few options which must be set:

Material name: Custom Brush

Material settings for brush: Use for brush tip shape

Location to save material: Image material


Keep in mind, you can name your brush anything you want. Also, don’t forget to mark the material as a ‘brush tip shape.' You’d be surprised how easy it is to forgot this important step!

Note: In order to keep things neat and orderly, I created a new material folder (‘DOTI material’). I also added a ‘Search tag’ (‘DOTI’) to help make it easier to locate this material image later.

Once you have everything set accordingly, click the ‘OK’ button.

Congratulations! You just made your first material object. 

New Material 


You’re now ready to move on to the best part: creating the brush!

STEP 4: Create the brush

With the ‘COPY’ brush selected, right-click and select ‘Settings of sub tool…’

Setting Of Sub Tool


Rename the brush from ‘COPY’ to ‘Custom Brush’, then click the ‘OK’ button.

Rename Brush


Now, select the ‘Tool property’ tab, and click the wrench at the bottom of the tab. This triggers the ‘Show [Sub Tool Detail palette]’ action.

Sub Tool Detail

Inside the [Sub Tool Detail] palette, you can set a number of options. One of the most important options is the ‘Brush tip’. This is where you select the image you created earlier.


To select a brush tip, click the ‘Add brush tip shape’ button.

Add Brush Tip 


Now, select the brush tip you from the list of the materials.

Select Brush Tip 


Once you brush tip is selected, you can customize other options like, ‘Brush Size’, ‘Ink’, ‘Spraying effect’, and more.

Brush Tip Settings


When you have the brush looking and working the way you want, you’re ready for the next step!

STEP 5: Export your custom brushes

To export a brush so you can share (or sell it!) with others, highlight the brush in the [Sub Tool] palette, and then right-click.

Now, select the ‘Export sub tool…’ option from the menu.

Export Tool 


When prompted, select a location to save your brush, and click the ‘Save’ button. That’s it!

Save Brush

You can now share your brushes!

STEP 6: Optional cleanup

If you’re a stickler for organization, you may want to rename your Tool group. To do that, right-click on the group name, and select ‘Settings of sub tool group..’.

Group Settings 

Then, give it a name and click ‘OK.'

Group Name

That’s it! You’re all set. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you’re interested in more tutorials like this, head over to Day Of The Indie

This tutorial is also available as a video tutorial. Watch it here.

 About the Author

Tammy Coron is an independent creative professional and the host of Roundabout: Creative Chaos. She’s also the co-founder of Day Of The Indie — a site for game designers, developers, and enthusiasts. To learn more about Tammy, visit her website at


Topics: CLIP STUDIO PAINT (Manga Studio)

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