Draw and paint with brushes with Photoshop on the iPad.

Learn how to use default brushes to draw and paint with Photoshop on the iPad.

With Photoshop on the iPad, you can draw and paint with brushes — whenever, wherever inspiration strikes.

Not sure where to begin? Start with selecting a brush type to create your composite.

How to choose a brush type in Photoshop

1. Tap  from the toolbar to select the brush tool.

2. A small triangle in the lower right corner of the brush icon represents hidden tool options. Long press the brush icon to reveal the Brushes panel.

3. In the Brushes panel that opens, you can scroll through a list of default brush types. Tap to select the desired brush type and apply to the canvas.

Note: The brush type used in your previous session remains selected when you use the brush tool again. You can always come back to the Brushes panel and change your brush.

Select from various brush options

Quickly adjust brush properties

Tool options corresponding to the Brush tool in Photoshop on the iPad
Tool options corresponding to the Brush tool in Photoshop on the iPad

Swipe the Color chip vertically to switch between the two colors.
Swipe the color chip vertically to switch between the two colors in the tool options.

You can adjust brush properties from the floating options panel to suit your creative work.

To bring up the tool options, simply tap the brush icon from the toolbar.

From the tool options, tap an icon to select the attribute and modify:
  • Color chip: The color chip allows you to choose a color from the color picker, enter a hex color code, or enter numbers for HSB, RGB, Lab, or CMYK colors. You can swipe the color chip vertically to easily switch between the foreground and background colors.
  • Brush size: The brush size option allows you to choose the diameter of your brush, which can vary in size from 1 to 1000 pixels. As you vary the brush size, you can also see the brush tip preview beside the tool options bar. 
  • Opacity: The opacity option sets the maximum transparency of the color you apply per brush stroke. 100% opacity represents opaqueness. As you paint over an area, the opacity doesn't exceed the set level until you complete the stroke (even when you paint over an area several times).
  • Hardness: The hardness setting controls the size of the brush’s hard center. Select a value that is a percentage of the brush diameter. 
  • More brush settings: Tap the three dots icon to bring up the settings panel. To learn more about brush settings, see More brush settings.

Apply more brush settings

To access more Brush settings, tap the three dots () icon at the bottom of the tool options bar. You can modify more brush settings as desired:

  • Blend mode: The blend mode determines how the active layer blends with the layers below it. Tap the blend mode icon to see a list of available modes. For more information, see Blending modes.
  • Roundness: The roundness setting specifies the ratio between the brush’s short and long axes. Select a percentage value. A value of 100% indicates a circular brush, a value of 0% indicates a linear brush, and intermediate values indicate elliptical brushes.
  • Angle: The angle setting specifies the angle by which an elliptical or sampled brush’s long axis is rotated from horizontal. Select a value in degrees.
  • Flow: Flow sets the rate at which color is applied on your canvas as you move your finger or stylus over an area in your document.
  • Smoothing: Smoothing produces smoother curves in brush strokes. Higher values apply increasing amounts of intelligent smoothing to your strokes. This option is most effective when you are painting quickly with a stylus; however, it may produce a slight lag time in stroke rendering.
  • Use pressure for size: Selecting Use pressure for size varies the diameter of the brush based on the brush pressure applied while painting.
  • Use pressure for opacity: Selecting Use pressure for opacity varies the opacity of the brush based on the brush pressure applied while painting.
Brush settings in Photoshop on mobile
Modify brush settings.

Load your brushes in Photoshop

You can now bring all your custom brushes into Photoshop on the iPad. Follow these simple steps to load your favorite brushes in Photoshop on the iPad: 

  1. Tap and hold the brush  icon from the toolbar to bring up the Brushes panel.

  2. In the Brushes panel, tap the '+' icon at the bottom to load more custom brushes while you work:


    Discover new brushes: Use this option to discover and download hundreds of free brushes to work with.


    On selecting Discover new brushes, you are taken to the Kyle Webster page in your web browser. You need to be signed in to see the brushes. Once you download an ABR brush file, you can simply tap and open it in Photoshop on your iPad from the iOS files app directly. You can also add it by tapping the '+' icon from within the Photoshop app.

    Discover new brushes to work with Photoshop on the iPad

    Import from files: Add any supported ABR brush file by tapping the brush file saved on your device.

    Import new brush from files

  3. Select the brush you want to import and work with. You can find it at the bottom of the Brushes panel in Photoshop on the iPad. 

    Brush loaded to Photoshop on the iPad

  4. In the Brushes panel, tap the three dots () icon at the upper right corner to manage your brushes:

    Manage brushes: Opens the Manage brushes panel.

    Reset to default brushes: Resets your Brushes panel to show the default brushes only.

  5. Additionally, in the Manage brushes panel:

    • You can tap the three dots () icon at the upper right corner to Import from files and Reset to default brushes.
    • You can tap the three dots () icon beside a brush category to see the following options — Rename brush group and Delete brush group. You can also rename or delete specific brushes within a category. 
    • You can control the visibility of your brushes with the hide/show toggle button, present beside a brush. Turn on the brushes that you want to view and use on the go. Disabling a brush doesn’t delete the brush but only turns off its visibility. 
    Manage loaded brushes in Photoshop on the iPad

    Tap Done to save your changes.

You can now use a brush you wish in any of your Photoshop documents and unleash your creativity.

You can also create your own brush in Adobe Capture and import it in Photoshop on your iPad. T

Adjust Pencil pressure sensitivity in Photoshop

In Photoshop on the iPad, you can adjust the pressure sensitivity of your Apple Pencil for more precise brushing experience while compositing. To manage Apple pencil settings, do the following:

  1. Tap  in the upper-right corner of the home screen.
  2. In the App settings dialog, choose Input > Apple Pencil.
  3. Under Apple Pencil, set the Pressure sensitivity slider to make your brushing experience perfect while working in Photoshop on the iPad.
    At the Light end of the slider range, you get dense brush strokes with soft pressure applied on the Pencil, while at the Heavy end of the slider range you need to apply firm pressure on the Pencil to achieve dense brush strokes. It is easier to obtain fine brush strokes when the slider is set toward the Heavy end and bold brush strokes when the slider is set toward the Light end.
  4. Choose the appropriate amount of sensitivity to get the desired effect. Close the App Settings dialog when done and start using brushes on your composite.
Fine-tune your Apple Pencil sensitivity on a scale from Light to Heavy.
Fine-tune your Apple Pencil sensitivity on a scale from Light to Heavy.

Use touch shortcuts

Touch shortcuts for Brush tool
Left: Primary touch shortcut. Right: Secondary touch shortcut.

While using the Brush tool you can activate the primary touch shortcut to access the Eraser version of your Brush, and activate the secondary touch shortcut to switch to the Eyedropper tool.

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