How to create vector brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad

Paolo Limoncelli, from DAUB Brushes, shows us how to create vector brushes that mimic real-world watercolour wash brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad.

No one knows brushes better than Paolo. Paolo created all of the brushes that are included with Affinity Designer for iPad, but is perhaps best known for creating amazing real-media brushes for his DAUB Brushes project. So who better to teach us all how to create our own vector brushes?

In the short video below, Paolo shows the creation of vector wash brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad.

Creating vector brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad.

In his previous tutorial, Paolo showed us how to create brush nozzles from real-life media. In this tutorial, Paolo provides you with those nozzles to show his process of creating vector brushes in Affinity Designer for iPad.

Download vector brush nozzles

Create your vector brushes…

1. Quick Short Wash brush

The first brush we’re going to create is a Quick Short Wash (a watercolour brush), which should be suitable for quick painting, and will slightly change its opacity with pressure. This will be a very versatile tool, with a nice painterly look.

  1. Create a new document in Affinity Designer for iPad, this will be your testing canvas.

  2. Ensure you have Vector Persona selected. Go to the Brushes Studio and using the Studio Preferences icon, choose Add Category.

  3. Go the Studio Preferences Menu again and rename your brush category to Washes.

  4. Go the Studio Preferences Menu once more, and this time select New Textured Intensity Brush. Import nozzle 1.png, which I have provided in the resources.

  5. In the Brush Editor, use the following settings: Width: 128px, Size Variance: 0%, Opacity Variance: 75%

  6. Set Controller to Pressure and add a custom ramp like the one shown in the screenshot. This will deliver a nice slow opacity response when we apply pressure using the brush.

  7. Move the head and tail offset nice and close to the stroke at each end.

Leave all remaining parameters untouched!

2. Uniform Wash brush

The next brush we create will follow the same steps, this tool will be used for a flat looking stroke with a slight size variation.

  1. With Vector Persona selected. Go to the Brushes Studio and using the Studio Preferences icon, select New Textured Intensity Brush. Import nozzle 2.png, which I have provided in the resources.

  2. In the Brush Editor, use the following settings: Width: 128px, Size Variance: 35%, Opacity Variance: 25%

  3. Set Controller to Pressure and add a custom ramp like the one shown in the screenshot. This will deliver a nice slow opacity response when we apply pressure using the brush.

  4. Move the head and tail offset nice and close to the stroke at each end. Leave all remaining parameters untouched!

3 Detail Wash

  1. This brush will be used for linework and details. Repeat the same steps as above and import nozzle 3.png from the resources provided.
  1. In the Brush Editor, use the following settings: Width: 128px, Size Variance: 100%, Opacity Variance: 0%

  2. Set Controller to Pressure and add a custom ramp like the one shown in the screenshot. This will deliver a nice slow opacity response when we apply pressure using the brush.

  3. Move the head and tail offset nice and close to the stroke at each end. Leave all remaining parameters untouched!

4. Blocking Light Wash brush

  1. The last brush will be used to cover large areas. Repeat the same steps as previous and import nozzle 4.png from the resources provided.
  1. In the Brush Editor, use the following settings: Width: 256px, Size Variance: 0%, Opacity Variance: 100%

  2. Set Controller to Pressure and add a custom ramp like the one shown in the screenshot. This will deliver a nice slow opacity response when we apply pressure using the brush.

  3. Move the head and tail offset nice and close to the stroke at each end. Leave all remaining parameters untouched!

You now have your complete set of vector wash brushes!


Want to learn more?

Find out how I created my brush nozzles from real-life media in this article.

You can also find out how to create a custom set of raster brushes using my nozzles in this tutorial.

Andy has also made a great video tutorial about managing your vector brushes that’s worth checking out too.


Artist relations
Charlotte is an illustrator and arts lecturer who is passionate about the creative industries and is now part of our artist relations team. Her interests include mid 20th century inspired design, comic books, board games, movie memorabilia, baking cakes, feminism and yoga. She shares her 1960’s home with her graphic designer husband and her toddler son who likes to hide her iPad. Get in touch with Charlotte if you have work you have made in Affinity apps to share with us, or tag your work with #madeinaffinity in the usual places.
Credits & Footnotes

All images are have been created by and are copyright © of Paolo Limoncelli. Music used on the video is ‘Sunset Ray’ by Mokhov, licensed by Audiosocket.