Introduction to Brush Properties

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Use Brush Properties to customize and change the characteristics of a brush. Though we try to create brushes you will love, sometimes, what might be just right for one person isn’t for another. This is why we have Brush Properties. You will find properties like wetness, slant, and tilt. However, keep in mind, each brush has a specific set of properties. Not every brush will have a wetness or tilt setting.

The Brush Properties look slightly different from version to version, the functionality can also vary greatly. For differences in functionality, see the sections that follow.

Advanced brush properties

Tilt settings, edge hardness, brush radius, opacity and flow, stamp properties, texture, and randomizing options are found in the Advanced tab.


By setting the edge of the brush stamp, you also affect the brush stroke. A brush with a soft edge gives the brush stamp a gradient/fade around the edge. A sharp edge creates a crisp stamp, almost right to the edge. However, there will be a bit of a blur, to help with anti-aliasing. Setting the stamp to a mid-value creates a stamp midway between a soft or sharp edge.

Edge examples

Brush Radius, Opacity, and Flow

For many of our users (especially those who’s work is heavy on line-work), the majority of their custom brushes are built using only this section. A set of great pencils and tapered paint brushes is crucial for them.

  • Radius with Heavy/Light Pressure – Sets brush thickness. Like on mobile, these settings can be reversed.
  • Opacity with Heavy/Light Pressure – Sets the opacity (opaqueness/transparency) of the stroke. For example, your main pencil may have a maximum of 80%, but your airbrush 30%.
  • Flow – Handles the speed of the paint. When adding a stroke, the more pressure you apply, the faster the paint appears (and the more that appears) on the canvas. A light touch results in less and lighter paint applied to the canvas.


  • Spacing – The distance between stamps in a single stroke. The default spacing of the Pencil is 1.2. The minimum spacing is 0.1, this will give you a very dense brush, and may slow performance. The max is 10.0.


  • Roundness – The default for most brushes is 100%. For a brush that requires rotation or simulated tilt, this is where you start. None of the Rotation tools (see Rotation Dynamics) have any affect without an aspect ratio (Roundness) below 100% (since the stamp would be a perfect circle).
  • Rotation Dynamics:

    • Rotate to stroke – This can be very handy, specifically when doing concept designs with quick detailed electronics, braided hoses, springs/suspension, and materials like carbon fiber. For example, you’re trying to simulate the profile tire tread. Using an ellipse, you can put a stroke down without Rotate to Stroke. However, if you turn on Rotate to Stroke, and fine tuned the Rotation value, it hugs a circle – which is what you need for a tread profile. To finish it off, play around with Spacing and Brush Size to perfect the loop pattern.
    •  For creating a brush with tilt added to its stroke, use Controlled by stylus tilt and check out the Tilt section that follows.


What does tilt do? It controls how the stroke of the brush is drawn. If you want to control the tilt of your stylus, use Scaling Percentage and Controlled by stylus tilt.

  1. In Brush Properties, tap the Advanced tab.
  2. Scroll down to Stamp, select Rotation > Rotation Dynamics, then Controlled by stylus tilt. Without this set, the tilt of your stylus won’t have any effect on the strokes of your brush.


  1. Tap-drag the Scaling Percentage slider to control the elongating of the brush stamp in conjunction with the tilt of your stylus.
  • With a low Scaling Percentage, you have to tilt your stylus a lot more to achieve the tilting effect.
  • With a higher value, you don’t have to tilt your stylus as much to reach a similar effect.

If your stylus has an eraser, Scaling Percentage will apply to both the eraser and stylus tip.


When creating a brush, beyond customizing the settings of a brush, you can also create its stamp. Either use Import to being in an image for the stamp or Capture to grab elements from your canvas, be it a drawing, painting or imported image, and create a brush based on that stamp. See Creating a texture brush to see how to capture a stamp for a custom texture brush.


Depending on the brush selected, some of these setting may not be available. For color randomization, see Randomizing color‍.

  • Size Randomize – Changes the size of the brush stamp within the stroke.
  • Opacity Randomize – Behaves in the same way as Size Randomize only varying the stamp opacity/transparency.
  • Flow Randomize – Varies the speed and amount of paint applied to the stamp.
  • Rotation Randomize – Changes the rotation of the stamp as the stroke is created. The only time this will not be noticeable is for perfectly symmetrical stamps. This is more visible for a brush with a roundness values below 50%.
  • Space Randomize – Varies the amount of space between stamps in a stroke. This is more noticeable with a higher Spacing value.

This randomization affects only that particular brush. If you want to randomize the active brushes while you draw, such as for creating realistic fur or grass effect, see Randomizing Brushes.

Brush Properties in Sketchbook Pro for desktop

Brush Properties are opened by tapping at the top of the Brush Palette.

Brush Palette with Brush Properties icon

Depending on the brush selected, there may be two tabs of properties – Basic and Advanced – and an option for changing the Brush Type.


Brush Properties in Sketchbook for mobile devices

Brush Properties may be accessed slightly differently depending on the type of device you're using, but the functionality is the same. 

Accessing brush properties from the brush palette

Double-tap a brush icon to open that brush's properties.

Or tap to open the Brush Library and select a brush, then tap to the Settings tab to access Brush Properties and edit the brush

To return to your brushes, tap Library again, or tap the canvas.

Tap Library to access access the Brush Library in Sketchbook on iPad.

Accessing brush properties on phone or small screen devices

  1. Tap in the toolbar to open the Brush Library.
  2. In the Brush Library, select the brush you want to customize.
  3. Tap to the  Settings tab to edit the brush.
  4. To return to your brushes, tap Library again or tap the canvas

NOTE: If your interface is hidden, see Hiding the UI while you draw‍ for how to access Brush Properties without having to unhide your interface.