David Gell Brushes are Here!!!

Hello Everyone,

I know…I have been a very bad person and neglected my blog…sigh.  And at least a year ago I promised to post brushes created by David Gell, who I consider to be the best brush master ever.  Many of David’s brushes were on his site, JitterBrush, but he took the site down and his variants were not available on-line.  He did give me permission to post all of them for you.  Well…since today is my birthday, I thought I would pass David’s gift to my blog readers.  I know, about time, right?

I have followed David’s Painter tutorials since I started using Painter and most of what I know about brushes comes from his generous sharing.  I created a David Gell Brush library so that I could have all of his variants in one place.  This library contains 28 brush categories and some of them are quite old and haven’t been available for some time.  But, I have always loved David’s variants, old or new, so I have kept them over the years.  With many thanks to David; here is David Gell Brush Library.

David Gell Brush Library

To install these brushes, first download the above file and save it to your computer, then open Painter, go to the Menu Bar and select Brushes > Import > Brush Library and select the downloaded file.  Please note, the installed file is a separate library.  You will need to switch back and forth between libraries.

Some of David’s brushes are pretty complex and need a bit of explanation.  As time permits I will post tips.  Many folks have requested Suminagashi 2 category included in the library.  I thought I would give you a few tips copied from David’s JitterBrush site about those variants.

Suminagashi and Suminagashi Grad Variants

Suminagashi Grad B variant with rainbow pinched gradient

The color rendering Suminagashi and Suminagashi Grad variants can produce a very fluid, ethereal look, even without the aid of softening or distorting variants.  Variants with Grad in their name take their color information from the currently selected gradient, while other variants employ color variability via the Color Variability palette.  For this image, I have chosen Suminagashi Grad B variant with Rainbow Pinched gradient.

Z Prefixed Variants

Z Takayama distorting the first image

Variants in this library prefixed with a Z in their name do not apply any color of their own, but distort the underlying imagery in many ways.  Comparing to the traditional Suminagashi technique, this would be the closest equivalent to disturbing the surface of the floating ink media so that the different colors and regions begin to mix and flow into each other.

For these particular variants, David configured them so that stylus pressure controls the magnitude of the distortion effect.  I used Z Takayama variant to distort the first image in this post.

Floranagashi and Grainagashi Variants

Floranagashi left, Grainagashi bottom and right side. Image first filled with two point gradient.

The Floranagashi variant can produce a sumi-e style branch and foliage effect, while the Grainagashi variant interacts with the currently selected paper texture.  The Z Grainagashi Smear variant does not apply any color, but smears the underlying pixels determined by the current paper texture.

For this image, I filled the canvas with two point gradient.  I created the bottom and right side of the image with the Grainagashi variant using Madness paper texture.  The branch like strokes on the left used the Floranagashi variant.

The Suminagashi Dragons

Top stoke, Fuku Riu variant Bottom Stroke, Sui Riu

Use undo and redo to achieve the desired look with these variants.  With a little trial and error, they can produce dragon-like forms, even complete with heads.  In this example, I used the Fuku Riu (Good Luck Dragon) variant for the top stroke and the Sui Riu (Dragon King/Rain Dragon) variant for the bottom stroke.

Life Form and Life Form Mono

Life Form, top storke
Life Form Mono, bottom stroke

The strokes produced by the Life Form and Life Form Mono variants appear alien, hence the name.  The Color Variability Panel randomizes the colors/values within the strokes.  Use a slower stroke speed to produce a more closed, tubular form, and faster strokes to give a more open “backbone” effect.  In this example, I used Life Form for the top stroke and Life Form Mono for the bottom stoke.  I altered the velocity of the stroke to showcase the different look at different speeds.

In case you didn’t know, Suminagashi is an ancient Japanese paper marbling technique.  Google it and learn more, there’s even a few videos about it on You Tube.  Other groups of people used the same techniques.  I am especially fond of Ebru.  I think I have some videos somewhere, probably You Tube, about making Ebru like images in Painter.  Check it out.

OK, that’s it for this post.  I hope you enjoy David’s variants.  I know I have.  And once again, David…thank you so much for your generosity.

38 responses to “David Gell Brushes are Here!!!

  1. Thank you very much Skip for your kindness. I hope you have had a wonderful day filled with friends and family on your special day.

  2. Skip – I am wanting to upgrade to Painter 18 (trying to take advantage of the Black Friday Deals ) from Painter 16. The cheapest I can find for upgrade is $227 Canadian… Might you have a discount code that could help me out. I think some of the new features in 18 are well worth it but $227 is steep.

    Trusting you are well. Love getting your new posts.

    Helene Anne

    Helene Anne Fortin

    25 Years Photographing the Faces of Canada


    Tel: 819 459.2161

  3. Hi Skip:

    I am so sorry to be a nuisance……but I am lost on downing loading David Gell Brushes…….

    At this moment in time, I am very interested in his Zen Watercolor brush… I have been able to download all the brushes and unzip them on to my computer………..everything seems to be there, but… when I go into Corel Painter 2018 on my PC, to import them……….it comes up with “No Items Match Your Search.”

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thank you so much for all your help…..


    Doreen (Willushaw)

    • Hi Donna,
      Depending on its settings, a browser can automatically unzip a file on download. When you download this file, it will be David Gell.zip. If there is no zip extension then the file will look like this, David Gell.brushlibrary, which is the correct format. You would not be able to see all the brushes…it would just be the one file. Hope this helps, Skip

      • Skip,
        I’m having the same problem. I am using Corel 2018 in Windows 7, and I download the .zip file, and then extract all the files to a folder, and there are the category folders, and the xml, etc files in the folders, but there is no David Gell.brushlibrary file to be found. So when I try to import the library, Painter can’t find a .brushlibrary file.

        Any ideas?

        I really appreciate your tutorials — I have learned most of what I know about Painter from you!


      • Skip,

        Never mind — I figured it out — I just needed to change the extension of the david gell file from .zip to .brushlibrary. But I had to go to Control Panel –> Appearance and Personalization– > Folder Options to show the file extensions, so they could be changed.

        Thanks again for all the tutorials, brushes, etc — you are very generous with your time and expertise!


        • Hey Howard, glad you figured it out. A .brushlibrary file is a zip file named differently so Corel Painter knows what to do with it. If the extension is zip, then changing to .brushlibary will create a file that painter can read. I don’t remember when Windows started hiding the file extensions, but it was a while ago. So to see any file extension, you have to go to settings and make them visable…great job that you found how to do that, too. I’m glad you are finding my tutorials useful…I hope to get back to making more soon.

  4. Thanks Skip! I had most of David’s brushes, but need to revisit them. I appreciate you pulling them into a library.

  5. hi skip hope you can help.. quite new to corel painter but absolutely addicted to it now.. i’m having trouble downloading your brushes . i click the link and the screen just refreshes back to the same screen. nothing opens nor downloads . hope you can help . thanks … sy

    • For some reason, the download is automatic to your download folder or to wherever you have told your browser to download. I was surprised too, but I don’t think I can change it on my end. Let me know if it doesn’t work.

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