How to Add New Brushes in GIMP

Learn how to add a new brush in GIMP in this beginner's tutorial.
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GIMP, is the most popular free and open-source image editor and perhaps the best Adobe Photoshop alternative on Linux.

When you install GIMP on Ubuntu or any other operating system, youโ€™ll find a few brushes already installed for basic image editing. If you need something more specific, you can always add new brushes in GIMP.

How? Let me show you that in this quick tutorial.

How to add brushes in GIMP

There are three steps involved in installing new brushes in GIMP:

  • Get new brush
  • Put it in the designated folder
  • Refresh the brushes in GIMP

Step 1: Download new GIMP brushes

The first step is to get new brushes for GIMP. Where do you get it from? From the internet, of course.

You can search on Google or alternative private search engines like Duck Duck Go for โ€˜GIMP brushesโ€™ and download the ones you like from a reputed website.

GIMP brushes are usually available in .gbr and .gih file formats. The .gbr file is for regular brushes while .gih is used for animated brushes.

For the versions 2.4 and above, GIMP makes installing and using Photoshop brushes (.abr file) quite straightforward. All you need to do is place the Photoshop brush files in the proper folder. Do keep in mind that the latest Photoshop brushes might not work with GIMP flawlessly.

Step 2: Copy the new brushes into its location

After you get your brush file, the next step is to copy and paste it to the right folder in GIMP configuration directory.

On Windows, youโ€™ll have to go to a folder like โ€œC:\Documents and Settings\myusername.gimp-2.10\brushesโ€œ.

Iโ€™ll show detailed steps for Linux because Itโ€™s FOSS is a Linux-focused website.

After selecting the brush files press Ctrl+h in your Home folder to see hidden files in Linux.

Adding Brushes Gimp
Press Ctrl+H to see hidden files in the home directory

You should go to .config/GIMP/2.10/brushes folder (if you are using GIMP version 2.10). If you are using some other version, you should see an equivalent folder under .config/GIMP.

Adding Brushes Gimp

Paste the brush files in this folder. Optionally, you can hide the hidden files by pressing Ctrl+h again.

Step 3: Refresh the brushes (to avoid restarting GIMP)

GIMP will automatically load brushes when itโ€™s launched. If you are already running it and donโ€™t want to close it, you can refresh the brushes.

In GIMP go to Windows->Dockable Dialogues->Brushes in the main menu.

Refresh Gimp Brushes

Refresh GIMP Brushes by going go to Windows->Dockable Dialogues-> Brushes

Locate the refresh icon in the Brushes dialog on the right side bar.

Refresh Gimp Brushes

If your brushes are not present, you can always try to restart GIMP.

Bonus Tip! Adding new brushes in GIMP also allows you easily watermark images. Just use your logo as a brush and add it to the images in a single click.

I hope you enjoyed this quick GIMP tip. Stay tuned for more.

About the author


Dimitrios is an MSc Mechanical Engineer but a Linux enthusiast in heart. His machines are powered by Arch Linux but curiosity drives him to constantly test other distros. Challenge is part of his per

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