An Unexpected Commodity
Illustrator Kyle Webster is making waves with his creation of a set of digital paintbrushes that are all for use in Adobe Photoshop. According to Wired, Kyle has managed to collect an esteemed list of clients that include The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal. However, he says that he is actually making the majority of his income through the sales of his virtual paint brushes which allow illustrators like him to create the appearance of s scratchy technical pen, a dusty pastel, or dreamy watercolor paint.
These digital paintbrushes are being used by budding artists and college students, as well as, major players like the artists that work for Grand Theft Auto, Nike, and Game of Thrones. Amazingly, the preloaded paintbrushes have turned into a six-figure income for the business savvy artist. This is yet another example of a lucrative happy accident in the art and entrepreneur sector. Webster says that due to his eclectic collection of clients, he constantly had to change his style in order to meet their needs. Thant’s when he came up with the idea for the invention of virtual paintbrushes that would allow him to seamlessly transition from one style to the next or combine them to appeal to customers.
Of course with most fine things, the brushes didn’t happen overnight. It took Kyle more than a decade of playing with them to get the final result. Once they were finished, he began showing them to friends and that’s when they started asking for the tools for themselves. It was then that Kyle realized he had something to sell and had found a market with a need. Webster told Wired “Creating brushes, in my spare time, that emulated different kinds of natural media, allowed me to experiment more and then eventually work those experiments into paying work.”
What the Professionals Are Saying About the Brushes?
As stated previously, Kyle boasts a pretty impressive clientele list among the illustration profession. Of course, like with any product, these artists had some pretty strong opinions in terms of the brushes and their abilities to affect their work and results. Sophie Diao, credited with being the one to change the occasional and interesting changes to Google logo that appear from time to time had this to say about the brushes “I especially enjoy that some of his brushes have an unpredictability to them, in terms of how pen pressure and pen tilt affect them.” Here is what a few other major artists and illustrators had to say:
“Kyle’s brushes mimic the ‘happy accidents’ that make painting so magical, and allow them to occur in digital work.” – Samantha Kallis, Disney.
“So many brushes online act more like rubber stamps than true paint brushes. Kyle’s brushes look totally natural, and one brush can give a variety of results.” – Chris Turnham, worked on Laika’s Coraline.
“His brushes really get me excited about drawing again.” – Paolo Rivera, a comics artist whose work includes Wolverine and Daredevil.
Of course the positive reviews have been well received by Kyle. He says that despite the development and sales of the brushes cutting into his time for drawing, they have added a lot of value for him. They have also enabled him to be able to accept only the gigs that he wants to work on because money is no longer an issue. “Most of the work I am making now for clients is work I am proud to show in my portfolio, as opposed to a mix of jobs that pay the bills and keep me busy,” says Webster. That is essentially the dream of every starving young artist that enters the field with hopes of one day being recognized for the impact of their work.