signature brush photoshopAfter a painting is completed, the common practice is to add a signature to the front. As we discussed in a previous article (How to Sign a Painting or Drawing), signing an artwork is important for identifying the artist. Of course, not all artists like having a signature on the front. Some decide to place it on the back of the artwork instead.

But, what about digital art, photographs, and artworks created on the computer?  You must have seen paintings and photographs with digital signatures.

How do they sign their artworks in digital format? There are numerous software that provides this task, but the one we will be discussing for sig tutorials is the ever popular Photoshop.

In this Photoshop tutorial we will show you how to create a custom Photoshop brush from your signature.

The brush may be used as many times as needed, resized, and restyled. The method used in this lesson involves a scanned or photographed copy of your written signature. If you possess a Wacom pen tablet, use this instead.


How to Create a Signature in Photoshop


Write your signature on a white sheet of plain paper with black marker and either photograph or use a scanner.

Next, transfer the signature file to your computer.


  1. photoshop cutout signatureFind the signature on your computer and open it with Photoshop.

  2. Apply auto contrast by selecting Image – Auto Contrast

  3. Select Filter – Artistic – Cutout and apply the above settings.

  4. photoshop background eraserSteps to Erase the Background

    Find the Background Eraser tool under the Eraser menu on the left.

  5. signature brushSet the brush size in the top toolbar.

    Pick a brush depending on your image size. I selected a hard brush with a size of 50px and hardness of 100%.

  6. brush limits toleranceOn the same toolbar, set Continuous for the Sampling, Limits to Find Edges, and Tolerance of about 20%

  7. To ensure you see what you are erasing, it is important to have a dark background.

    • Check the size of your signature, create a new blank image, and make it a little larger.

    • Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill in the background to a dark color, preferably black.

    • Go back to your original signature and select it using the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
    • Go to Edit – Copy, and then proceed back to your new image with the black background. Here, select Image – Paste.

    • Move the signature layer around so that it fits in the center of the dark background.

  8. Enlarge your image so it fills the screen by selecting View - Fit on Screen and make sure the signature layer is selected. Drag the eraser tool around the edge of the signed name.

    The edge of the circle can overlap the signature, but not the + crosshair in the center. If you erase too much by accident, simply go to Edit-Undo and start over from where you left off.

    graham matthews signatureIncrease the brush size, and zoom in for difficult areas. The image displays my signature with the background erased around the edges. 

  9. Next, I will erase the rest of the sig background by using the regular eraser tool.

    Erase the white parts that show, and when finished right-click on the black layer, in the layer palette, and choose Delete Layer.

Now that the white background is removed, the next step is to create a Photoshop brush from the signature.

Part 2 may be found here - Create Signature Brush in Photoshop.

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