Artists can get inspiration from just about anything. Stains appear all over the place, on walls, furniture, clothing and paper. We can replicate the look of a stain to create added intrigue in a piece of art – an effect which is very popular with grunge style design. In this post, we’ll take a look at the use of stains as inspiration, as well as some resources that can be used to add stains to your own work.
iSpoil’s blog design uses a dark gray header color. The header includes some grungy stain effects in a darker gray color and in red. There is also a slight texture added to the gray area. The stains resemble hand prints. This is just one example of a grungy header that gives a blog design a unique feel.
The Piss Biscuit
Many websites now are using a similar approach to The Piss Biscuit, which uses a desktop-themed design featuring a coffee mug and some coffee stains. Money, tabs and paperclips are also used in the background image, but the coffee stain gives it an additional touch. As you’ll see below, there are a number of Photoshop brushes that can help you to achieve this stained look on your own work.
Electric Pulp’s portfolio website includes a light gray background with a subtle texture to it. On top of that texture, a major portion of the background includes one large stained area. The stain is a slightly darker shade of gray, which keeps it from being an overpowering contrast to the lighter gray, but it adds more texture and intrigue to the design.
Bridge55′s website uses a grungy background image of a wall texture with some bricks showing through. The repeating background image contains a lot of texture and some stains that provide some variation in the shades of color. The end result is an impressive background that closely resembles a real wall.
Hero Header Part II
PS Hero put together a two-part series for creating the sites old header image. The second part of the tutorial includes creating a logo area with an old, stained paper background (you can see the first part of the series here). The tutorial uses a combination of a stock photo, some grunge brushes and Photoshop effects to create the stained paper look.
Make an Inspiring Artistic Poster with Drawn Elements
Several months ago Alex Beltechi wrote this tutorial for Psdtuts+ on the process of designing an artistic poster with drawn elements. The design includes some grungy stain effects which he creates by using some free watercolor brushes. The tutorial includes a number of tips from Alex for creating the stains effectively without going overboard.
Creating Old Paper with Custom Brushes
This is another excellent tutorial from PS Hero. This time the approach involves scanning a paper texture and using it to create custom brushes in Photoshop. The custom brushes are then used along with a number of different adjustments and effects to create a realistic old paper with stains from age.
Create a Graphic Statue in Photoshop
In this Psdtuts+ tutorial, Constantin Potorac starts with a photograph and turns it into a statue. Throughout the process, adding texture is one of the keys to achieving the end result. An additional textured image is then used to create the appearance of blood stains on the statues head and hand.
This stock image is from deviantART user JensStockCollection. This image could serve as inspiration for an effect that you would like to create on your own in Photoshop, or it can be used as a stock texture for your own work.
Eleonora di Toledo
Eleonora di Toledo was done by deviantART user ersi. The subject was a Spanish noblewoman of the sixteenth century. This piece was done on tea-stained watercolor paper. The drawing was then scanned and additional stains were created with Photoshop. If you like this work, you may want to see more from ersi, including Venus Remembering.
Ink Stains was done by deviantART user manas-lover, who also has plenty of other work in their deviantART portfolio. This piece uses a texture background, dark edges and some ink stains on top of the image. The end result is an aged-texture look.
Organic Coffee Stains
Apparently the name is deceiving, as this piece from deviantART user BeatlesGuru is not actually a coffee stain. A similar end result could be created by using a combination of different stain and splatter brushes in Photoshop.
This piece from Lovers and Fighters on devianART is a self portrait with some coffee stains added. The coffee stains are subtle, but they give a different feel to the portrait than it would have without them.
This photo manipulation was done by deviantART user KTonBroadway. You can also see the original photo on deviantART. Some crack textures and red color were used to create the appearance of blood stains on the model’s face.
This set of brushes was created by Nyssa and is available at Brusheezy. There are 17 brushes in the set and a wide variety of sizes, ranging up to 2000+ pixels. The quality is also very good.
Guerilla Graphics created this set of high resolution brushes available at Qbrushes. There are 22 brushes in the set, and many of them are between 1000 and 2500 pixels.
This brush pack from Obsidian Dawn includes 24 different brushes of water stains. These brushes are of good quality but the sizes only go up to 700 pixels. If you’re working on a large background image or something else that requires high resolution, you made need to use one of the other options in this article.
This set of 19 stain brushes comes from deviantART user nokari. The brushes are of good quality, but the largest is just over 600 pixels.