Paint like a master: Adobe brings to life the 100-year old brushes of Edvard Munch


Creative Cloud

Classic pieces of artwork are treasured for thousands of years; Mona Lisa, Whistler’s Wife, Starry Night, the list is endless. These iconic works can transcend time in the ideas they provoke and stir in the observer.

The unsung heroes of these famous paintings are the tools which created them. Many museums keep the brushes used to create such masterpieces out of sight, and in many cases, some artwork is also hidden away to avoid light or UV damage. To increase the accessibility of these classic pieces, prestigious museums like The Met in New York and in The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam have started to release their collections online.

To celebrate digital preservation of masterpieces, we at Adobe have teamed up with The Munch Museum in Oslo and award winning Photoshop brush maker Kyle T. Webster to recreate digital versions of the more than 100-year-old original brushes used by Edvard Munch, painter of the famous artwork ‘The Scream’, in order to make them available in Creative Cloud for Photoshop and Sketch users worldwide.

This world-first collaboration, which we call The Hidden Treasures of Creativity, will open endless possibilities to a new generation of artists and allow them to use the forgotten tools of an iconic artist in today’s digital age.

Edvard Munch: An icon of modern art

Edvard Munch is regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time. ‘The Scream’, arguably the most famous painting from his oeuvre, is one of the most recognisable in the world. It is also one of the most valuable paintings in history, sold at auction in 2012 for nearly $120 million. Imagine if one day a digital piece of art was valued at the same price!

Born in 1863, Munch painted for more than sixty years until his death in 1944. His exceptional craftsmanship and ground-breaking techniques have made him an icon of modern art. Today, his legacy lives on, continuing to influence and inspire artists around the world.

When Munch died, he willed all of his artworks to the city of Oslo and today many of his paintings can be admired in The Munch Museum. Munch’s tools were also donated and are now preserved in the highly restricted museum archives where they have lay until now.

Transforming Munch’s brushes into Photoshop brushes

To celebrate sharing these important tools with the world, we’ve set out to digitally recreate seven of the original brushes in the museum. This was done by carefully photographing each individual brush in 360 degrees using ultra-high-resolution cameras to document all angles and details to create an accurate three dimensional representation.

Munch’s artistic style and brushwork was closely analysed by art historians, and combined with data about the brushes’ attributes, including physical properties such as flexibility and bristle type.

These insights were then combined with the knowledge and expertise of Kyle T. Webster, who is known by many as the world’s foremost authority on Photoshop brushes. His illustrations and brushes are admired across the world. In collaboration with the museum experts, Kyle transformed all the data into digital representations of Munch’s brushes, capturing the exact shape and performance attributes of each brush in digital form and in minute detail.

Download the brushes & enter the #MunchContest!

As of today, you too can paint like one of the greats with our unique set of Edward Munch brushes available in Photoshop and Sketch, all in digital form. Download the brushes for free here, and don’t forget to check out our supporting tutorials on YouTube!

But not only this – we will also be running a contest over the next four weeks, 15th June-14th July, to encourage Photoshop and Sketch users to make use of these exclusive brushes to create their own versions of Munch’s most famous and iconic painting, ‘The Scream’. Edvard Munch made four different versions of the artwork and 80 years on, so we are challenging you, the community of artists worldwide, to create ‘The 5th Scream’.

Think you’ve got what it takes? To enter, submit your masterpiece by uploading your artwork to Behance with the tag #MunchContest. By doing so, you will be in with a chance to have your work of art displayed alongside Munch’s greats at The Munch Museum in Oslo and as part of a special Behance collection. In addition, the winner will receive a cash prize of €6,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Adobe MAX taking place in Las Vegas from 18th-20th October 2017. All entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, consistency with the theme, and creativity by a dedicated panel of judges. The jury will consist of Russell Brown and Michael Chaize from Adobe, Zach McCullough Lead Designer at Behance, Andy Sandoz former president of D&AD, and leading artists Kyle T. Webster, Therese Larsson, Suzanne Helming and Sebastien Hue. Winners of the contest will be announced on 28th July 2017.

Tune into Adobe Live

Don’t miss out on our series of live sessions on AdobeLive.com from 20th-22nd June (from 6pm CET daily), featuring Kyle T. Webster, Suzanne Helming, Sebastien Hue and Therese Larsson. They will share their best tips and tricks to show you how to paint like a master in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Watch their creative process in real time as they give a whole new dimension to their images; learn how to use digital Brushes, CC Libraries and Adobe Stock. Register your interest to attend here.

We can’t wait to see what new masterpieces you will be creating using The Adobe Photoshop Munch Brush collection!

Read the complete contest rules.

Watch our tutorials on how to best work with the brushes.