Some topics in art are prone to mistaken thoughts, and hard to get rid of - like, using reference is cheating (hint: it's not). In the spirit of "Ranarh's Tiny Tips"
, here is some compacted advice for the beginning artist on Custom Brushes.
Custom brushes are hard to make
Not at all. It rarely takes more than just a few steps to make them. There are plenty of easy tutorials on creating your own brushes from scratch, and many brush packs to download. Magazines often feature them, too.
I can't paint without custom brushes
You could of course paint an entire photorealistic painting with only one brush. But it's more difficult or will take longer than also using custom brushes. Understanding what you are painting is more important than the brush.
Custom brushes are cheating
Traditional media features many different brush types, and painters use all kinds of things to apply paint to a canvas: toothbrushes, sponges, buckets, their fingers, crumpled paper, chimpanzees... Don't make your life harder by dismissing custom brushes as unartistic. When creating an artwork, the result counts most; and if a downloaded custom brush gives you exactly what you need, use it.
In any case, your body of art will improve if you know what work you are saving yourself. Make studies using a single brush - then you understand the structure better and can do better with the custom brush, too.
Custom brushes do my work for me
For all their benefits, custom brushes are still crutches. Using a leaves brush makes painting trees easier, but you still need some handpaint or it'll look pasted. In graphic works however, it might be what you are looking for.