Inspiration

30 Best Adobe Illustrator Brushes for 2021 (Free & Premium)

Adobe Illustrator comes with several brushes that allow you to create different effects in your artwork. You can also download and install the best Adobe Illustrator Brushes you find online to add to your creative toolkit.

Brushes come in five variations:

  • Art brushes are the standard artistic brushes that you use as if you would use a paintbrush in real life. You can use them along a path to create a realistic brushstroke effect.
  • Bristle brushes are a subset of art brushes that give a dry brush effect. Using these brushes gives a more textured effect than the fluid painted look of standard art brushes.
  • Pattern brushes work in a different way than standard brushes. They’re used to create seamless patterns. A pattern brush will repeat the same artwork along a path.
  • Scatter brushes are similar to pattern brushes but the artwork is scattered across the path in a way that seems random.
  • Calligraphy brushes create brush strokes that look like they’ve been written with an ink fountain pen or brush. They’re useful for creating unique typography and pen and ink style illustrations.

Using brushes in Adobe Illustrator can help you to create vector artworks with realistic hand-drawn and painted textures. You can also use them to quickly create background patterns and textures, illustrated borders, and other effects.

There aren’t as many brushes available for Adobe Illustrator as there are for Photoshop. So it can take quite a bit of hunting to find brushes suitable for your art project. (Looking for Photoshop Brushes? you’ll find them here.)

To save you time, we’ve rounded up some of the best Adobe Illustrator brushes available online to elevate your artwork.

Why not take a look at our list of the best free and premium fonts too to finish off your design?

If you’re not sure how to use these brushes, scroll to the end for a quick step-by-step guide to installing them.

Hand-drawn Brushes

These brushes replicate the look of lines hand-drawn in pencil, ink, chalk, and ink. Create the look of hand-drawn artwork in a vector illustration with these high-quality Adobe Illustrator brushes

01. Pencilcraft Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator
  • Commercial License

This bundle of 30 brushes with infinite path was made with real pencils and is ideal for creating a hand-drawn look in your illustrations. As the brushes are infinite, they create a natural look with no stretched effect.

02. Essential Vector Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS3 and above
  • Commercial License

This collection of Adobe Illustrator brushes is all you need to create an authentic hand-drawn look with your digital illustrations. The pack includes 38 brush pens, 20 charcoal brushes, 43 marker brushes, 21 pencil brushes, and 21 watercolor brushes.

03. Outstanding Oil Paint Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS1 – CC
  • Commercial License

These artistic brushes are made by sampling real oil paint to create an authentic look. The brush strokes were created with a variety of brushes, knives, and other materials to create different effects. A canvas background texture is also included.

04. Doodle Art Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS1 – CC
  • Commercial License

Make your illustrations look like they were scribbled in the margin of a school notebook with this collection of doodle art brushes. The set includes 11 zigzag doodle brushes, 11 simple doodle brushes, 23 scribbled doodle brushes, 11 straight doodle brushes, 13 wiggly doodle brushes, and 5 ‘e’ shaped doodle brushes.

05. Modern Watercolor Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator (AI & EPS file types)
  • Commercial License

Add a whimsical handcrafted feel to your designs and illustrations with this collection of vector watercolor brushes. The set includes 43 watercolor brushes in the form of strokes, scribbles, as well as round banners that will add flair to any graphic design.

06. Free Wax Crayon Brushes

  • Price: Free
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator
  • Creative Commons license

Add a fun, childlike effect to your designs with these 12 brushes that replicate the look of wax crayons. 3 brushes in the set are sold, while the rest include two shades and details from the original crayon scans. These brushes repeat rather than stretching for a realistic appearance.

07. Fine Liner Brushes

  • Price: $21
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS4 to CC
  • Personal license (commercial license available)

This collection of Adobe Illustrator brushes contains everything you need to create digital illustrations that look like they’ve been drawn with a fine liner. The bundle includes art brushes, anti-stretch brushes, and texture and pattern brushes including stipple, crosses, zig zag, dot, dash, hatch, scribble, and parallel lines.

08. Preppy Art Illustrator Brushes

  • Price: Free
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator
  • Personal license

These brushes are inspired by vintage magazine illustrations and created from real acrylic brushstrokes on canvas. They’re pressure sensitive and include a variety of canvas textures

09. Charcoal Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS1 to CC
  • Commercial license

Achieve an authentic soft and smudgy effect with your vector illustrations using this set of charcoal brushes. Set the brush blend modes to blend and smudge them together like real charcoal.

Calligraphy Brushes

Calligraphy brushes are of course perfect for creating stylish typography. They can also be used to vary your line width when you’re creating illustrations for a more fluid and hand-drawn look.

10. Japan ProBrush

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS3 and above
  • Commercial License

This pack of 39 high-quality calligraphy brushes is ideal for creating typography, but also Asian-style line-art illustrations. Use different brush strokes to create different widths and effects.

11. Chunky Markers Illustrator Brush Pack

  • Price: $16
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS1 to CC
  • Personal license (commercial license available)

This collection of brushes has a realistic texture that looks like you’ve hand-drawn them with a marker. Use them for creating digital hand-lettering, patterns, and unique illustrations. The set includes standard markers, messy markers, slanted markers, and thin markers.

12. Hand Lettering Made Easy Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS5 to CC
  • Commercial License

This collection of brushes can be used to create your own typography graphics and illustrations with a hand-drawn look. The set includes a variety of brush styles and stroke width to vary the look of your text. Each brush is supplied in a variety of lengths and flourishes.

Shading and Texturing Brushes

These brushes are ideal for adding depth and tone to your illustrations with stipple and hatch effects. Depending on which brushes you choose, you can achieve a vintage, grungy, or textured look to your designs.

13. The Master Engraver Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS1 to CC
  • Commercial License

This brush set will enable you to quickly and easily create authentic-looking vintage art with a range of brush weights and textures for strokes, shading, outlines, tones, and textures. There’s also a bonus vintage paper texture included.

14. Stipple Shading Brushes for Adobe Illustrator

  • Price: Free
  • File types: All versions of Adobe Illustrator
  • Creative Commons license

This collection of 8 brushes will give a stipple shading effect to your illustrations. They’re ideal for creating grungy detail and a retro vibe to your designs, with different variations of stipple size and density.

15. Memento Shader Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Commercial License

This pack of 28 brushes and 12 textures is divided into 4 categories. Shader brushes add texture and depth to your illustrations, noise brushes give a stipple and aerosol effect, hatch brushes add grunge vibe and the look of sketched shadows, while edge brushes give a sharp edge with a textured interior.

16. Free Vintage Shading Brushes

  • Price: Free
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Creative Commons license

This free collection of 30 Adobe Illustrator brushes consist of a selection of hand-drawn lines in horizontal, vertical, diagonal and cross-hatch variations. These seamless pattern brushes can be used to create a vintage-style shading effect.

17. Gouache Shader Brushes

  • Price: $19
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS4 and above
  • Personal license (commercial license also available)

These gouache inspired brushes are ideal for adding texture and details to your illustrations. The collection includes edge brushes with a textures side and a smooth edge, no-stretch scatter texture brushes, and liner brushes for small details. There’s also a reference sheet and instructions for use included.

18. Roller Paint Brushes

  • Price: $19
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS4 and above
  • Personal license (commercial license also available)

This collection of 59 high-quality brushes will add realistic texture to your artwork to make it look as if you’ve applied paint with a roller. Layer up multiple brushes in different colors to create a depth effect.

19. Incredible Impressionism Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS5 to CC
  • Commercial License

This collection of brushes is inspired by the works of artists like Van Gough and Monet. The brushes are ideal for adding stippling and pointillist texture to create a detailed hand-stippled shading effect.

Photorealistic Brushes

Most of these brushes are vectors created from original photographs, giving them a 3D and realistic look. Use them to speed up your artwork and make your designs leap off the page.

20. Real Rope Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS5 to CC
  • Commercial License

These photorealistic brushes include different styles of rope, string, and twine. The brushes have the option of either frayed or neat ends. They’re ideal for creating unique designs with a handcrafted feel.

21. The Vector Florist

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Illustrator CS4 to CC
  • Commercial License

This brush pack is made from real photographs of a range of winter plants and foliage, converted into vector pattern brushes. Quickly create your own wreath illustrations and designs to use on greetings cards, invitations, and web graphics

22. All That Glitters Vector Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Illustrator CS1 to CC
  • Commercial License

These unique gem, bead, studs, and sequin brushes are sourced from photographs of the real thing to create an authentic look. Add a bit of glitz to an existing illustration, or use these brushes along a path to create unique designs.

23. Neon Realistic Brush Set

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Illustrator CS1 to CC
  • Commercial License

These brushes replicate the look of neon light tubes so you can easily create your own neon light graphics. There are a variety of reflection options to select for the most realistic effect. Watch the tutorial video for full instructions.

24. Torn Edge Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Illustrator CS5 to CC
  • Commercial License

These realistic-looking brushes make it simple to add torn paper edge effects to your designs. Made from real torn paper, there’s a selection of broken and solid torn edge brushes that are ideal for digital scrapbooking.

Graphical Brushes

These brushes will clean lines will give a modern look to your illustrations and designs. Instantly add detail to any vector path or add graphical elements to speed up your design creation.

25. Modern Woodcut Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator CS5 to CC
  • Commercial License

This collection of over 100 brushes combines the aesthetics of modern and vintage artwork for striking effect. The pack includes regular, slanted, rounded, tapered, double-ended, long-ended, and mixed width woodcut brushes to create different effects.

26. Vector Dot Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatible with: Adobe Illustrator
  • Commercial License

These Adobe Illustrator brushes simply use dots, dashes, triangles, and crosses, to create a repeating pattern. They’re ideal for creating background patterns or adding details to your illustrations.

27. Arrow-Shaped Art Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator (AI & EPS files)
  • Commercial License

Arrow brushes come in very handy when you’re creating diagrams and infographics. This collection of brushes includes all the arrow styles you could ever need, and you can apply them to a path with a single click.

28. Fairy Dust Sparkle Brushes

  • Price: $9
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator
  • Personal license (commercial license available)

Add a touch of magic to your Illustrator creations with these brushes that will add light and sparkles to any image. The bundle includes 27 scatter brushes and 8 art brushes.

29. Floral Flexible Art Brushes

  • Price: Free
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator
  • Personal license

These hand-drawn botanical art and scatter brushes can be applied along any path to create your own unique floral designs. You can easily create custom borders, frames and wreaths for stationery or invitations. They’re also ideal for branding, social media graphics, and logo design.

30. Graphic Beats Stamp Brushes

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription
  • Compatibility: Adobe Illustrator CS6+
  • Commercial License

This collection of 330 brushes and symbols is a must in any designer’s or illustrator’s graphic toolkit. Use these strokes, swooshes, splashes, speech bubbles, and other artistic assets to save you time and create eye-catching designs.

How to Install and Use Adobe Illustrator Brushes

The process for installing Adobe Illustrator brushes varies slightly depending on which operating system and version of Adobe Illustrator you’re using.

  1. Extract the zip file for the brush pack you downloaded.
  2. Look for the folder that’s named with the version of Adobe Illustrator you’re using.
  3. Open the .AI file for the brushes you want to use and you’ll find them loaded in the Brushes panel
  4. Alternatively, if you’re already in Illustrator, open the Brushes panel by going to Window > Brushes, click the Brush Libraries menu, choose Other Library, and locate the .AI file of the brushes you downloaded to load them into the Brush panel.
  5. Draw a path and apply any of the brushes you just loaded to see the effect
  6. Save the brush library by going to Options > Save Brush Library in the Brushes panel.

rachel

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