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The Ultimate Collection of Illustrator Brushes for Every Designer

How to Download and Use Illustrator Brushes

If you're looking for a way to add more creativity and variety to your vector artworks, you might want to try using Illustrator brushes. Illustrator brushes are tools that allow you to apply different effects and styles to your paths and shapes. In this article, you'll learn what Illustrator brushes are, how to download them from online sources, how to save and load them in your Illustrator program, how to use and edit them, and some of the best Illustrator brushes for different styles and effects.

What are Illustrator Brushes and Why You Need Them

Illustrator brushes are presets that you can use to stylize the appearance of your paths and shapes. You can apply brush strokes to existing paths, or you can use the Paintbrush tool or the Blob Brush tool to draw a path and apply a brush stroke simultaneously. There are different types of brushes in Illustrator, such as calligraphic, scatter, art, pattern, and bristle brushes. Each type of brush has its own characteristics and uses.

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Types of Illustrator Brushes

Here are the main types of brushes in Illustrator and what they do:

  • Calligraphic brushes: These brushes create strokes that resemble those drawn with the angled point of a calligraphic pen. They are drawn along the center of the path and have variable width depending on the pressure, tilt, and direction of your drawing device.

  • Scatter brushes: These brushes disperse copies of an object (such as a flower or a star) along the path. You can adjust the size, spacing, rotation, and scatter of the objects.

  • Art brushes: These brushes stretch a brush shape (such as a ribbon or a chain) or an object shape evenly along the length of the path. You can control the scale, direction, flip, colorization, overlap, and corner options of the brush.

  • Pattern brushes: These brushes paint a pattern made of individual tiles that repeats along the path. Pattern brushes can include up to five tiles for the sides, inner corner, outer corner, beginning, and end of the pattern. You can also modify the color, fit, flip, overlap, corner style, width profile, and auto-corner options of the brush.

  • Bristle brushes: These brushes create brush strokes with the appearance of a natural brush with bristles. You can customize the shape, size, length, stiffness, thickness, opacity, paint load, density, angle, rotation, bristle variation, color variation, intensity variation, spacing variation, scattering variation, rotation variation options of the brush.

Benefits of Using Illustrator Brushes

Using Illustrator brushes can help you achieve various effects and styles in your vector artworks. Here are some of the benefits of using Illustrator brushes:

  • They save you time: Instead of drawing every detail by hand or using complex tools and effects, you can simply apply a brush stroke to your path or shape and get instant results.

  • They add realism: Using brushes can help you create vector artworks that look more natural and organic. For example, you can use watercolor brushes to create soft washes or texture brushes to add graininess or roughness.

  • They enhance creativity: Using brushes can help you explore different possibilities and styles for your artworks. For example, you can use hand-drawn brushes to create sketchy or doodle effects or pattern brushes to create geometric or floral designs.

How to Download Illustrator Brushes from Online Sources

One of the easiest ways to get Illustrator brushes is to download them from online sources. There are many websites that offer free and premium Illustrator brushes for various purposes and styles. Here are some of the websites that you can check out:

Websites to Find Free and Premium Illustrator Brushes



A marketplace for creative assets, including Illustrator brushes. You can find thousands of high-quality brushes for different styles and effects, such as watercolor, chalk, ink, grunge, retro, etc. Some of the brushes are free, while others are paid.

A website that offers free vector graphics, including Illustrator brushes. You can browse through hundreds of brush sets for various categories, such as abstract, floral, grunge, swirls, etc. You can also filter the results by license type, such as free for personal use, free for commercial use, or attribution required.

A website that offers free Photoshop and Illustrator brushes. You can find over 1,000 brush sets for Illustrator, ranging from basic shapes to complex patterns. You can also sort the results by popularity, date, or rating.

A blog that provides design resources and tutorials, including Illustrator brushes. You can download over 50 brush sets for Illustrator, covering various styles and effects, such as vintage, sketchy, grunge, halftone, etc. All the brushes are free to use for personal and commercial projects.

A website that offers design bundles and deals, including Illustrator brushes. You can find hundreds of premium brush sets for Illustrator at discounted prices, such as watercolor, charcoal, ink, stipple, etc. You can also get some free sample packs of brushes by joining their newsletter.

How to Extract and Open the Brush Files

Once you have downloaded the brush files from the online sources, you need to extract and open them in your Illustrator program. Here are the steps to do that:

  • Locate the downloaded file on your computer. It is usually a ZIP file that contains the brush files and sometimes other files such as instructions or previews.

  • Right-click on the ZIP file and select "Extract All" or use a software such as WinZip or 7-Zip to unzip the file.

  • Open the extracted folder and look for the brush files. They usually have the extension .ai or .abr.

  • Open your Illustrator program and create a new document or open an existing one.

  • Go to Window > Brushes to open the Brushes panel.

  • Click on the menu icon at the top right corner of the Brushes panel and select "Open Brush Library" > "Other Library".

  • Navigate to the folder where you extracted the brush files and select the file you want to open.

  • A new panel will appear with the name of the brush library. You can now use the brushes in your document.

How to Save and Load the Brush Library in Illustrator

After you have opened the brush library in Illustrator, you might want to save it and load it in your future projects. Here are the steps to do that:

How to Save the Brush Library

If you want to save the brush library as a separate file, you can do the following:

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  • Go to the brush library panel that you opened from the online source.

  • Click on the menu icon at the top right corner of the panel and select "Save Brush Library".

  • Choose a location and a name for the brush library file and click "Save". The file will have the extension .ai.

  • You can now access the brush library from any Illustrator document by going to Window > Brushes > Open Brush Library > User Defined and selecting the file name.

How to Load the Brush Library

If you want to load the brush library into your current document, you can do the following:

  • Go to Window > Brushes to open the Brushes panel.

  • Click on the menu icon at the top right corner of the Brushes panel and select "Open Brush Library" > "User Defined".

  • Select the brush library file that you saved or downloaded from the online source.

  • The brush library will appear as a new panel. You can now use the brushes in your document.


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