The 23 best Illustrator brushes

13. 15 paint brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes 15 paint brushes

These brushes are based on real paint brushes
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Think Design

This set of 15 paintbrush-inspired brushes has been around a while, but the real-media feel they offer means they're still well worth downloading and installing. This is even more the case given they're absolutely free of charge. 

The brushes themselves are each based around a different style of real paint brush, offering a beautiful feeling of paint oozing out under the pressure of the brush. Great for those times when you want something a little less clean and imperfect.

14. Dry paint brush strokes

Free Illustrator brushes dry paint

Produce handdrawn-looking brush strokes with this free pack
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Scorp1

To add a dry brush stroke effect to your designs, try this free pack from Duesseldorf-based designer Scorp1. According to Scorp1, the brushes were created using a dry brush with acrylic color, scanned, vectorised with Streamline and corrected manually where needed.

15. Mycanthus brush pack

Best Illustrator brushes Mycanthus

For some extra flourish, try this pack of art and scatterbrushes
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: r2010

Mycanthus brush pack 1 contains five ornamental art brushes and five scatter brushes. "I call this pack 'Mycanthus' – since I didn't stick with traditional acanthus leaf designs," says Deviant Art member r2010. The pack is free to use – just send r2010 a link to your work "to make it worthwhile".

16. Doodle Pattern Zentangle Borders

Best Illustrator brushes pattern

These brushes are well-suited to borders
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Mels Brushes

Another from designer Mels Brushes, this pack of 28 doodled zentangle style Illustrator pattern brushes will add a handdrawn feel to your art work – and they're free for personal use.

17. Pattern brushes

Best Illustrator brushes patterns

For stunning patterns, look no further than this set of 15 free Illustrator brushes
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Gina Startup

This set of 15 Illustrator pattern brushes is perfect for creating vector borders and frames. Designed by New York-based digital artist Gina Startup – aka StarwaltDesign – they're all free.

18. Stipple shading brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes stipple shading

These stipple shading and scatter brushes are a great addition
  • Price: Free (for personal use, check with author for commercial use)
  • Artist/Designer: Chris Spooner

Chris Spooner is well known to many designers on the web for his excellent tutorials and free resources. This selection of eight stipple shading and scatter brushes will make a lovely and versatile addition to your brush collection, allowing you to create fantastic half-tone style shading on your artwork with ease. Spooner has even provided a mini-tutorial showing how to get started with the brushes for best effect.

19. 57 multi-colored Illustrator brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes 57 multi colored brushes

These free Illustrator brushes recreate oil brushes
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Grant Friedman (Colorburned)

This lovely collection of 57 real-media-like brushes recreates the feeling of traditional oil brushes, alongside the vivid colour that medium provides. Created by Grant Friedman specifically as a free download, the brushes are nonetheless of a high quality and very useable in your projects.

20. Free floral brushes for Illustrator

Best free Illustrator brushes floral brushes

These free floral brushes are beautiful in their simplicity
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Gratiela Dascalu

Created by Romanian web designer, Gratiela Dascalu, this set of twelve beautifully simple floral brushes make short work of crafting flora-based embellishments. The brushes are free for both personal and commercial use, so you can get stuck straight in to using them on client projects too.

21. Grunge

Best Illustrator brushes Grunge

These mucky brushes will cost you but it's worth it
  • Price: $2.50 per pack
  • Artist/Designer: Seth (TheMeatGrinder)

Another gem from Deviantart, these deliciously mucky brushes come at a price: $2.50 per pack, of which there are two. Despite the (very low) cost, it's difficult to begrudge paying for a bit of grunge, especially when the brushes themselves create such visually gorgeous lines!

22. 3D star scatter brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes 3D star scatter

These free brushes add a retro feel to your vector project
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: brushportal.com

This is a pretty basic set of 24 scatter brushes for Illustrator, but the 3D effect works well for retro artwork and the colours/shading lends itself well to the same. Great if you need to add a little sparkle to some artwork in a hurry, and free!

23. Paper tooth brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes Paper tooth

Great for adding an authentic torn-paper feel
  • Price: Free
  • Artist/Designer: Equal and Opposite

A paper's tooth is the slight ragged edge or the nooks and crannies you'll inevitably find where the fibres of the medium have knitted together. These brushes create a look of authenticity in your artwork, accentuating and simulating the effect of a paper stock with bite!

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