The best premium and free Illustrator brushes

10. Wax crayon brushes

  • Price: Free

Chris Spooner borrowed some of his daughter's wax crayons to put together this authentic set of crayon brushes for Adobe Illustrator. The pack includes 12 brushes, including solid shades and mixtures of two different crayons. Rather than stretching to fit, these brushes repeat to give a more realistic effect. Use them to add a hand-drawn aesthetic to your projects.

11. Spring has sprung

  • Price: Free for personal use

Bring a touch of spring to your designs with this set of free Illustrator brushes from Mels Brushes. As well as the brush set, this download includes borders in EPS, JPEG and PNG format, which you can use to finish off your designs. Use this pack free in your personal projects, or buy a licence if you want to use it in commercial work.

12. Linocut brushes

  • Price: Free

Get the effect of traditional wood or linocuts, but without the danger of gouging a bit of your hand off, with these free Illustrator brushes. The pack of 25 brushes includes a range of different brush shapes, including tapered strokes, texture fills, split brushes and edge shading. These brushes are especially well suited to drawing on an iPad, as the pressure and tapering effects are built into each brush.

13. Victorian brushes

  • Price: Free

Russian artist Segey Poluse is the man behind this pack of free Illustrator brushes. Available to download though his DeviantArt profile, these brushes are ideal for adding some antique flourishes to your digital artwork. There are 11 brushes in total, all inspired by the Victorian aesthetic.

14. Teardrop foliage

  • Price: Free

These versatile brushes can be used in a range of situations, including the stylised foliage the name suggests. The pack includes a number of variations, with different head shapes and stem arrangements, to bring variety to your designs. These brushes are completely free to use, and there are SVG and EPS files available as well as Illustrator ones. 

15. Stipple shading brushes

  • Price: Free

Designer Chris Spooner – aka Spoongraphics – crafted this free pack of eight stipple shading brushes to help you easily paint grungy details onto your artwork with Illustrator’s brush tool. 

Stippling is a traditional technique that uses lots of dots at different densities to build up tones and shade, and is particularly effective for creating a retro effect in your illustrations.  

16. Free halftone vector brushes

  • Price: Free

This sample selection of free halftone Illustrator brushes are part of a larger pack of halftone vector brushes. Created by UI/UX designer Rob Brink, they’re perfect for adding old-school texture to your illustrations, without spending a penny.

17. Rodeo

  • Price: Free

Yee-hah! Rope can be really fiddly to draw, so if you need some in your imagery the go for this easy option instead. Rodeo is a hand-drawn rope brush for Adobe Illustrator CC. You can apply it to any path, as well as change the rope width and colour.

18. Smoke

  • Price: Free

This set of smoke-like brushes is perfect for adding a bit of atmosphere to any illustration, whether it's for backgrounds or things that smoke, steam or mist. Play around with the opacity and blend modes in Illustrator to get some really nice effects.

19. Swoosh brushes

  • Price: Free

This pack of Illustrator brushes is ideal for making your own custom curls and swirls. Play around with them to see how they could work in your designs – the above image shows the brushes as applied to a simple spiral path. They are free to download from bitbox.

20. Marker brushes

  • Price: Free

This pack includes a whopping 230 free Illustrator brushes based on marker pens. The designer, Nick Pagano, states that he tried to include as many colours as possible, but there's no doubt that's a bigger range than your average pencil case.

21. Floral vector and brush pack

Best free Illustrator brushes - Floral vector and brush pack

A wider selection of florals than that which ships with Illustrator
  • Price: Free for personal and commercial use

This handy set of floral plate-inspired brushes is also available as a set of EPS assets for those times when you simply want to drop in stock art into your project. 

The quality of the art itself is comparable to the free florals that ship with Illustrator, but there's a wider selection available here, and the fact that they're not part of Illustrator's default arsenal means you're less likely to get instant recognition of the source.

22. Abstract brushes

Best free Illustrator brushes - Abstract brushes

  • Price: Free

Deviantart is always a good place to find free-to-use resources and assets, as this example from alethiologie demonstrates. A handy set of brushes that you can use to create abstract shapes and patterns, including some pretty crazy-looking ornaments.

23. Dry paint brush strokes

Free Illustrator brushes: dry paint

Produce handdrawn-looking brush strokes with this free pack
  • Price: Free

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.

24. Candy cane brushes

  • Price: Free

Something a little festive for you: candy cane brushes for Illustrator. There are two brushes in this pack – one red and one black – and they're free for use on personal projects. You can also email the creator pica-stock if you want to use them commercially. 

25. Pattern brushes

Best Illustrator brushes: patterns

For stunning patterns, look no further than this set of 15 free Illustrator brushes
  • Price: Free

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.

26. Marker pen strokes

  • Price: Free

Create realistic marker pen effects in your digital designs with the bumper pack of 64 Illustrator brushes. It includes a range of stroke types and scribbles, which you can mix up to create different effects. This pack comes from FudgeGraphics, and it's free to use in both commercial and personal projects.

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