54 Free Watercolor Brushes for Adobe Illustrator

Tired of having to subscribe before downloading the brushes and finding out they are not free for commercial use after you get them? 

In this article, you’ll find 54 free realistic hand-drawn watercolor brushes for Adobe Illustrator. You don’t have to create any account or subscribe, simply download and use them. 

And yes, they are free for both personal and commercial use!

Although Adobe Illustrator already has preset watercolor brushes in the Brush Library, you might want to use a different brush for specific projects, and it’s always nice to differentiate 😉 

I’ve been working as a graphic designer for more than ten years. One of the most important things I learn is to be different and show your personal touch in your work. Freehand drawings are actually pretty good for this purpose. 

I was painting the other day, and I thought it would be nice to have some of my own watercolor brushes for use digitally as well. So I took some time to digitalize the brush strokes, and I’ve made the brushes editable, so you can change the colors. 

If you like them, feel free to try them out on your design. 

Note: The brushes are totally free for personal or commercial use. It took me nearly 20 hours to complete, so a link credit would be appreciated 😉 

The brushes in the download file are grayscale, red, blue, and green, but you can change them to any other colors you like. I’ll show you how in the quick guide below.

Adding Brushes to Adobe Illustrator & How to Use

Once you download the file, you can quickly add brushes to Adobe Illustrator following the steps below.

Step 1: Open the watercolor brushes (.ai) file you just downloaded. 

Step 2: Open the Brushes panel from Window > Brushes

Step 3: Select the brush that you like, click on the New Brush option and select Art Brush

Step 4: You can edit the brush style in this dialog window. Change the brush name, direction, and colorization, etc. 

The most important part is Colorization. Choose Tints and Shades, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to change the brush color when you use it. 

Click OK and you can use the brush! 

Select the Paintbrush tool from the toolbar, choose a stroke color and change the fill color to none. 

Try out the brush! 

Saving Brushes

When you add a new brush to the Brushes panel, it’s not automatically saved, which means if you open a new document, the new brush will not be available on the new document brushes panel. 

If you want to save brushes for future use, you’ll need to save them to the brush library. 

Step 1: Select the brushes you like from the Brushes panel. 

Step 2: Click on the hidden menu on the top-right corner of the panel and choose Save Brush Library

Step 3: Name the brushes and click Save. Naming the brush helps you find the brushes easier. 

When you want to use them, go to Brush Libraries Menu > User Defined and you’ll find the brushes. 

Happy drawing! Let me know how you like the brushes 🙂

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Akram

    To extract need password.
    Please give me extract password

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hi Akram,

      The file doesn’t require a password to access.

      Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hey there!

      Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble using the brushes. May I know what was the issue?

      Reply
      • Alison

        Oh my goodness, June! You are so very polite in your answers to some extremely curt comments/questions (commands, maybe?)…
        Good on you, you’re a better person than I’d have been 😉
        Blessings to you.

        Warmly,
        Ali

        Reply
        • Alison

          P.S. On second thought, I probably shouldn’t have written a thoughtless comment like that – I was so used to reading your helpful content, written in such a positive & giving flow, then straight to the first 2 comments here, and I was so shocked – I apologise, June.
          I hope you read these comments, but then decide not to post them…😬

          Reply
        • June Escalada

          Hey Alison,

          Really happy to hear that you like my content and thanks for your kind words hehe.

          Reply
  • Maya

    Thank you so much. 🙂

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      You’re welcome, Maya.

      Hope you liked them.

      Reply
  • Terre

    LOVE YOUR WATERCOLOR BRUSHES!

    I’m so impressed with how much you know about Illustrator, and how well you teach others about Illustrator.

    Thank you so much, June!

    I’ve signed up for your newsletters and will make sure and credit you when I use anything you’ve made, like these beautiful brushes, whenever I can.

    I’m wondering if you might put your name to this brush set, or anything you’ve given away to people, so we can remember more easily to credit you? Something like June Escalada – free watercolor brushes for Illustrator.ai” (I’m going to do that when I close this file – but is there another way?)

    Thank you again, June. Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hey Terre!

      You’re very welcome. Happy to hear you like my brushes and thanks for your suggestions.

      I’ll be creating more freebies and let you know via Newsletter when they are ready! Stay tuned 🙂

      Reply
  • Abraham

    Hi,
    Thank you for your work. Is there any chance to get a CS6 compatible version?

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hi Abraham, I can save a CS6 version and send it to you.

      Reply
      • Abraham

        That would be great!.
        How do I contact you? or do I just post my email here?

        You are awesome!!

        Reply
        • June Escalada

          Hey Abraham,

          I just emailed you with the brushes attached. Let me know how you like them!

          Reply
      • Janette

        Hi June, love your stuff and thanks for letting us use it, any way you would have something for my old CS5 version? Thanks in advance!

        Reply
        • June Escalada

          Hi Janette,

          Sure. I just emailed you the cs version.

          Reply
  • Em

    hi! it’s not working for me 🙁 Is there any chance to get a CC 2018 compatible version?

    Reply
  • Lydia

    Wow – thank you so much! The brushes are really beautiful.

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      You’re welcome, Lydia. Glad you like them.

      Reply
  • sab

    dear john
    Best Regards
    you are wonderful
    You were very good at presenting the topic
    I wish you good luck

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  • Calandrinia

    Hi June! thank you so much for your great artwork, actually the watercolor brushes file doesn’t work on my Illustrator 2019 in Windows 10 🙁 can you help me to get any version compatible to mine? thank you^^

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hi Calandrinia,

      Sure I can send another version to you.

      Reply
  • amelia

    I can’t use ur brushes bcs its saved on the latest version of ai, and I can’t open it with my 2019 ver.
    But ur clear instruction of how save brushes help me a lot. Thank you!

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hi Amelia,

      Would you like me to send you the lower ai version of the brushes?

      Reply
  • Raabia

    Hi, Thankyou so much. I have been searching for water color brushes for long. It really works for me. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      You’re welcome, Raabia.

      Reply
  • Angel

    OMG, I love you.

    This is the most easy step by step tutorial and the result is gorgeous.

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hey Angel! You’re welcome!

      Reply
  • Driorama

    hii, i’m using illustrator 2019, when i opened the file it turned out to be unreadable by illustrator 2019, i was wondering if i can get the right file for illustrator 2019 please

    thank you

    Reply
  • Salim

    Hi, How are you 🙂 it’s not working in CS6 version. please help to get CS6 version.

    Reply
  • ajla

    i cant use it in cc 18, can u send me the cc 18 comp version please?

    Reply
  • Martin V

    This is just AMAZIIIING!!!! I really appreciate the work on this, is very useful!!! Thank you!!🤩👏

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      You’re welcome, Martin!

      Reply
  • Kevin

    Works perfectly. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Woojae

    Hi June,

    If you don’t mind, could you please send the file with a CC 2019 version?
    Thanks

    Woojae

    Reply
  • Mary

    Hi June! I downloaded the brushes, but it opens up as a photoshop pdf. I’m using the most current creative suite, is it compatible with this?

    I hope its a quick fix. I’m new to this technique and I’m so glad I found your website! I appreciate all of your knowledge
    and expertise!

    Mary

    Reply
    • Mary

      June, I should clarify that there are no images in the pdf … it says there are words that say its a pdf file that was saved without pdf content?

      Reply
      • June Escalada

        Hi Mary,

        Which pdf?

        Reply
  • Zully

    Hi June, the brushes seem amazing, is there any chance you have the file in the 2019 compatible version? sorry for the grammar mistakes English is not my first language

    Reply
    • June Escalada

      Hi Zully, one of the links I posted in the comment section is compatible with all CC versions 🙂

      Reply
  • Ahmed Rubel

    Very helpful post ever I read about illustration! Thanks

    Reply