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.

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