Already one of the oldest art forms in the world, watercolor has also made its mark on the world of digital art. Having the right tools at your disposal can help you perfect your skills in using watercolor in a digital medium.
Brushes you use should be competent enough to emulate the exact texture, tone, and gradient you’re looking for. They should also provide you with an entire range of color options plus a complementing range of brush-stroke variations. For nuance, adding effects resembling wash, splatters, and drops should be included options as well.
Keeping all these parameters in perspective, choosing a great set of brushes might be frustrating for some. Therefore, we present you with a curated selection of the 10 best watercolor brush sets that you can use with Adobe Illustrator.
Top 10 Best Watercolor Brushes for Illustrator (Free & Premium)
Below is a summary of the recommended Watercolor Brushes for Illustrator
- Ultimate Watercolor Brush Toolbox – $15 (Editor’s Choice)
- Ultimate Watercolor Designers Kit For Illustrator – free with subscription
- Watercolor Brushes – $18
- 94 Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop & Illustrator – $42
- Vector Botanical Watercolor Brushes – $21
- Ink Wash Watercolour Brushes Set – $15
- Watercolour ProBrush – free with subscription
- Watercolor and Black Pattern Brushes – free with subscription
- AquaFlow Watercolor Generator – free with subscription
- Watercolor Illustrator Art Brushes – free with subscription
Subscription refers to Envato Elements which gives you access to 50+ million assets for as little as $15/month. Click here to learn more.
You may also be interested in our feature on 101+ Stunning Watercolor Resources for Art & Design that includes hundreds of watercolor graphics, textures & effects. Plus our feature on the best watercolor Procreate brushes.
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Best Watercolor Brushes for Illustrator
Ultimate Watercolor Brush Toolbox – 34+ Brushes (Editor’s Choice)
An extensive set of watercolor brushes, the Ultimate Brush Toolbox – Watercolor is a brush pack that was painstakingly developed, and it shows. With unmatched authenticity, the toolbox brings you as close to the source material as possible. Each of the 34 brushes has been created using real watercolor samples and carries approval from professional watercolor artists.
With 34 real watercolor brushes, it’s already an amazing deal. However, the pack also works with Procreate, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Designer. This means that those 34 brushes are compatible with five popular design apps, giving you 170 brushes in total. The pack also includes 12 vector texture brushes and 12 high-resolution surface textures.
The style effects that come with the pack include paper round, dry-out, rough wet, and random wash. In terms of variety in brush strokes, you will get strokes that match the output of a perfect brush as well as that of an old worn brush. Nuances and subtleties of a textured round stroke, a loaded flat stroke, or a distressed stroke can be added easily. Also included are additional water blending brushes, plus a vast range of splatters, drops, and washes including the effects of stress wash, grunge cloud, sponge wash, and media wash.
Ultimate Watercolor Designers Kit For Illustrator
With 74 amazing vector watercolor effects brushes. the Ultimate Watercolor Designers Kit For Illustrator features handmade brushes that cater to the needs of the wide range of watercolor illustrator styles, watercolor to vector actions, and high-quality PNG shapes. Overall, recreating 100% unique watercolor vector effects becomes super easy with this pack.
Apart from the brushes, the pack also comes with 41 high-resolution watercolor PNG files and a detailed PDF tutorial on how to set up one’s graphic styles and actions. The pack is compatible with Adobe Illustrator CS3+.
The Watercolor Brushes from The Artifex Forge is a great collection of 55 authentically textured, naturalistic, watercolor & vector brushes. With a wide range of authentically textured strokes sampled from real watercolor, the pack proves immensely useful for building up layers of washes and creating tone. If you are looking for options that can bring both character and charm to your artwork, this is the set you should aim for. Incredibly easy to use, simply activate the blend mode to add a multiplier effect on the strokes and overlap them with each other.
If you are using this pack on a tablet, you can enable the pressure sensitivity feature. However, the feature only works for Illustrator CS5+. The pack includes a quick reference guide helping you to steer through the features of each brush so that you don’t spend time experimenting with which brush to pick. It also comes with a curated collection of preview images and is compatible with Adobe Illustrator CS1 and newer versions.
94 Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop & Illustrator
A great combination of high-quality watercolor brushes that can help you create a wide range of backgrounds. The Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop & Illustrator brush set offers a naturalistic feel that you can use to create a wide variety of textures. Sampled from real watercolor, the textured strokes come with as much authenticity as possible. One of the most enticing features of these brushes is that they spin automatically when you move the pen or computer mouse. Set the blending mode and overlap as many strokes as you want. This set is great for creating any tone or gradient you want.
94 brushes come broken down into 34 unique vector watercolor brushes and 60 watercolor brushes in high resolution. Capable of generating very gentle and light strokes, these brushes are ideal for creating product packaging or branding solutions. You can use them to design your stationery, invitation cards, festival and conference branding material, print designs, and more. The pack is compatible with Adobe Illustrator Version CC 2014 or higher.
Vector Botanical Watercolor Brushes
A unique combination of 40 vector watercolor brushes, the Vector Botanical Watercolor Brushes are easy-to-use and can be immensely effective in drawing any type of botanical vector illustration. The brush set comes with four watercolor brushstrokes that you can use to draw branches, add leaves, and then add flowers. The set comes in segments of 16 flower brushes, 14 leaves brushes, and three brushes for branches. You can create a whole lot of seamless unique designs with the pack. Its areas of application include clothes prints, wedding invitations and cards, cosmetic branding and packaging, and fashion and advertising and is compatible with Adobe illustrator version CC 2017 or higher.
Ink Wash Watercolour Brushes Set
Consisting of 30 ready-to-use vector ink and water art brushes, the Ink Wash Watercolour Brushes Set from Retro Supply Co. has been designed to help recreate the look of mid-century commercial watercolor designs. Made by hand, the set doesn’t require you to upload swatches or read a manual before getting to work.
Compatible with Adobe Illustrator CC, CS6, CS5, and CS4. The brush set also allows you to add colors to them. While it is branded as an ink wash set, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any variety. Not only can you add colors but you can also mix them like real watercolors. Just choose a brush and a color to get started. Offering a wide range of effects and color tones options, you can also quickly add shade and depth, giving your projects a whole other level of detail that wasn’t there before.
A super sophisticated collection of 83 AI realistic handmade brushes, the Watercolour ProBrush kit by LeoSupply provides you with 22 watercolor dry brushes and 38 watercolor strokes brushes for all of your projects. The kit also includes 11 brushes the create a realistic watercolor effect and 12 brushes for thin watercolor effects. Your OS won’t be a problem as the brush set is designed to work with both Mac and Windows. Initially designed for illustrators, professional designers, and artists, the Watercolour ProBrush set is perfect for artists at any level.
Watercolor and Black Pattern Brushes
A fresh collection of 42 watercolor handmade brushes in vector format is what you’ll get from the Watercolor and Black Pattern Brushes set. The pack even comes with a set of 42 black pattern brushes as a bonus. Suitable for both print and web projects, each brush can have its size, shape, and color adjusted. However, one thing to remember while using this pack is since they don’t include corner segments, they would fit better the curved paths, circles, or straight lines.
The brushes are a great choice for creating flexible borders, logos, and frames. In general, if you need to add a handmade feel to your artwork, you can succeed using the brushes of this pack. For high-volume commercial outputs, you can use this pack to create business cards, merchandise, posters, T-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, invitations, blogs, and more.
AquaFlow Watercolor Generator
One of the most comprehensive collections for watercolor on Adobe Illustrator, the AquaFlow Watercolor Generator pack is loaded with 54 vector brushes, 54 vector shapes, 54 symbols, 36 seamless watercolor patterns & paper textures. Not to be outdone, the pack also comes with more than 150 bonus vector illustrations.
Aimed at helping new designers have all the useful tools, resources, and assets they need to perfect the handmade watercolor style. The source files for each brush variety in the pack, are available in multiple file-formats including .png.
Watercolor Illustrator Art Brushes
The Watercolor Illustrator Art Brushes are a perfect set of 18 hand-drawn watercolor textured brushes that you can use to create digital artwork. With the high-resolution vector and PNG brushes, the set helps you recreate a handmade feel. Both print and web project designers can benefit from this pack, as one of the unique features of these brushes is that you can adjust their color and shape.
The entire set comes in two kits. One is color fix and the other one is color adjustable. It includes a vector AI file with 18 strokes and a high-resolution PNG file with 18 strokes on transparent background. Moreover, it includes both watercolor texture vector and high-resolution JPG files.
Best Watercolor Brushes for Illustrator
When it comes to picking the right watercolor brush, you should first consider your experience level. If you are a beginner in digital art or the medium of watercolor, go for the essential sets of brushes as they will give you the most popular and frequently used brushes. Also, keep a check on whether the brushes are user-friendly.
If you’re an experienced artist looking for nuance and detailing, brush sets that give you the choice to add a wide range of drops and washes are the ones to look for. Be sure to check whether it allows you to multiple layers or varieties in texture. If you have all these facilities available in the pack, as a seasoned artist, go for it.