How to Install Brushes in Adobe Illustrator

When using Adobe Illustrator, especially when drawing or painting you will be using brushes. With brushes, you may make distinctive strokes with a variety of looks. And although Illustrator provides many preset brushes, you may want to add your own at some point. 

Installing brushes into Illustrator is very easy to do and only takes a few steps. It’s common for designers to make their own brushes, but if you need an effect or style quickly, you may use standard brushes from websites like Creative Market, or Behance

My name is Aly, I have been working with Illustrator for over five years. In this article, I will be explaining step by step how you can easily add/install brushes into Illustrator. 

Key Takeaways

  • Make sure after downloading any brush into your files, you open the Zip file first before trying to install them to Illustrator. 
  • Make sure the sites you are downloading your brushes from have the correct file type such as .ai so you know it will be compatible with Illustrator. 
  • You cannot use Photoshop brushes in Adobe Illustrator.

How to Instal Illustrator Brushes 

Follow the five simple steps below to learn how you can install brushes onto your workspace in Illustrator. 

Step 1: Unzip your brushes from your files. Usually, when downloading brushes off websites they will be placed into a zip file wherever you store your files. Most likely the file will end in .ai format.

Make sure you click and open the zip file before we go into Illustrator or the brushes will not be able to be installed. 

Step 2: Open Illustrator, from here you will either need to open a file that you want to be working on, or create a new document. For my example, I am going to open a new blank document.

Step 3: In your document, go up to Window > Brush Libraries > Other Library. 

Step 4: Your files will now appear and from here you can click and choose the file you previously unzipped. Once you have selected it, click Open

Step 5: A panel for the new library will now appear. The primary Brushes Panel will immediately display any brushes you choose and apply from the new brush library panel. 

If you want to save new brushes, choose Save Brushes from the Brush Libraries menu, name the brush, and save the brush. 

You will find the new brushes in your Brushes libraries menu > User Defined and choose the name of the brush. 

For example, I’ve just added the brush “test”, so I can find it through User Defined > test.

Final Thoughts

Adding new brushes to Adobe Illustrator is a great way to expand your toolkit and creativity process. Make sure you download the right file type and it’d be so easy to add and use them in Adobe Illustrator.

Any questions about installing brushes in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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