Happy Tuesday! I’m not gonna lie, this week’s tutorial is one of my favorites. Essentially, we’re combining the watercolor photoshop brush tutorial from a few weeks ago with last week’s ribbon tutorial. And we’re doing it all in Illustrator and keeping things simple and easy ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ll start by taking some watercolor textures on transparent backgrounds (like these, these or these), and then directly convert them into watercolor texture brushes in Illustrator. You’ll be able to transform the textures into any shape using the brush tool to create beautiful results. Create them once, then save them out for infinite future uses, too! Read on to see how!

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Create watercolor texture brushes in adobe illustrator

Create Watercolor Texture Brushes in Adobe Illustrator

Mentioned in the tutorial:

tuesday tips

Just like last week’s tutorial, here are the written how-to’s in case you need to reference this in the future!

  • File > Place in your texture of choice. It must be on a transparent background (meaning it must be a transparent psd file or transparent png file). See this course (video #7) on how to remove backgrounds on your own textures.
  • Once placed, scale your texture down. Use the shortcut: shift, alt, click and drag a corner to simultaneously scale every side of your texture at once. Remember, the size of the texture here will determine the default size of your brush. So! If you have a large artboard, go a little bigger – super small artboard, shrink that baby wayyy down.
  • Before we can create the brush out of the texture, it needs to be rasterized. With the texture selected, go object > rasterize. When the rasterize settings pops up, be sure you select ‘transparent’ under the background category.
  • Navigate to your brushes panel and hit the icon for a new brush. Select ‘Art Brush’ from the next pop up.
  • In your art brush settings, make sure ‘stretch to fit stroke length’ is selected and the second overlap icon is selected.
  • With your new brush selected, hit ‘b’ on your keyboard and draw a path! Scale the texture if needed using the stroke palette ๐Ÿ™‚
  • To save your new brush for future use, follow the instructions in this tutorial. Done!

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Every Tuesday's content creator and founder. I help creatives build and improve their digital skills to open new opportunities.
Latest comments
  • Hi Teela! Just saying thank you for your awesome tutorials ๐Ÿ™‚
    You inspire me. Keep it up chica!

  • Hi Teela,

    Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials – very interesting ideas and clearly explained. Unfortunately, I had a terrible time with this. I spent hours trying to create a vector watercolor brush with one of the free textures you offer, and it wouldn’t work. It just, in AI, kept giving me the message: “The selected artwork contains an element that cannot be used in an art brush”. I did everything as you said, with the transparent background, etc. I’m so frustrated!


      • oh dear (sorry for the caps-lock, it won’t turn off). so i can’t do this in cs6? IS THERE A WAY TO JUST BUY AND DOWNLOAD YOUR BRUSHES?

  • I wish I could just buy a set of these!

    • Me too!

  • Hi Teela! I love your tutorials, I am wondering if there is a way to desaturate these watercolor brushes in Illustrator so that i can make them my own colors similar to the way you did in photoshop? Maybe you have a tutorial on this? Or maybe its not possible in Illustrator. Im a newbie! Thanks for all you do.

      • Thank you for your quick response!

  • Hello, i just discovered your page and I almost did all the illustrator tutorials. But with this one as soon as I go to my brushes to create a new one, I select art brush and it says ” The select artwork contains an element that cannot be used in an art brush?” I tried to google for answers but nothing seem to work. Any ideas?

    Thank you

  • Thank you, that’s great !


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