Retro Photoshop Brushes: 40 of the Best

by Julia Sagar August 11, 2016

Retro Photoshop Brushes: 40 of the Best

It’s easy to find retro Photoshop brushes online. Picking high-quality ones, however, is an entirely different story. The internet is littered with free Photoshop brushes - some better than others - and finding the best for your collection can be a time-consuming process.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best retro Photoshop brushes for designers and illustrators. After all, having healthy libraries of high-quality resources is key to speeding up your workflow - but they can be tricky to curate when you’re facing tight deadlines, demanding clients or a crippling case of creative block.

Some of the retro and vintage Photoshop brushes in this selection are free for personal and commercial use; others come bundled with tutorials and freebies at a bargain price. We’ve highlighted the usage rights for each, and split the list into handy categories: retro eras; grunge; abstract; retro lettering, paper and books; vintage; steampunk; and other retro effects.

Whether you’re using Photoshop CS or CC, there should be something for you here - but we need your help. We’ll continue to update this list regularly, so if we’ve missed your favorite retro Photoshop brush set, or accidentally included something you don’t think makes the grade, please let us know in the comments below. Read on for our top 40 retro Photoshop brushes...

 

RETRO-ERA PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

 

01. Industry Press: tool presets

Retro Photoshop brushes: RetroSupply Standard Industry brush set

By: RetroSupply Co.
Cost: $15.00

Create intricate, authentic 1870s engraving-inspired design, or add line and crosshatching to shade your work, with our pro set of Photoshop tool presets. Compatible with Photoshop CS4 and above, the Industry Press set includes tool presets, seamless line patterns, high-res overlays, and an organized instruction guide.

 

02. Victorian Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Victorian

By: Diamara
Cost: Free for personal use only

The second in a series of Victorian Photoshop brushes by DeviantArt member Diamara, this high-quality set depicts elegant Victorian scenes, and is perfect for adding a vintage feel to your designs.

 

03. 1920s sport Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage sport

By: FidgetResources
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

DeviantArt member FidgetResource loves all things retro and vintage. Her collection of 1920s sport brushes are mainly sized around 1,500-2,000px, and are free for both commercial and non-commercial use. Tally ho!

 

04. 1940s Cosmopolitan brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: 1940s Cosmopolitan

By: moolis
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

There are 48 high-res Photoshop brushes in this set, which was created from a vintage 1940s copy of Cosmopolitan magazine that Brusheezy member moolis bought at a garage sale. The creator asks that you favorite and give credit if you use them. (See full details on the Brusheezy page.)

 

05. SpaceRanger Photoshop brush kit and tutorial pack

Retro Photoshop brushes: RetroSupply SpaceRanger

By: Brad Woodard, Brave of the Woods
Cost: $19.00 (save $10.00)

Create classic 1950s and 1960s-style illustrations with this set of 20 Photoshop brush presets - including technical pencils, form builders, standard pencils, conté crayon, print textures and more. The kit also comes with three step-by-step SpaceRanger tutorials by illustrator Brad Woodard.

 

06. Some Old Photos: Photoshop 7.0

Retro Photoshop brushes: Some Old Photos

By: KeepWaiting
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

DeviantArt member Andrew Hart, aka KeepWaiting, created these Photoshop brushes from photographs he found in his garage. They range from packaging to negatives and “other weird stuff”, and he dates them to around the late 1960s. He asks for credit via a link if you use them, but otherwise they’re free for commercial and non-commercial use.

 

 

GRUNGE PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

07. Standard Issue Subtle Brush Kit

Standard Issue Subtle Brush Kit - Demo from RetroSupply on Vimeo.

By: RetroSupply Co.
Cost: $15

You get 24 of RetroSupply founder Dustin Lee’s personal subtle grunge brushes with this bundle, plus an easy reference PDF, seven bonus brushes for use on the edges of your work, the RetroSupply 3-Step Texture Formula video tutorial (a detailed 10-minute video showing you how to get rich layered textures with crisp details and vivid color), and three additional bonus brush collections. Bargain.

Want to try before you buy? Download three of the Standard Issue Subtle Brushes free.

 

08. Vintage grunge brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage grunge

By: Alex16
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

This vintage grunge Photoshop brush set by Netherlands-based DeviantArt member Alex16 is free for commercial and non-commercial use - just watch the brand logos, which remain protected by copyright law.

 

09. 50 subtle grunge brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Subtle brush set

By: Liam McKay
Cost: Free for personal use

Boasting 50 retro Photoshop brushes that add a worn look to surfaces or text, this is the second set in designer Liam McKay’s popular collection of subtle grunge brushes, which he shares on Dribbble.

 

10. Subtle Photoshop brush set 3

Retro Photoshop brushes: subtle

By: Liam McKay
Cost: Free for personal use

Another bundle of retro Photoshop brushes by Liam McKay, the Subtle Brush Set 3 is free - just send him a link if you use it. “Feel free to rebound anything you make,” he says. “I'm always interested in seeing these put to good use!”

 

11. The Analog Ink Foundry: Photoshop pack

Retro Photoshop brushes: Vintage and Grunge Photoshop Brushes, Textures and Templates

By: RetroSupply Co.
Cost: $19.00

Our ultimate set of vintage and grunge Photoshop brushes, textures and templates is the closest you’ll get to inky effects without actually inking up your work in real life. It comes with an easy-to-use template with brushes for custom strokes, several Smart PSDs for the quick and easy jobs, textures and additional brushes (for more control and to use outside of the template in any PSD file).

 

12. Vector grunge brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vector grunge

By: famousx
Cost: Free for personal use only

These free vector grunge Photoshop brushes are available to share and adapt for non-commercial work, under a Creative Commons license. So far, they’ve been downloaded from QBrushes over 33,000 times.

 

 

ABSTRACT PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

13. Retro abstract circles

Retro Photoshop brushes: retro abstract circles

By: Jacob Gube
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Each of the 15 retro Photoshop brushes in this set has a 2,500px-diameter. The collection is perfect for adding funky, abstract, 70s-inspired decorative ornaments to your designs and artwork.

 

14. Retro vector Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: retro vector

By: Enigma-Design
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

The second in Enigma-Design’s retro series, this set of nine high-res Photoshop brushes is well-suited to large projects. It’s free, but the makers suggest a donation of $1.50 to enable them to continue creating quality resources for the creative community.

 

15. The Scrappin Cop: funky retro circle Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: funky retro

By: debh945
Cost: Free for personal use

For bold, vibrant patterns, look no further than this set of retro Photoshop brushes from DeviantArt member debh945. Huge funky circles collide with cute, tiny shapes to give a disco pop to your designs.  

 

16. Retro circle Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: retro circle brushes

By: slaughterdbc
Cost: Free for personal use

Want more circles? Try these - the first set from DeviantArt member slaughterdbc. They’re free to use, just send him a link to your final artwork.

 

17. Retro funk 2: Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: retro funk

By: ardcor
Cost: Free for personal use

For a retro geometric vibe, have a look at the Retro Funk 2 collection. It includes 44 dynamically generated brushes that are compatible with Photoshop CS, CS2 and CS3.

 

 

RETRO LETTERING, PAPER AND BOOKS

18. The Hand Lettering Toolkit

Retro Photoshop brushes: RetroSupply Hand Lettering Toolkit

By:
Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn and RetroSupply Co.
Cost: $19.00, $29.00 or $39.00

Level up your game with The Hand Lettering Toolkit, which has three different price-points to best suit your budget. The $39.00 option is overflowing with goodies, with 67 brushes, six helpful time-lapse videos showing illustrator Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn at work, four PSD files of completed hand-lettering work that match the videos (so you can see how they were made), a four-page PDF packed with ideas you can use in your lettering work, instructions for installing and seven bonus brushes.

For $19.00, meanwhile, you’ll receive 20 Photoshop brushes (including sketch pencils, inking pens, 2B, 4B, 6B, calligraphic pens, markers and tons more), plus a brush cheat sheet, a PSD file of completed hand-lettering work and instructions for installing your brushes.

 

19. Hand Lettering 101 Kit

By: Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn and Retro Supply Co.
Cost: Free

Illustrator and hand-letterer Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn’s super-brief guide to hand lettering is free. The video tutorial comes with a written step-by-step version to follow too, if you prefer (just hit the link above, and scroll down), and a free six-pack of bonus Photoshop brushes to walk through the techniques she shares.

 

20. Vintage French scripts 1: Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage French Scripts

By: 2LilOwlSgtudio
Cost: £11.34

This set of 35 large brushes is created from vintage French papers, and includes script brushes, beautiful engraving details, invoices, old receipts and seals to give your artwork an elegant vintage twist. They’re compatible with Photoshop CS2-CC, and Elements 9 and upwards. 

 

21. Vintage paper Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage paper

By: fiftyfivepixels
Cost: Free for personal work only

If you’re looking to create a retro or faded look in your artwork, this set of 19 high-res Photoshop brushes are just the ticket. Composed from scanned and photographed vintage papers, they make an atmospheric background to your layouts and should work with any CS version of Photoshop.  

 

22. Old Letter: Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Old Letter

By: Shiranui
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Austria-based DeviantArt member Shiranui created these Photoshop brushes to help age paper and hand-written letters, giving your designs a much older feel.

 

23. Old Bookie Goodness part 1: Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Old Bookie Goodness

By: remittancegirl
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

For dark, dank, vintage book-related bits and pieces, try this brush set from DeviantArt member remittancegirl - it’s perfect for artwork that requires a slightly sinister feel.

 

 

VINTAGE PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES 

24. Vintage floral and dragonfly Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage floral and dragonfly

By: Popsock
Cost: £7.56

Curated from multiple historic books, magazines and catalogs, this collection of 25 Photoshop brushes and 25 PNG images features vintage illustrations of florals, blooms and dragonflies. There are a few restrictions on commercial use - you can sell up to 500 pieces featuring this set before having to purchase a commercial or extended use license (full details on the site).   

 

25. 14 map Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage maps

By: Webtreats
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Want to create a vintage map effect? There are 14 high-res Photoshop brushes in this set of assorted maps, which have been downloaded from MyPhotoshopBrushes over 150,000 times so far.

 

26. Vintage hat Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage hats

By: Nadine Pau
Cost: Free

Everyone loves a quirky vintage hat, and this collection of 25 hat Photoshop brushes from Nadine Pau should help you find what you’re after. They’re sized between 232-702px, and were created in Photoshop CS3.

 

27. 12 vintage bicycle brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage bicycles

By: FidgetResources
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

FidgetResources’ cheerful set of 12 vintage bicycle and motorcycle brushes aren’t high-res, but they will add a Victorian feel to your designs.

 

28. Stamp Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage stamps

By: Sandy
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Brusheezy member Sandy uploaded this set of 80 vintage stamp brushes from her stamp collection. An image pack is included, and they’re free to download, edit and remix for personal and commercial use - as long as you credit Brusheezy. (Full usage details on the website.)

 

29. Vintage postcard set 1

Retro Photoshop brushes vintage postcards

By: FidgetResources
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Another from FidgetResources, this set of Photoshop brushes comes from her personal collection of vintage postcards. Again, they’re available for both commercial and non-commercial use, but the creator asks that you comment or favorite the set if you use them.

 

30. Retro Photoshop brush set

Retro Photoshop brushes: retro brushes

By: vwake
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Indian artist Vivek Dhage put together this cheeky set of retro Photoshop brushes. He says that they work with Photoshop 7, and adds that a credit would be nice.  

 

31. Mightee Mouse assorted Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: assorted

By: Mightee Mouse
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

From grunge boarders to old letters, scrolls, birds, butterflies, scatter stars and more, this varied collection of vintage brushes was made in Photoshop CS3, and is free for commercial and non-commercial use.

 

 

STEAMPUNK PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES

32. Retro photoshop brushes: steampunk bizarre

Retro Photoshop brushes: Steampunk bizarre

By: hogret
Cost: Free for personal use

You won’t find cogs and wheels in this fantastic set of 31 steampunk Photoshop brushes. As creator hogret explains, you can "easily find those elsewhere".

Instead, these brushes - which range in size from 2,270px to 150px - include all manner of: “bizarre contraptions, strange industrial revolution devices, vintage engineering diagrams, and some weird and quirky oddities”. There’s even a Victorian urinal stashed away in the pack somewhere. As usual, a comment or like would be appreciated.

 

33. 25 steampunk Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Steampunk brushes

By: Fidget Resources
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Created from a vintage 1900s atlas, these retro Photoshop brushes range from optics and mechanics to hydraulics, and will add a steampunk feel to your designs.

 

34. Steampunk Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: steampunk Helen Bradley

By: Helen Bradley
Cost: Free for personal use (low-cost commercial licenses are available)

For a funky feel, try Helen Bradley’s 22-brush collection of scanned watch parts. They’re semi-transparent, so click them multiple times for an intense color, and they range from 658px to 2,405px in size.

 

 

OTHER RETRO EFFECTS 

35. Rolled Paint Set 1: retro Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: rolled paint

By: FudgeGraphics
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Freelance graphic designer, letterer and all-round good egg Franz Jeitz created this set of 10 high-resolution ‘rolled paint’ Photoshop brushes. They can be used to quickly grunge up a design, or to create distressed borders. Alternatively you can vectorize them and use as a scalable mask.

 

36. Bokeh Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Bokeh effects

By: YouThedesigner
Cost: Free for personal and commercial use

Add a retro blur effect to your designs with this collection of high-quality bokeh Photoshop brushes, created by Philippines-based illustrator Kerby Rosanes.

 

37. CU funky Paisley brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: paisley

By: The Scrappin Cop
Cost: Free for personal use; $2 per commercial-use download

Paisley isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you’re after a funky collection of paisley brushes and PNGs, then this set is for you. It's free for personal use, and you can head over to the site for full commercial use license information.  

 

38. Vintage ornaments

Retro Photoshop brushes: vintage ornaments

By: gojo23
Cost: Free for personal use.

A quick way to add a vintage feel to your artwork is with an ornamental flourish - so try this set of 26 old-fashioned Photoshop brushes, which include everything from frames and corners to scroll-work and headpieces.

The collection is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License, which means you can use it non-commercially as long as you credit the artist. Check the website for full details.

 

39. Vintage border curlicues

Retro Photoshop brushes Vintage borders curlicues

By: Lyotta
Cost: Free for personal use only

Need more retro ornaments? Try these beautiful high-res border curlicues by DeviantArt member Lyotta. She requests that you credit her with a link if you use them in your artwork.

 

40. Vintage lace Photoshop brushes

Retro Photoshop brushes: Vintage lace

By: fiftyfivepixels
Cost: Free for personal use

For vintage lace, look no further that this set of 24 high-res Photoshop brushes. Based on vector illustrations of vintage clothing, christening gowns, table and bed linen from around the 19th century, these retro Photoshop brushes make brilliant backgrounds, borders and decorative elements.

 





Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar

Author

Julia is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously a commissioning editor for Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, net, 3D World and Imagine FX magazines, she’s been writing about design for 10 years. Tweet her: @JuliaSagar


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