It’s official: we’ve just released a unique, ultra-limited set of new vector brushes to inject grit, grime, and authenticity into your designs. And we’re not joking – some of them were 65 years in the making…
So what are they? The Garage Grime Vector Brushes are a set of four packs, each with 15 unapologetically gritty Illustrator brushes (including some no-stretch vector brushes) that will make your work look as though it was drawn on paper.
Inspired by a pack of 1950s wax oil crayons we found just sitting in a garage – hence the name – these brushes recreate the rough, unfiltered sketches made by commercial artists in the mid 20th century, and will add that vital human touch to your designs and illustrations.
But that’s just part of the story. We had a ton of fun making them, so we thought we’d take you behind the scenes on the creative process. Here’s how we made the brand new Garage Grime Vector Brushes…
Why did you create the Garage Grime Vector Brushes?
Dustin Lee: It all started when we found a 65-year-old pack of wax oil crayons in a garage. They’d just been sitting there all this time. We thought it would be amazing to breathe new life into media that had been waiting for over half a century to be used, and it became the inspiration for an entire set of brushes.
Not all the brushes in each pack are made from these wax oil crayons – we wanted the set to be flexible and diverse – but they’re all informed by the concepts of raw sketching, reckless creativity, and getting dirty.
Who are they for?
DL: Anyone who wants to quickly add a rough, handmade feel to their artwork – but still maintain the control and scalability of vector brushes – will benefit from the Garage Grime Vector Brushes.
How did you make the brushes look so authentic?
DL: We created the wax oil crayons in collaboration with Rob Brink of Brink Design Co, and the rest were crafted here at RetroSupply using broken Micron pens, actual used motor oil, Conté crayons, and other messy goodness.
As always, we made them from real source material and spent a lot of time looking for authentic old media. For example, we searched antique shops, eBay, estate sales and more for old art materials, catalogs and other real samples to draw from.
We then created them like this:
- First we made tons of strokes and textures.
- We then cleaned and refined them in Photoshop.
- Next, we converted them to vector with high-resolution scans and premium vectorization software (VectorMagic vectormagic.com).
- Then we carefully reviewed each texture, and fixed stray points or any other artifacts to make the texture amazing.
- Lastly, we turned them into brushes and tested them extensively by recreating hand-sketched retro artwork.
The Garage Grime Vector Brushes were made and refined in Washington state, North Carolina, and Alabama. They passed through the hands of many designers who are amazing (and great friends), with each person helping to build on them and make the set better.
How can I get started with them?
DL: It’s easy: just install the brushes like any other vector-based brush in Illustrator. Then use our brush reference sheet to review the brushes, and inspect the sample artwork to reverse-engineer how we use them. All you have to do is start drawing with Illustrator’s Pen tool, Pencil tool, Shape tools, or a tablet.
Can you share some pro tips for creating insane effects with the brushes?
DL: Yep! There are hundreds of way to create incredible effects in your work using the Garage Grime Vector Brushes… Here are three:
01) Make your lettering stand out
Use the Garage Grime Vector Brushes for the main lines in your Illustrator work – that’s a given. But one of the best things about our tools is you can experiment and do amazing stuff. For example, we found that with some of the thicker wax oil brushes you can use them to create amazing shading and highlights on lettering.
02) Create amazing sweeping strokes
Another cool trick is to try playing with the no-stretch brushes. Unlike most Illustrator brushes, they won’t compress or elongate the strokes, so you can create sweeping continuous strokes and get amazing results. This is perfect for more artistic linework.
03) Change the brush width
By increasing the brush width, the brushes become grimey and awesome for texture and shading. Alternatively, you can decrease the brush width, and they work amazing as pencils and Conté crayons. Have a play!
How limited is this release?
DL: We’re only making 200 sets available – once they’re sold out, no one else will be able to get their hands on the brushes for a minimum of six weeks.
The Oil & Grease Vector Brush Pack will be the first of the four that’s made available (from Thursday 10 November at 10am PST), and we’ll deliver you a grimy new garage-inspired pack every Thursday for the next three weeks. Each pack has a few mystery surprises in – one of them is insane! We’re super excited to see how people react… Let us know what you think!