The RetroSupply Co. Brush Guide for Illustrators

Creating retro and vintage illustrations is all about being a student of history. Following great retro tutorials, studying authentic retro characters, and learning the language of the style is what it's all about.

If you're working digitally, you'll also want the right tools to recreate the look of the era. That's why we've put together the RetroSupply Brush Guide for Illustrators. Whether you work in Illustrator or Photoshop, you'll find the perfect brushes, textures and tool presets here for your next illustration project.

 

Illustrator Brushes

Retro brushes for Illustrator

The Vector Brush Toolbox

This pack contains just about every kind of vector brush you can imagine. Packs include pencils, pens, chalk, ink and water, halftones, crosshatching, and sponges. Easily our most-popular vector pack. 

Here's a tutorial we've made showcasing the brushes being used in a retro character illustration.

Shading brushes for Illustrator

Irvington High

This one's a mixed bag folks. This pack is best for shading, adding textures, and filling in areas. Includes pen hatching, interference patterns, gloppy paint slathers, and other random textured goodies. 

Fun Fact: This was made in the middle of the night in a totally zenned out state. This is probably the weirdes pack we carry.

Paint brushes for Illustrator by Von Glitschka

DragStrip 2

A collection of 42 painterly vector brushes. This pack is great for illustrations that need a painerly look. I've seen this pack used a lot for children's book illustrations. 

The brushes are Grade A awesome. But what really sets this pack apart is the tutorials taught by Von Glitschka. The man is a master of vector illustration and the knowledge he drops on you is worth every penny. 

Retro pencil brushes for Illustrator

VectorSketch

A collection of 40 pencils made from authentic old 2B's, charcoal pencils, and everything in between. This is probably the best-selling individual item included in The Vector Brush Toolbox.

It does a solid job of making your vector work look like it was drawn with pencils.

Retro Halftone Brushes for Illustrator

VectorTone

I made this pack from an Army Surplus catalog I got into a bidding war for on eBay. The halftones and lines were scanned and made from the catalog print.

This has resulted in a lot of owners of the pack loving VectorTone because it's so hard to find brushes with proper proportions and imperfections found in this pack.

Von Glitschka Illustrator Brushes

Organic Vector Brush Essentials

This is one of Von Glitschka's most comprehensive packs of brushes he ever made for us. It includes three brush packs including: shader brushes, texture brushes, and organic line brushes. 

Plus, Von added some extra goodies including three tutorials and his original Ai artwork you can reverse engineer for deep learning.

PhotoShop Brushes

Brad Woodard Illustrator brushes and tutorials

WoodLand Brush & Tutorial Pack

The Woodland Wonderland Pack was a collaboration between Brave the Woods and myself. We had a lot of long conversations about what made a good brush pack for Illustrators.

The result is a set of brushes ideal for illustrations with a handmade feel. Plus, you get in-depth tutorials from Brad Woodard on how he makes illustrations like the one on the cover.

Illustrator brushes and tutorials by Brad Woodard

SpaceRanger Brush & Tutorial pack

This was my first collaboration with Brad Woodard of Brave the Woods. In this pack, you'll find brushes and tutorials made to help you recreate childrens books from the 1960s and 1970s.

The pack includes pencils, filler brushes, textures, and detail packed tutorials from Brad Woodard. 

Alex Dukal Photoshop stippling brushes

AD Stippling Brushes

If you've ever wanted to recreate the look of old technical illustrations (i.e. botanical, biologial, archaeological) these brushes will help you absolutely nail it. 

These brushes were created by the king of unique (but highly useful brushes), Alex Dukal

Additional Resources

Engraving brushes for Photoshop

IndustryPress Lines & Textures

I made this brush pack after trying to create an engraving illustration. I realized it was a maddening experience to try to add the lines and hatching behind the illustrations. 

IndustryPress makes it as easy as painting on your crosshatching. This pack is fast, easy-to-use, and looks great.

Retro texture brushes for Photoshop

Turbo Textures

I'm a fanatic for subtle textures. But before this pack I'd always made them as standard Photoshop brushes. Then I discovered the flexibility of Photoshop Brush Tool Presets and made a pack of texture brushes in the Tool Preset format.

The result is a pack of texture brushes that are presure sensitive and are work extremely well for illustrators using a Wacom or iPad Pro with Astropad.

Subtle texture brushes for Photoshop

Standard Issue Sublte Brushes

Getting quality subtle textures in Photoshop brushes is hard. If you don't know what you're doing they can end up having noticable edges and be totally overwhelming to your work. 

These subtle brushes are like a soft breeze of distress and ink textures to finish of your work. Highly recommended. 

A Few Illustrators who Use RetroSupply Brushes