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

The ultimate brush kit for illustrators. This bundle includes every brush you’ll ever need for vector-based drawing: pencils, pens, chalk, ink and water, halftones, crosshatching and more. Easily our most-popular vector pack.

Here's a tutorial we made showing how you can speed up your retro character design workflow with the brushes in this pack.

Shading brushes for Illustrator

Irvington High

Best suited for shading work, texturing, and filling areas with color, this useful assortment of vector brushes 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. It's probably the weirdest pack we carry.

Paint brushes for Illustrator by Von Glitschka

DragStrip 2

This collection of 42 painterly vector brushes works particularly well for children's book illustrations and any design that needs a painterly look.

The brushes are Grade A awesome. But what really sets this pack apart is the tutorials from Von Glitschka. He's a vector ninja and the knowledge here is worth every penny.

Retro pencil brushes for Illustrator

VectorSketch

A collection of 40 pencils made from authentic old 2Bs, 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 of graphic styles, swatches, actions from an Army Surplus catalog that I got into a bidding war for on eBay.

Illustrators love VectorTone because it's so hard to find brushes with proper proportions and imperfections. This makes it crazy easy to add halftones and crosshatching to your work.

Von Glitschka Illustrator Brushes

Organic Vector Brush Essentials

One of the most comprehensive bundles of brushes Von Glitschka has made for us, this includes three packs: shader brushes, texture brushes, and organic line brushes.

Plus, Von added some extra goodies, including three tutorials and his original Ai artwork for you to 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 RetroSupply. 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 a load of in-depth tutorials from Brad Woodard.

Illustrator brushes and tutorials by Brad Woodard

SpaceRanger Brushes & Tutorials

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