3 Easy Steps To Save Brushes In Illustrator

Have you encountered disappearing brushes in your Illustrator documents that you took pains to create — and found yourself wondering why and having to recreate them all over again? Wouldn’t you wish you could save them and reuse them?

But the question remains: How to save brushes in Illustrator, and where to find them on your computer? This article will show you the simplest steps to save and locate your brushes, so let’s dive in.

how to save brushes in illustrator

What Are The Types Of Brushes In Illustrator

You can create and save any of your design elements as a brush, such as vector objects, text, and even embedded images. You can create up to five main types of brushes, each with its own unique properties:

  1. Calligraphic Brush: This brush type emulates the appearance of traditional calligraphy pens or markers, creating strokes with variable widths.
  2. Art Brush: Applies a vector shape along a path, stretching or compressing the shape to fit the length of the path.
  3. Scatter Brush: Distributes multiple instances of an object along a path, with customizable spacing, rotation, and scale.
  4. Pattern Brush: Creates a repeating pattern along a path, with options for corners and ends.
  5. Bristle Brush: Mimics the behavior of real-life paintbrushes, providing a natural and organic look to your strokes.

How to Save Brushes in Illustrator

The first step to saving brushes in Illustrator is to save your document after creating the custom brush.

The second step is to go to the Brushes panel menu, select Save Brush Library, and save the brushes in the folder directory Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator [version number]/[language]/Brushes for Mac OS.

Or C:\\Users\\[username]\\AppData\\Roaming\\Adobe\\Adobe Illustrator [version number]\\[language]\\Brushes for Windows.

Brushes Panel options in Adobe Illustrator – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Now your brushes are saved in the Illustrator Brush Library where you can go to retrieve the same custom-made brushes when you are working on other Illustrator files.

If you are looking at how to add custom brushes or add more brushes in Illustrator, here are the detailed steps to do that:

Step 1: Create and Prepare Your Brushes

You can create as many Brushes as you want by using the shapes and drawing tools in Illustrator. Or you can download them from the web if you are licensed to do so.

If you wish to use text as a brush, you can type out your text as usual with the Type tool in Illustrator, then format it with your preferred font and style. There’s no need to Create Outlines for the text.

Related: 5 Easy Ways To Vectorize Text In Illustrator

In this example, I’ve used the Star tool to draw a star and save it as a brush later.

draw a star with star tool in adobe illustrator – how to save brushes in Illustrator

If you are using Brushes from other sources, unzip the file if it’s been compressed and open it in Adobe Illustrator, either in a new file or your existing file.

Step 2: Select Brush Type

Open the Brushes panel by going to the top menu bar and selecting Window > Brushes.

select brushes from window menu on top bar in Illustrator – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Drag your custom brush into the Brushes panel.

drag star to brushes panel in Adobe Illustrator – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Select your preferred brush type from the New Brush dialog box and click the OK button. In this example, I’ve selected Scatter Brush as my new brush type.

select brush type from new brush dialog box – how to add brushes in Illustrator

Adjust the settings of your brush in the Brush Options dialog box.

scatter brush options – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Even though you see your brush graphic in the brushes panel, it will disappear the next time you reopen it if your file wasn’t previously saved.

It’s best to save your document immediately after adding your brushes to the Brushes panel by selecting File > Save.

Or use the keyboard shortcut Command + S for Mac.

keyboard shortcut command + S to save on Mac – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Or Ctrl + S for Windows.

keyboard shortcut ctrl + S to save on Windows – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Once you’ve saved your file or document, you can close your document and reopen the same document to find your new brushes in the Brushes panel.

But if you want to use the same set of brushes in other files, you will have to save them in the Illustrator Brushes Library. They won’t appear in the Brushes panel of other files.

To save your brushes so that you can retrieve them in other Illustrator files, dive right into the next step.

Step 3: Save Brush Preset In Illustrator Brush Library

Select the Brush menu on the top right-hand side of the Brush panel.

Scroll to the bottom of the drop-down menu and select Save Brush Library.

save brush library – how to save brushes in Illustrator

The Save Brushes as Library dialog box opens up for you to name your brush file and save it to the Illustrator Brush Library folder within the Adobe Illustrator folder.

Click on the Save button and now your Brushes are saved on your computer.

save brushes dialog box – how to save brushes in Illustrator

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to save brushes in Illustrator is crucial if you want to streamline your workflow and maintain a consistent visual style across your projects.

By creating and saving custom brushes, you can quickly access your favorite tools without having to recreate them every time you start a new design.

Follow the simple steps provided in this guide to create, save, and load brushes with ease.

Additionally, keep your brushes organized and backed up to ensure that you can focus on what really matters – unleashing your creativity and crafting stunning designs with Adobe Illustrator.

FAQ on Saving Brushes in Illustrator

Where Are My Saved Brushes In Illustrator?

In Adobe Illustrator, your saved brushes are stored in brush libraries or folders on your computer. To locate your saved brushes, follow these steps:

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document or open an existing one.
  2. Open the Brushes panel by navigating to Window in the top menu and selecting Brushes or by pressing the F5 key.
  3. Click on the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Brushes panel.
  4. Select Open Brush Library and then Other Library… from the dropdown menu.
  5. A file explorer window will appear. Navigate to the location where you saved your Illustrator Brush Library file (the folder you chose when saving your brushes). If you haven’t changed the default save location, your brush libraries should be in the following folder:
    • Windows: C:\\Users\\[username]\\AppData\\Roaming\\Adobe\\Adobe Illustrator [version number]\\[language]\\Brushes
    • macOS: Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator [version number]/[language]/Brushes
  6. Select the Brush Library file (with a ‘.ai’ extension) and click Open.

After completing these steps, your Adobe Illustrator brushes will appear in a new panel, and you can use them in your current document.

Remember that saved brushes are not automatically loaded in every new Illustrator document; you’ll need to load them using the steps above whenever you want to access your saved brushes.

Can You Add More Brushes In Illustrator?

Yes, you can add more Brushes in Illustrator by either creating your own custom brushes or adding them to your Brushes panel in your Illustrator file. Or you can download Brushes that you have a license to use and add them to your Brushes Library.

What Is The File Type For Brushes In Illustrator?

In Adobe Illustrator, brushes are saved as part of the Brush Library, and they are in a separate file with a ‘.ai’ extension. The ‘.ai’ extension stands for Adobe Illustrator and is the native file format for the software. When you save your custom brushes, they are stored in an Adobe Illustrator Brush Library folder, which can be easily opened, imported, and shared within the Illustrator application.

Can I Import Brushes From Other Sources Into Illustrator?

Yes, you can import brushes from other sources, such as downloaded brush packs or brushes created in other Adobe applications like Photoshop. To do this, open the Brushes panel, click on the menu icon, select Open Brush Library, and navigate to the file containing the brushes you want to import.

How Can I Edit An Existing Brush In Illustrator?

To edit an existing brush, double-click on it in the Brushes panel. This will open the brush options dialog, where you can modify its settings. After making your changes, click OK to save the updated brush.

Can I Convert A Photoshop Brush Into An Illustrator Brush?

While you cannot directly convert a Photoshop brush into an Illustrator brush, you can use the vector shapes created with a Photoshop brush as a base for creating a new brush in Illustrator.

What Is The Difference Between A Brush Library And The Brushes Panel?

The Brushes panel displays all the brushes available in your current Illustrator document, while a brush library is a separate file that contains a collection of brushes. You can create, save, and load brush libraries to organize and share your brushes.

Can I Create My Own Brush Shapes In Illustrator?

Absolutely! You can create your own custom brush shapes using any vector object or path in Illustrator. To turn a vector object into a brush, simply select the object, open the Brushes panel, and click the New Brush icon at the bottom of the panel. Choose the type of brush you want to create and customize its settings.

Before You Go…

Adding brushes in Illustrator is important yet it’s just one of the basic steps. You can have the best graphics, but creating them with text can be a whole new level. Read my next article to ensure that you always power up your workflow when adding text…

How to Add Text in Illustrator [7 Easy Ways]

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