Adobe Illustrator Brushes for a Hand-Embroidered Illustration Effect & Free Embroidery Brush Sampler

happy stitches embroidery thread brushes for adobe illustrator

Update Monday, March 30, 2020: I've just spent ALL weekend updating the main 4 brushes! After my original launch last Thursday and after a bit of experimenting, I've discovered a way to make the brushes MORE dimensional right within Illustrator, expanded the color range, and tapered the ends of brushes 1 and 3 for a more realistic stitching effect! I'm BEYOND excited to share this even more fabulous set with you all, and stay tuned this week, because I am going to be making demos and tutorials featuring the NEW, even more REALISTIC brushes! I've not updated the displays below yet, but be sure to check out my update video below!

Hi friends! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally bring this project to fruition, and I think now, more than ever, is a great time to release this collection, which I hope will bring you hours and hours of creativity, fun, and even a little relaxation! Funny story is I actually created this entire set of brushes in the beginning of 2016, basically FINISHED it, and set it aside until now! I spent MONTHS figuring out the perfect methods to sample images and create these realistic thread brushes, and painstakingly created this clever system of using a solid colored brush overlay system for re-coloring the brushes. It was... almost perfect! Re-coloring the brushes as you worked was effective, got the job done, and was quite a clever solution instead of creating a bunch of colors for each thread type! However, the actual 'process' of creation felt a bit too much like work, when the whole goal of this brush collection was to make it feel like PLAY... like 'real' hand-embroidery, but even MORE effortless and fantastic!

embroidery thread brushes in every color

Cut to a couple of weeks ago when everyone's world was getting turned upside down. It occurred to me that it's time I should dig out this project and share it with the world! When things are stressful and full of anxiety, a lot of people turn to activities such as knitting and embroidery. It can tend to be a bit cathartic and anxiety reducing to create something with your hands. So I thought I should put my anxiety into action and finish this collection that had been gathering dust, and share a little joy with the world! However, I realized I wanted it to be 'more fun' and to bring an 'instant gratification' into the creative process for everyone as they digitally 'stitched' or embroidered! So again, I had to put my thinking cap on and think of a way to re-work the system so that almost anyone can pick up a brush (designer or not) and start CREATING some digital embroidery! So what this meant is LOTS of extra work for me, hours and hours in fact for each thread! I took the time to re-sample the brushes, carefully colorize them into the broadest spectrum of colors and hues, and make sure they wouldn't make the file size too large. So, I've been hard at work for the last couple of weeks to get this LAUNCHED and I'm so joyful to share this with the world! The end result is really delightful to play with!

metallic embroidery stitches adobe illustrator brushes

In a time when everything seems so stressful and anxious, I hope this kit brings some joy and creativity to your day! It can be fun to work in a new medium and see what happens naturally, without a goal or objective! I encourage you to play and experiment and know that there are no 'right' answers on how to create with these brushes. I am SO looking forward to seeing what you all are creating! Please feel free to tag me on your favorite social media. You can find me here on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube! Don't forget, I will be adding lots of demos and more tutorials on my social media channels, so please follow along and help me spread the movement by sharing something! I want as many people as possible to enjoy these brushes, and the FREE brush sampler is linked at the bottom of the page!


editable digital hoops for embroidery effect

These brushes work with the latest copy of Adobe Illustrator CC. What's great is that if you don't have this program, you can download a FREE TRIAL HERE! What's even cooler, is that if you have an iPad, you can stream/connect your iPad screen to your computer via Astropad app (universal) and Sidecar (mac). Stay tuned, I plan on doing some demos on my ipad! How cozy it will be to sit on the sofa and relax with some hand-embroidery using Illustrator!

hand embroidered illustration effect

While it's always nice to be able to create art physically, it's during these kinds of times when you can't run out and buy a bunch of supplies that we can really appreciate the beauty of digital creation! Being able to create beautiful designs and edit them without all the physical work -- it's really embroidery brush magic, and so much fun!

digital embroidery over photography

I've CAREFULLY created this collection so that even if you are not used to working in illustrator, you can really start creating right away! I put in all the extra work to create pre-colored brushes to bring delight and FUN to your creation process. Not only that, I've created a special YOUTUBE tutorial playlist, with easy to follow instructions for every topic on working with these brushes! Follow along and you will be surprised at what you can create! I will also post the tutorial videos at the bottom of this post below!

editable fabric backgrounds for embroidery effect

mixed media embroidery designs

In need of some creative inspiration? Check out this Embroidery Inspiration board I've been putting together on Pinterest!


free digital hand embroidery brushes for illustrator

Whether you are a designer, illustrator, hobbyist or even someone who has never used Adobe Illustrator before, I hope you enjoy this brush sampler from my collection and have a little fun while you might be stuck at home! Perhaps a forced break can be an opportunity create something new and different, without the normal pressure. With all the anxiety and uncertainty out there, I hope everyone takes good care of themselves and others first and foremost, trying to be positive and in good mental health! And I hope if you have a little time, try some relaxing digital 'hand-embroidery' and maybe it will just bring you a bit of joy and calm! It's just a small thing to share, but I want to do my small part to share a little joy, love, and creativity! Happy Creating! xx Jess

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Sorry I just found them… and they are amazing


These are really charming and neat… but even though they are Illustrator brushes, they don’t seem to be vector. Is each stitch actually a raster image? I’m just concerned about scalability and image quality.


Espectacular todos tus pinceles exitos


Hi Jessica,

This collection is wonderful! So much fun!
Thank you for making such creative brushes for Illustrator.


I haven’t used Illustrator before, only LR and PS – but these are very cool. Would love to have them in PS!

Karen Keegan

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