Illustrator Vector Brushes
Making a Golden Brush in Illustrator is a bit different from making other type of vector art brushes (ink, tempera, etc). The goal of these brushes is to keep the real colors as much as we can with all the shiny details and color variations only a gold ink can give us. So today, I will show you how easily you can make a vector gold brush in Illustrator from any picture you may have preserving most of the colors and details to use on your vector artwork, just like any other vector brush.
Open any gold ink brush stroke picture you like in Illustrator. You can pick one from any stock photo site, a photo you took from your own golden brush stroke, or even a fake one made in Photoshop using a gold texture.
With your image selected go to Window > Image Trace.
In the Image Trace Panel, Set the Mode to "Color" and under Palette select "Full Tone".
Set the Colors between 60 and 80 depending if you want more or less color variations for your brush.
Under Advanced, set the Paths between 40% and 60% for more or less precise path tracing. Usually 50% works very well.
Set the Corners to 10% (to preserve some of the corners the stroke may have) and the Noise to 5px (to keep some fine details while leaving aside those very little ones).
Under Method, be sure to have "Abutting" selected.
Uncheck the "Snap Curves to Lines" option and check the "Ignore White" option (to remove the white background your image may have) and click the Trace button.
With the image already traced, go to Object > Expand. Select both Object and Fill and click OK.
Go to Window > Brushes and click the "New Brush" icon in the bottom right corner of the Brushes window.
Select the "Art Brush" option and click OK.
Give the new brush a name, be sure to have the following settings applied, and click OK in the Art Brush Options window.
To test the new brush, delete all the elements in the artboard. Select the Paintbrush Tool (B) and simply draw any path/shape over the Artboard.
If the recently created brush is not applied by default, be sure to have your path/shape selected and from the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) click on the Golden Art Brush thumbnail.
Now that you know how you can easily make a Golden Art Brush in Illustrator, try a few different variations for the same brush by changing the Color amount, Paths, Corners and Noise values in the Image Trace window. You'll get different versions of the same stroke and be able pick the one that fits best in your design.