I need this to be white for a water bottle but I can't figure out how to make it work.

enter image description here

this is what happens when I reverse it. enter image description here

And this is what happens when I stroke. I am fairly new to Illustrator and this is really throwing me off

enter image description here

  • Can you please elaborate? Provide some more info. What do you mean by change to white and not look like a blob?
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 22:27
  • Something like a thick transparent outline around each of the figures?
    – Jongware
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 22:30
  • Is this sorta what you're trying to do - just with color on the stroke instead of just black?
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 22:36
  • The person I am working on this for wants it to be put on a water bottle and they can only use white. I am guessing this is just not a feasible thing with this image.
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 22:43
  • I am looking for insight on if it's possible to have it be one color and not losing the integrity of the image.
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


Here's what I would do.

Select all. Change everything to have a white fill and a black stroke. A thick black stroke:

enter image description here

Choose Object > Expand and then click the OKAY button.

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Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder not Effect > Pathfinder)

Select a black area and hit the Delete key.

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General cleanup: Draw a rectangle with no fill and no stroke and then choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke. Then hit the Delete key again to remove these "hollow" shapes.

You then have white art with a gap between shapes to retain the overall visual in one color:

enter image description here

This is merely an auto traced representation of the artwork. Actual native paths may be cleaner overall, resulting in better final artwork.

  • This is really good! Quick question...after I merge on Pathfinder, how I am selecting a black area? When I do this it deletes the whole image.
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:16
  • Duh. magic wand tool. :)
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:18
  • Scott, THANK YOU!! Now is there anyway to preserve the whole circle around the people?
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:21
  • @CaseyRath Yes. Merely don't add the black stroke to the circle parts.. add the black stroke to the other parts though.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:54

I hope I understand what you want to achieve....

Select it and apply a White stroke (I did 5pt thick) and set fill to none (/) for all the shapes.

Then use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M) - Click+Drag to merge the shapes accordingly (see gif)

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enter image description here

It can seem a little more complicated if they overlap more - it is still the same process, you just have to think more and take your time.

enter image description here

You can also do the opposite to have the shapes filled and the strokes clear - see @Scott's answer

Just don't apply the stroke to the circle part itself:

enter image description here

  • Do I need to have the image grouped for the shape builder to work?
    – Casey Rath
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:09
  • No, but you do need to select everything before using it.
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 23:10

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