I practice drawing and coloring in illustrator. I faced problem on color filling after I have used pen tool to trace image. The color filled on the area that I don't want (as the red circles shown in picture below).How I remove the color on the area that I don't want?

I would be grateful for any help in getting this working. Thanks.enter image description here

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Have you tried removing the fill for these lines?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


The problem above the lips seem to be an open path with fill. Get diciplined. Let only closed paths have a fill. There of course can be special cases where open path with fill is useful, but I avoid them.

It's generally useful to keep visually continuous path as one in illustrator. Splinters make the work more error prone. Learn to join open paths. Select 2 open paths and press Ctrl+J.

enter image description here

In the left there's 2 open paths, upper has green fill. Both are selected, Ctrl+J is applied twice and the result is in the right.

Learn how to use the Shape Builder. With it you can fill colored areas and make them to new shapes which can be colored or deleted independently or united with other shapes.

Let's assume the cyan area on the left side of the red shape should be yellow. You cannot change the fill color because the other half of the cyan shape should stay intact and all cyan is one shape:

enter image description here

In the middle ALL is selected and the shape builder tool is just clicked on the left cyan part. In the right the generated new shape has been recolored.

I must quite often do manual tracings of photos. I use no fills, only strokes. I generate the final filled shapes with Shape Builder. Sometimes also a colored stroke will do.

enter image description here

  1. Some strokes that bound a closed area

  2. all is selected and the wanted new shape area is clicked with Shape Builder

  3. The new shape is colored (you can select the color beforehand)

  4. Shape Builder leaves remnants. They are moved aside to show them.

If you have a complex collection of shapes you do better by closing the innocent bystanders in the layers panel before using shape builder. Otherwise the unwanted remnants are not easy to see and delete.

Other useful possiblities:

  • Object > Path > Divide shapes below
  • Pathfinder panel functions
  • Object > Live Paint
  • editing paths

These all can be complex for starters, but you will some day need them all.


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