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Hello, I am very new to Illustrator. What I am trying to do is merge all selected paths into one cohesive object. All anchor points are attached to other anchor points or paths; it's all connected. But I cannot select just the edge of another object that was created in front of the object I want to select, before the original object was cut away to make the lineart cleaner (e.g. the side of the bus was created as one object, the bumpers were created after, then the original bus lineart was cut away from the bumpers with scissors.) I am trying to get the outline of the side of the bus, but when I click on the edge of the front or back bumper, it selects the WHOLE bumper - I just want to select the edges that they share with the side of the bus. My eventual goal is to fill each individual shape I have drawn with color, and some with gradients (so Live Paint won't work for what I'm trying to do).

Any tips on a better way to do this are warmly welcomed - even if there's something just fundamentally wrong with my thought process while drawing in Illustrator. I have been running in circles with this and similar problems in multiple projects for days now. Thank you

1 Answer 1


Check again Live Paint and its brother Shape Builder. Finally they make new closed shapes which have curves from your drawing as their boundaries. You can well change the fill color to a gradient and remove the stroke when needed (with shape builder as soon as the shape is built, with live paint after expanding).

I have drawn hundreds of shapes with cris-crossing curves and made the final shapes with live paint or shape builder. Live paint can be taken back as long as it's not expanded, but shape builder can be undone only with Ctrl+Z.

An example:

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In the left there's my line drawing. In the middle all is selected and the shape builder drags over 2 areas which should be one closed shape.

In the right all formed shapes are colored. Selecting colors is possible afterwards and also during the work after taking the shape builder tool into use.

BW gradient which is offered by default can be changed by "setting stops" ie. changing and adding or removing colors in the gradient panel:

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After clicking the gradient tool in the toolbox you can drag over a selected shape to fill it with the current gradient and at the same time you can define the length and the direction:

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You must learn the details and gradient types from the Illustrator user guide, web tutorials and by trying yourself. Good Luck.

  • Hi thanks for your answer, could you please tell me how you do this, step by step? I tried using Object>Path>Outline Stroke, then the Shape Builder seemed to be able to distinguish between each individual shape, but I could not seem to 'escape' either shape or color. If I chose one color, any shape I selected becomes that color. I cannot figure out how to add different colors to different shapes. And when the gradient option shows up, it only shows black & white: I cannot change the colors
    – user131454
    Jan 5, 2019 at 5:06
  • 1
    @user131454 I added a little. You must get the user guide and search for already existing tutorials (you can find ten or more of them for all tools). This site cannot stay interesting if it's filled with tutorials on demand altough writing them can be a fun.
    – user82991
    Jan 5, 2019 at 9:48
  • Thank you, what you added helped a lot. I got as far as filling in gradients, but it won't seem to let me change the direction of the gradients...
    – user131454
    Jan 6, 2019 at 9:54
  • Sorry, my internet went out for a couple days and I couldn't edit this: I closed and re-opened Illustrator and the problem was solved... oops! Thanks a bunch.
    – user131454
    Jan 9, 2019 at 2:52

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