I have two layers - one layer that is a map of rivers (the lines), and a second layer that is a map of the catchment basins (the polygons in yellow). I intend to make a colourful map where the rivers have different colors based on which catchment they are in.

The vector with two layers

I would like to convert all the river paths into groups of paths that are split by the shape of the catchment polygons. And then stylize the group paths accordingly.

I converted the polygons into a complex path, the rivers into a complex path and then tried clipping it, that didn't work. How else can I do this in Illustrator?

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    You can clip with multiple paths just as long as the nultiple paths are first made into a compound object – joojaa Jun 30 '20 at 20:43

If you are okay with the rivers being shapes and not merely stroked paths....

  • Select all
  • Object > Expand Appearance (if available)
  • Object > Expand and merely click OK
  • Pathfinder Panel: Click the Merge button.

You will then have individual sections based upon areas of adjacent color.

Note that this will split the "ochre" colored masses by the river paths as well. If you want those encompassing shapes to remain whole shapes, then duplicate those first and do not include the duplicates when using Pathfinder. Then you'll have to delete the divisions created after running the Pathfinder command.

For more on how the Pathfinder operations work, see here.

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