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I am trying to create this smiley face with sort of brackets at the end of the smile.

That's 3 paths. One for the smile and two for the brackets. All of them only are strokes and don't have fills. (stickman style)

I want to join the end of the smile into the middle of the brackets, on each side, and don't want the smile to become a mouth when I unite them in pathfinder. Is this possible? So far I couldn't find any solutions.enter image description here

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Yes, select all your paths you want to join.

Go to Object → Path → Join or Right Click → Join or Ctrl+J to join the paths.


You have to make sure that the edges are perfectly aligned with the brackets, best is to enter Outline Mode (Ctrl+Y) to perfectly align the anchor points.


You can also just group your paths together (Ctrl+G), unless there is a specific reason you want them joined.

  • Oh man, so close but yet so far. Thx – Dan Mar 15 at 16:05
  • Side note, I would create the smiley out of regular shapes (circles) for better symmetry. Here's a quick smile I threw together. – WELZ Mar 15 at 16:19
  • That IS better. – Dan Mar 15 at 16:48
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A late version: Make a smile brush.

enter image description here

Draw 2 equal vertical lines and one horizontal line, make a neutral smile. Drag it into the brushes panel and define it to be a new artistic brush

Draw different curves and apply the brush to them. The bottom version is edited from the shape above it. If you expand the appearance of a curve which has got the new brush, the result is editable with the direct selection tool. It's still a group of three separate strokes. Ungrouping it makes the parts independent.

I bet having simply a group of three strokes, as already suggested by others, is good enough for most purposes.

  • A virtual thumbs up, actually I was trying to apply a brush from the beginning, but the lines drawn by mouse ended up crooked so I resigned from that. This opens up new horizons, so many more to open... Thx. – Dan Mar 16 at 12:01

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