I've drawn a geometric lion that I would like to apply a gold gradient to so that it fades from front to back, like the gazelle below.

However, whenever I use the gradient color on the lion, drawn using the pen tool, the below gradient happens.

I would assume it's because of how I drew the lion with the pen, but I have no idea how to fix it.

gazelle - gradient

lion - sad gradient

  • This answer will help you graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/107226/63979
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 18:24
  • Is your lion stroked paths, or filled shapes?
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 18:27
  • @Scott stroked paths!
    – Chloe
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 18:28
  • 1
    @WELZ this worked perfectly, thank you so much!
    – Chloe
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


In order to get a gradient to span across a collection of objects, the object must be filled paths. Gradients on strokes only have 3 options and they won't ever "span" strokes.


Do this on a copy of the artwork if you wish to retain teh strokes for easier editing later.

  • Set the stroke to a flat color (Black)
  • Select all
  • choose Object > Expand
  • Then apply a gradient fill
  • Then use the Gradient Tool to click-drag across the shapes in order to make the gradient fill span the objects.

You can also group the strokes and then use the Appearance Panel to add a new fill to the group of strokes, set that fill as a gradient, and then use teh Gradient tool to span the fill across teh group.


Since Illustrator CC it's not necessary to expand, with this you keep the original paths.

Just apply the gradient to the strokes:


To apply the gradient to all the strokes as a unity, press Cmd + 8 Mac or Ctrl + 8 Win to create a Compound Shape

Compound Shape

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.