I'm familiar with making simple 2D graphics in Adobe Flash, where I can draw lines and fill them in:

enter image description here

In Adobe Illustrator, I assumed the way to do this is to make the vectors into Live Paint. But doesn't doing so prevent the strokes from being editable afterwards?

I could also use the pen tool to draw 'closed' shapes, but this precludes the division and combination of shapes that aren't always closed.

Is there a way to draw lines and and fills in tandem in Adobe Illustrator, without converting to Live Paint? Is there any kind of workflow that resembles the Flash drawing mechanisms? I would like to start using Illustrator instead of Flash for graphics like these, but after what I was able to do in Flash, I feel like I'm missing something.

  • 2
    Probably the closest to that is the Shape Builder tool. Then just fill the closed shapes by setting the fill attribute.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 19, 2019 at 7:23
  • 1
    Flash rendering works by space division. Which is why it didnt have conflation artefacts, but it gets this feature by free.
    – joojaa
    Nov 19, 2019 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Flash and Illustrator took very different approaches to the object-building workflow. What you're attempting to do isn't something you can do very easily in Illustrator.

You can still edit the paths with the open arrow tool after enabling live paint, but it's extremely finicky. You can sort-of mitigate some of the issues by screwing around with the live-selection tool and 'deleting' the chunks of area that were automatically defined when applying live paint, which (sometimes) causes adjacent chunks to merge. Other times it breaks things. Though, to be fair, I don't use Live Paint very frequently so my experience is probably much different than the experience of someone who knows how to use it correctly.

As @Billy Kerr mentioned in his comment, you may be able to achieve something similar to what you can do in Flash with the shape builder tool, but that merges the combined objects together into a single shape that can't be broken down into its original pieces. If you still want to be able to manipulate the constituent objects freely after merging them, you might want to look at using the tools available in the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). The Shape Mode operations (first row of icons) are the tools you want to use here. They behave the same as the Shape Builder tool in that the objects will merge or subtract into a single shape. However, if you hold Option (alt on PC) while applying these operations, the shapes will instead merge as a compound object - allowing you to work with the constituent shapes as if they were grouped objects.


MUCH LATER EDIT: So there's this plugin from AstuteGraphics that appears to do what you're looking for. It's called DynamicSketch. https://astutegraphics.com/plugins/dynamicsketch

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