I am creating an illustration in Adobe Illustrator CC 2020. My illustration has got many objects and shapes and now I want to add a stroke only to layer, not for all shapes inside this layer. How can I achieve this? I was trying to group all draw but it's not working properly too.

Here's example link what I want to achieve: https://dribbble.com/shots/4532545-Ninja-Mascot

2 Answers 2


Group all objects and make a copy. Lock the original

Select the new group and merge it into a single object with the Pathfinder Merge tool (either Window > Pathfinder, top left icon OR Effect > Pathfinder > Merge)

Set the fill of the new object to white and place below the original object. Scale the object up with the frame handles while holding Option + Shift (Alt + Shift on Windows)


To recreate this effect, I usually duplicate all of the artwork (or specific layers, that form the outer shape), Insert the Stroke I want and put it behind the original artwork.

That will create the effect you want but you remain a dirty vector, so, as an extra step I use the pathfinder tool to merge shapes together willing to create one single shape.

If you are doing this to Type (texts), remember to convert them to curves by selecting your text and then pressing Control + Shift + O (Mac: Command + Shift + O). This will turn text to outlines.

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