enter image description here

What I'm trying to do is find a way to cut out the snake in some places so that the sword can show up and it can appear as if the snake is coiling around the sword. I've tried numerous techniques but nothing seems to be working..

Any ideas?

  • Use the pathfinder tools to split the object apart and delete the shapes the should be covered. Jan 28 '20 at 14:00
  • I'm not sure how to do that.. I tried every option on the pathfinder.
    – Monika G.
    Jan 28 '20 at 16:22

Whenever possible I prefer to work in a non-destructive manner to make future editing much easier. To this end I, personally, would not use Pathfinder here. I'd use a Clipping Mask on the blade.

  • Copy the blade shapes
  • paste the copy on top of everything
  • Draw a new shape which covers the areas of the blade you want to show on top of the snake. Make certain it's one shape. Note the "connecting" portion below which is nowhere near the actual blade artwork. You could use a compound shape for this new shape as well. It's simply quicker to explain the methodology if only one shape is used (and it doesn't really matter).
  • Select the blade copy and new shape and choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make from the menu

enter image description here

You could alternatively mask the snake, but the blade is a simpler shape. So, if edits to the blade are made later, repeating this process is easy. If edits or more detail is added to the snake, and it's masked, repeating these steps - while still relatively straight-forward - could be a bit more cumbersome.

This is a non-destructive set up, allowing you to retain the shapes in tact and merely change what is seen. Pathfinder would be destructive, making future edits much more difficult. You can always "bake in" the clipping mask later if needed by flattening the artwork or expanding and then using pathfinder to merge objects.

If you do not wish to have a clipping mask in the file. I would still set things up this way. Then at the end, one final step -- select all and Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel to flatten the objects.

enter image description here

  • Wow thank you for the detailed tutorial! I never thought of a clipping mask because I'm still not too comfortable in the way they work. But indeed it's a much better way that the pathfinder. Thank you again that was REALLY helpful!
    – Monika G.
    Jan 29 '20 at 8:41
  • 1
    That's the best non-destructive way to do it. I'd even make the sword a Symbol to make any future edits easier.
    – Luciano
    Jan 30 '20 at 13:02
  • Excellent thought @Luciano I agree! That hadn't occurred to me.
    – Scott
    Jan 30 '20 at 17:19

A very simple method would be to draw some pieces of the sword to cover over part of the snake, and fill them the same colour as the sword.

Here's a very quick example

enter image description here

  • I was thinking of that but didn't want to do it because I used a gradient on the sword and the middle line that separates shadow and light is not that crisp. But I guess it's an easy idea to keep in mind for future projects! Thank you!
    – Monika G.
    Jan 29 '20 at 8:43

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