I'm relatively new to Illustrator so I hope this isn't a stupid question.

I'm trying to apply a clipping mask to a line drawing i've made to make it appear as gold foil. The problem is that when I'm applying the clipping mask, it is filling in everything inside the outermost lines with the picture in certain parts, when I want it only to apply to the lines themselves.

Below are images of both the line drawing and what is happening after applying the mask. I'm also unsure why some of the lines are being masked very very thinly?

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  • Clipping masks fill in the fills in a shape – not the lines. If you want it to fill only the lines, I think you’ll have to outline the strokes. Jul 22, 2020 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


If you want the foil to appear on the lines, then I believe you do not want a clipping mask. You want an...

Opacity Mask.

  • Place your foil image into Illustrator.
  • Copy your line artwork
  • Select the Foil and click the Make Mask button on the Transparency Panel (Window > Transparency)
  • Click the mask thumbnail on the Transparency panel
  • Paste -- You should see your line work paste. You may need to change the color of the strokes to white.

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You can then move the line work around to position it within the foil image.

To move the entire thing around, you need to click the artwork thumbnail on the Transparency panel.

You can read more regarding Opacity Masks by reviewing the Illustrator Help Files (scroll down).

Animation reflects Illustrator CS6, but the procedure is the same in newer application versions.

You can accomplish "foil lines" with a clipping mask. However in order to do so you must expand all strokes and create one, compound shape of your line art. Clipping masks do not work with strokes or multiple shapes.

I outlined an Opacity Mask because it is non-destructive. You don't need to alter any artwork and you can easily edit the line art later if necessary.

  • This worked! Thank you so much for your help :)
    – jaq
    Jul 23, 2020 at 18:13

Everything is good; after extending lines that are sketches, you just need to add a clipping mask.

  1. Expand Lines

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  1. Select both and Clipping Mask

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  1. Result

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