I am painting in illustator, using a basic brush. Every mark that I make is creating a new sublayer grouped under Layer 1. Is there a way to stop this from happening? I don't need hundreds of sublayers. Also, is there a way to merge all of them now? I tried "Merge", "Flatten", Pathfinder "Unite". The Shape Builder tool is working, but for each stroke? Seems crazy. Thank you!

  • 2
    Perhaps by "sublayer" you simply mean "object"? Each new line you make in Illustrator will be a new shape which is an individual object. That's just how it works. It enables you to move the lines individually. If you want to paint more like you would paint on a canvas, perhaps Photoshop would be a better choice? Depends on the artwork of course.
    – Wolff
    Oct 11, 2020 at 16:26
  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Adobe Illustrator is a vector image editor. Every path, stroke, brush, and filled shape in a vector program is a separate object. This goes for every vector image editor, not just Illustrator, I'm not sure what kind of artwork you are doing here, but it sounds to me like Illustrator is not what you really want. Perhaps consider using a raster based painting application.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 11, 2020 at 17:20
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How make a single object without layers?
    – Scott
    Oct 11, 2020 at 18:55
  • These aren't "layers", they are "objects". The link in the comment above may be helpful in explaining.
    – Scott
    Oct 11, 2020 at 18:55
  • To be honest you can stop illustrator from showing objects in the layer panel maybe that makes you happier.
    – joojaa
    Oct 11, 2020 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


This is how Illustrator works. You are creating "Objects" with your brush and they are listed in the Layers Panel separately. That way they can each have different appearance attributes (different fill and/or stroke colors, width profiles, etc.). You can simply twirl the parent layer closed if this is bothering you or create a "Sub Layer" and draw your Brush stokes into that and keep it twirled closed.

The Brush is creating stroked paths. Most of the Pathfinder commands only work on filled shapes so first you need to go to Object> Expand Appearance to create filled shapes rather than stroked paths. Then the Pathfinder Unite or Merge commands will work.

Without seeing your artwork, it seems that the Blob Brush may be a tool you want to look at. It creates filled shapes that will "merge" with previously drawn selected shapes. Choose the Blob Brush tool (usually nested under the Brush tool) and hit enter/return to bring up the Blob Brush tool options.

  • Its not a sub layer its an object
    – joojaa
    Oct 11, 2020 at 19:02
  • thank you and edited
    – Kyle
    Oct 11, 2020 at 21:05

Your Answer

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

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