What is the most effective method for filling an artwork that has been live traced, expanded and is quite path heavy?

The direct selection tool I am guessing is the default method. However I find it difficult/confusing when working with an artwork that is live traced because there are so many paths and I have to double click into layers in order to get to the section I want to colour.

I found the shape builder tool also offers the option of fill colour. This allows me to colour a section I want without clicking into the groups/layers. It does sometimes take a long time to load the fill colour.

The live paint option is the method I have used the most. It is faster to apply. I understand however it is an effect and if paths get separated from the group the live paint effect is removed and it creates an outline.

I think it would also be helpful to know any tips for preparing my artwork for colour after live tracing it and expanding in illustrator. I know closing paths is important but also looking out for things that may cause problems when beginning to fill with colour.


  • 2
    This is a bit too broad in my opinion. Each piece of artwork is unique and there's no "one method" which always works for everything. It's most often a combination of methods.
    – Scott
    Jul 8 at 0:25
  • To be honest if its traced correctly wou shlouldnt need shapebuilder or fill as the areas to be colored should allready have a fillable ashape in them just change its color.
    – joojaa
    Jul 8 at 7:35
  • You can Expand a Live Paint object if you want to go on and edit it as normal filled objects. This has already been mentioned in some of your other questions about Live Paint.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 8 at 10:13

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