enter image description here

I'm trying to follow this tutorial but they skipped a few steps... The two side dots below are each individual arches made using the pen tool, they are not connected to the mushroom cap.

All I want to do is fill each area(dots, eyes, etc) with color, I've tried dozens of combinations of unite/merge/outline stroke/join and every other tool I thought I understood the functionality of but nothing has worked. I do not want to use live paint(though I tried that and couldn't get it to work either).

Note eventually I will have to remove the stroke, so I don't think offset path will work.


2 Answers 2


Select all.

Grab the Live Paint Bucket Tool

Live Paint Bucket

Click once to create a Live Paint group.... pick a swatch color and then click more to fill specific areas. Change swatch color, and click a new area to fill that with the new color... repeat.

When done coloring, click Expand in the Control Bar across the top of the screen if you wish to remove the Live Paint aspect of the group and individually edit paths.

You can view an animation of this here:
(purposely not posted inline to prevent autoload of the large image)

  • I get this error after selecting all then clicking to create the live paint group. EDIT: Never mind, all I had to do was directly select each path individually and now it's working, might have something to do with two stray anchor points or the ruler line also in the file. Thank you very much, but do you know of a method that would actually merge the paths into a shape?
    – Ronald
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 5:01
  • Where is the clipping mask??? Did you use Draw Inside anywhere?
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 5:05
  • I edited the first post, not sure what it meant by clipping mask as I never made one but there were two anchor points inside that I had forgotten about so that was probably it, thanks again.
    – Ronald
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 5:10
  • I believe using live paint prohibits me from adding a mesh to the individual shapes as individual shapes are not created, so this actually does not solve my problem...
    – Ronald
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 6:08
  • After applying color, click the Expand button on the Control Bar, as I posted. And click the link to view the animation above..... And your question fails to mention meshes anywhere... but that's irrelevant if you simply click Expand.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 6:26

I'm not sure how the tutorial is advising you to do it. I would make the mushroom cap a clipping mask with the side dots clipped in it. After you convert the cap to a mask, you'll have to reselect and style it: converting to a mask strips away all styling.

Here's a quick guide for working with clipping mask elements.

  1. Position your objects so the object to clip to is on the top.

    enter image description here

  2. Select all the objects and chose Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Any styling that was applied to the mask object will be removed.

    enter image description here

  3. A clipping mask is treated as a group so you have several options for selecting the individual components.

    a. Expand the group in the layers panel and use the circles to select within.

    enter image description here

    b. Use the Direct Selection Tool. This is my most frequent choice so I assigned it a shortcut for quick activation.

    enter image description here

    c. Any time a clipping mask is selected, you'll see these little buttons in the control bar representing clipping path (left) vs contents (right).

    By default they are both selected. enter image description here

    Clicking one will deselect the other. Here only the mask is selected.enter image description here

  4. When you style the mask object, it's fill is drawn behind the other items in the group.

    enter image description here

  5. Now you use any of the tools in point 3 to select any other item in the group and style away.

    enter image description here

  • I'm not sure what you are describing, when I select the main cap and two side arches(the dots) and then object>clipping mask>make I get this. The only path that I can click on is the right arch, though the entire outline of the mushroom is still visible in View>outline. I still cannot fill the side dots with color.
    – Ronald
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 4:52
  • Position the cap on top of the stacking order, side dots below (I'd make them closed shapes), select all three, then make the clipping mask. You'll have to go back with the Group Selection tool and style the clipping mask, or select it via the layer panel. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 5:10
  • By close the shape do you mean using the pen tool to add a closing line to the arches? That would work but it doesn't actually solve my problem as I could have done that from the beginning, unless there is a way to get the closing line of the dot arch to line up exactly with the mushroom cap arch. I followed the rest of the post and made the clipping mask without closing the shapes and got this, still I cannot fill the dots with color.
    – Ronald
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 6:13
  • Step by step run down added to my answer. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 17:42
  • Thank you for the step by step, that does create separate editable shapes. However, I need to add a mesh later in the tutorial and that's more difficult when, using your example, the orange dots actually encompass the entire purple ring. Do you know of a way to eliminate the excess and have 3 shapes(large tan shape and 2 orange dots) that take up only the area in step 4 and not the excess in step 5, being that so when I add a stroke to 1 of the orange dots, it goes around the entire orange dot? Apologies for the late reply, school started back up and I hardly have time to learn Illustrator.
    – Ronald
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 3:56

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