I've been battling this question for a while now. It will sound very trivial I'm sure to an experienced Illustrator user but I've found it extremely hard finding any relevant info regarding it. All info I find about how to use the gradient tool is regarding either shapes or text and it can't be applied to my problem.

See in the image below to see the boiled down version of my problem. What I have is an ellipse shape and a path inside that ellipse. The path combined with the shape creates an area. Now, I want to add a gradient to that area, without having to close the endpoints of the path. How would I go about doing this?

enter image description here

  • You could use the Object>Path>Divide Below to make two separate shapes. Feb 13, 2013 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


I would suggest using Live Paint Selection / Live Paint Bucket tools.

Select both shapes and click on them with Live Paint Bucket tool. You will now have the ability to select your areas separately with Live Paint Selection, fill them, or edit separate stroke segments while keeping your initial geometry.

  • Wow, thanks! I can't believe I couldn't find any easy accessible info on this! Hope others with the same problem can find this answer. Thanks again! Feb 13, 2013 at 15:58

I'd do the following:

  1. Select both objects with the Selection Tool (V). Make sure neither object has an active fill, outline only.
  2. Use the Live Paint Tool (K) to fill the area you want with a solid color.
  3. Click the "Expand" button located in the top toolbar.
  4. Now using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the filled in area you just made. It'll be a separate object now, but one that you can change the fill color to anything you wish, including a gradient.

Hope that helps!


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