When drawing vector art in Illustrator, it is often the case that I wish to add highlights to a filled and stroked shape via a path with opacity. However, when I try to do this, the highlight bleeds into the outline of the shape, like this:

enter image description here

Notice how the white stroke is on top of the outline of the circle. I want it to be below.

One solution that I mostly use is to use the Live Paint Fill Bucket tool to create a shape of yellow, and then place that on a colors layer below, but my issue with that is that it essentially doubles the size of the svg.

That is, instead of being able to use the fill property on custom shapes in my SVG, I need to essentially duplicate every shape onto its own color layer. This also makes editing the stroke later a pain, because I have to adjust both the color layer and the outline layer.

Is there a better way? Ideally I would just be able to specify that I want this stroke drawn beneath the outline of the shape, but I'm not sure if that's possible.

2 Answers 2


Illustrator treats a filled and outlined object as a single entity.

So, if your main circle object with yellow fill and black outline is a single object, then there is absolutely no way to insert artwork in between these.

You would have to use 2 objects, to be able to insert anything between them: one yellow filled circle with no outline, and one black outlined circle with no fill.

  • I see. Is there at least a way to make it such that I can do a perfect cut of the overlapping parts then? Such that the the white stroke is cut and positioned perfectly so that it doesn't intersect with the black outline at all? Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 17:47
  • Well, not really clear what you wish to achieve. But be aware you have different options here. You can expand the strokes, you can use math dimensioning to position them more accurately, you can use the inside/outside stroke feature, etc.
    – Lucian
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 19:09

A partial workaround: Use art brush which contains the outline and the glow: enter image description here

The black and yellow shapes in the middle are dragged together to the brushes panel and defined to be an art brush. That brush is applied to an ellipse in the left. The yellow glow starts from the default start anchor at 3 o'clock.

In the right the same ellipse has been edited. It was cut (scissors) temporarily at 11 o'clock and rejoined (Ctrl+J) to move the starting point. The anchors and their handles are moved randomly with the white arrow.

Scaling affects also to the stroke if it's allowed in the preferences.

This workaround is only partial because saving this as SVG from Illustrator expands the parts to separate filled objects. But it can still be useful when editing the paths in Illustrator. There you can easily remove the brush stroke and give another.

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