I have in illustrator multiple shape that overlap and I would like to make them have a freeform gradient. I have learn that you can't do that and you need to make them compound path but because they are overlapping with each other it mess everything. They look like that : shape that i want gradient in

I want to keep them overlapping like they do now, for example, I still want to F to be above A and to hide some the A part. I also still want to be able to move each object if I want to so I can't just redraw the shape. One of the other solution I think of was to make my gradient on a rectangle below the letter and then make a clipping mask but once again, I need the shape to be compound path or group to be able to make a clipping mask. It's like I still want hierarchy between my objects so some of them can overlap the other but I want the filling to be consider as one big object. I think the solution is to make some sort of clipping mask but I can't quit get it.

Sorry for my not perfect at all English and thanks for your help !

1 Answer 1


enter image description here

Above there's my three separate one letter text objects and a rectangle with gradient fill layered in the back. The top left corner of the gradient rectangle must be placed to the top left corner of the artboard and the letters must be placed on it. This is because the gradient rectangle is used as a fill pattern.

After dragging the rectangle to the swatches panel (it returns automatically from the swatches panel) and applying the new pattern to each text object I got this:

enter image description here

In the next image the background rectangle is moved aside. The letters have still the gradient:

enter image description here

The letters can be moved without breaking the continuity of the gradient if you select and move all letters at the same time. If you move only some letters you probably must recolor the whole composition from the start.

Note: The gradient rectangle is a fill pattern after it's dragged to Swatches. It doesn't work as wanted if the items are placed elsewhere than to the top left corner of the artboard when the swatch definition and the coloring are done.

  • I had some troubles because I had made earlier the size of my workspace bigger so my 0, 0 wasn't in the top left corner but after a few adjustments it work !
    – Manu Kpf
    Commented Jan 29 at 21:57

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