I'm new to Illustrator and I'm clearly doing something not quite right.

In Microsoft Paint I'm used to using my prodigious skill to produce color swirls like this:

swirly image

Which are made by scrawling around with a brush or pencil and then just using the bucket to fill in the sections.

So I'm trying to carry that over to Illustrator by swirling around with the Paintbrush tool B and then trying to fill it with the Live Paint Bucket K. And it doesn't work very well at all. I'm clearly not understanding how to use these tools.

What am I doing wrong?

I know it will work if I use the pen, kind of, but why doesn't it work with the brush? Why isn't there a simple bucket fill tool?

  • 1
    Use the Help menu in Illustrator, and not only will you get the online manual, it will also get you to Adobe's rich Illustrator support site with many video tutorials and a user forum. Another place for video tutorials is Youtube… — This place here isn't really meant for the kind of questions you posted, see graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – TehMacDawg
    Nov 18, 2013 at 10:18
  • The paint brush strokes need to be converted into vector shapes before you can convert it into a Live Paint group and apply the tools on them: Select them all and choose Object > Expand Appearance.
    – TehMacDawg
    Nov 18, 2013 at 10:57
  • I understand about the first comment and all. But-- while I'm here, could you tell me the difference between a brush stroke and a vector shape? I thought everything in Illustrator was a vector. Nov 18, 2013 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Use the Pencil tool in Illustrator, not the Brush tool.


try flattening the transparency of your whole image first

Scroll over image> Object > Flatten transparency

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