I'm working on vectorizing (in Illustrator CS6) the atrocity below. I've finished almost everything except for the teeth. What is the best way to vectorize the mouth and teeth? Should each grey tooth be its own shape, or is there a better way to draw all the black outlines?

enter image description here

  • Are you using image trace in Illustrator for the entire image?
    – benteh
    Apr 21, 2014 at 17:54
  • 2
    Personal pet peeve: we use the term 'vectorizing' instead of 'converting to a vector format'. I know all the kids are using it these days, but It just drives me crazy. AND GET OFF MY LAWN!
    – DA01
    Apr 21, 2014 at 23:25
  • To provide some help, though, I'd actually suggest you just manually redraw it as a vector image. Most of it is extremely geometric so you'll end up with a much more accurate rendering by hand tracing rather than relying on an auto-trace tool.
    – DA01
    Apr 21, 2014 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


Depends on the teeth. Are the lines between each tooth going to be a t-junction to the top & bottom edge, or are they going to be more of a y-junction where each tooth has rounded or angled corners?

If a t-junction (like human teeth), it is easy to make one large shape for all the upper (or lower) teeth and just add the vertical lines after to define each tooth.

If you want more detail, rounded corners or sharp pointed teeth, it is easier to create them separately. Trying to add the saw-tooth details for the top/bottom edge in a single vector line will be more difficult to accomplish.

The mouth would be one big circular shape layered underneath the teeth.


The mouth is actually "general" 3 shapes - upper jaw, lower jaw, and mouth opening itself (it should be lower in the layers if you want the teeth to be curved, or on top to "strait" the teeth borders).

I'd create outlines for these 3 shapes by pen tool and after that I'd divide the jaws shapes by lines to teeth - via pathfinder or creating compound path again via pathfinder.

Finally - if you want different hues - live paint filling.

There are a lot of ways to perform the task, however. I described the one, others will give others.

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