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Hey everyone. I am need of some serious help.

I am VERY new to illustrator so I don't know if I am doing this the most effective way. So any guidance would be really appreciated.

I took on a pretty big project with a looming deadline and I am struggling to find the best way to create what I need.

My art board is a 7cm x 7cm size,(the actual size the drawings need to be for print) and I am using a stroke line of 0.25.

Above you can see the drawing I am trying to create....

Fig.1 I am using an isometric grid to create my lines and shapes with the Pen Tool and I am using the 3D effect to get accurate isometric circles.

Fig. 2 Without the Grid

Fig. 3 I have gone:

Object > Expand > Object > Live Paint > Make > Object > Live Paint > Expand

Then I can delete all the unnecessary lines I don't need to create what you see in fig. 3

Then Object > Live Paint > Make again so I can add colour as in Fig. 4

Fig. 4 One problem I am seeing through all the drawings I am doing is this weird issue with the some lines, If you look closely at fig 4 you can see where there is a slight difference in line thickness on some of the lines. When I save it as a PDF this is quite visible.

Other bits,

  1. Once I expand the drawing my line thicknesses seem to be getting slight screwed up. As in Fig. 4

  2. Is there a way to create this without having to expand the stroke, so I can still manipulate the drawing even after adding colour?

  3. I am finding that there is no real consistency in the line thickness across the different drawings, and I can't 'select all' and add a stroke thickness of 0.25 as the stroke has been expanded.

  4. Is there a more efficient way to do this type of thing in Illustrator as I have 60 drawings to do in two weeks.

Any help or advice would be truly fantastic.

Thank you

  • Your expansion problem seems to imply you have pixel snapping enabled. Welcome to GD.SE
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 13:10
  • @joojaa Thank you for the response, I have checked and pixel snapping is not enabled. I opened the transform panel and align to grid was not selected, nor is View > Snap to grid.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 13:41
  • Sorry for not being explicit, you can not reword the same question, you need to rescope the questions. Dont worry we are not busting your balls for fun making the question better makes you more likely to understand the answer. Also try to avoid best xxx if best would be defined you would know it. Anyway for filling try shift dragging with shapebuilder on a copied layer.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 20:13
  • @joojaa I'll try the the shape builder tool. Thank you for the tips and advice on Illustrator and better use of stack exchange.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 22:23
  • Which version of illustrator are you using? You should be able to do this with ease by using the perspective grid tool and symbols. Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Ok, now I'm home again so i can give some meaningful answer. It is usually not really productive to use isometric grids, instead use something like the SSR method*. Once you record the transform into actions its easy to do this again whenever you need it. Personally I set the matrix manually by script as it allows me to be more accurate and have other isometric plane rotations easily.

Second for filling shapes and cutting lines use the shape builder tool. Select everything in the lines layer. Then holding alt lets you trim segments of lines. Holding shift lets you make a full shape fill by marquee selecting the entire area.


Image 1: A quick demo of what you get (see instructions below)

The image1 was done as follows. Once i had the line work:

  1. select everything Ctrl+A.
  2. apply shape builder tool Sift+M and hold Shift down to marque select everything. Apply color.
  3. Paste in front Ctrl+F.
  4. (Optional, move lines to sparate layer).
  5. (Optional, make the filled color have a thicker line, this makes the thing pop out better).

after optional

Image 2: After optional stage (after about 4 minutes of work)

I personally do not expand strokes, except in certain problematic cases, but you can do that if you wish.

*note: There is a small error in the article see the comments for corrections

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