I am trying to color this dog that I drew on illustrator, but when I try to use live paint bucket, it colors the whole dog one color when I am trying to color each element separately. I tried to ungroup the image, but I am facing the same problem. Maybe it wasn't vectorized properly? I used an app on the ipad (Skribl) to create this drawing. I notice that for some reason I cannot use live trace on this image.

Also, I can only color when I have selected: "Edit contents" selected on the tool bar (see attached image).

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3 Answers 3


Things to check for other than groups are clipping paths, compound paths and using the pathfinder palette and playing around to see what happens. Generally clipping paths have to be removed and compound paths have to be released to edit individual shapes. Even then, if the shapes were created using larger shapes (for example like the rabbit head and ears being one shape, and the body, and the arm being all separate shapes.. plus the mouth is a line with a fill, and I can't tell about the eyes and nose here) when released, the clipping paths and compound paths will change colors of the overall page/screen objects (which might freak you out, but you must dissect the collective.

Prior to doing this, it would be better for you to play around with these features (grouping, compound paths, clipping paths and all features on the pathfinder palette) with a few shapes that overlap and are filled with clear, easy to see color fills and line strokes. Apply something, and undo it. Repeat until you understand until you can pull apart your shape. It appears your object is vector, or it would not have the handles or blue lines.

OR - you could use the paint bucket and be sure to hover over one particular area, I'm not sure if you're doing that based on the post.

I don't think you can vectorize properly, its just either automatic or done manually. Of course, a manual product can anticipate needs better, thank god.

  • Hey muwbl, thanks for your detailed message. I think I figured out how to paint, but something is wrong with the paths. If you look closely at the picture, there is supposed to be a scarf around the dog, but the dots that make up the scarf are all tangled. Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 6:00
  • Mostly you need to separate how the lines/objects are on the file. You still have to ungroup, unclip and uncompound, and do it until there are no more options for that. You can't do it with just one selection. click once, on the whole group and do it until you can't do it anymore, and then click individually until you can't do it anymore on any of the separated groups, until each item is completely individual. You can't have one point, that's just a point, not a line. A shape is a closed line. Ultimately you're looking to boil things down to individual shapes and lines.
    – muwbl
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 22:39

I think your problem might be gaps- that is, that your lines don't meet properly, and then Illustrator doesn't understand that the scarf is a different area than the body. You can correct this manually, or there are options within the Live Paint function to change how big spaces are considered gaps or to close them automatically. Here's Adobe's documentation on live paint gaps.


I think @mubwl explained it pretty thoroughly, but compound paths, clipping paths, and groups all work together to make what seems like a simple task a lot tougher (but other tasks a lot easier).

For the scarf, I think you're better off redrawing it with the pen tool, making sure that the paths don't cross over each other.

Then you can just use illustrator's main fill/stroke features to get the colors and strokes you'r looking for.

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