I’ve had experience with drawing in Photoshop, but never tried vector artwork in Illustrator before.

I drew this illustration using separate pen tool lines for the majority of the outlines (her clothes, body).

This was a problem when i tried to colour it - the lines weren’t closed, since that would mean having to double over some of my lines? For example, if I wanted to close the knee on our left, would it mean I have to somehow double over the left line of the arm that’s touching it?

I ended up somehow using Live Paint to fill in the spaces, but it was really difficult and unintuitive. I can't even remember how it worked out, but it took hours.

I’ve had suggestions to switch to Photoshop for this kind of drawing, but I enjoy the sharp lines and flexibility of working with vectors.

What’s a good way to work around the issue of ‘closing’ the lines without doubling over lines that are already drawn?

Thanks in advance.

enter image description here

EDIT: If anyone else stumbles on this (beginner's) issue, I was shown another way to draw vector images on Illustrator without using Live Paint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvOX9nQgXus Watch from 12:34.

They also expand the strokes and merge them together, but manage to colour it without Live Paint.

  • 1
    Shape builder, pathfinder live paintbucket. Natural ordering of things.
    – joojaa
    Mar 13, 2016 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


I would probably not even bother closing the lines, just make a layer behind the lines then use the brush or blob brush to block in areas of solid colour. You can then use Warp / Smooth to get them under control rather than messing with individual points. Closing paths is a pain, so avoid it if you can.


I assume you create vector lines and then apply a stroke to it.

The easiest thing I can think of is to expand the strokes. That way each stroke gets changed to a vector data with fill instead of a stroke.

you can also use a pathfinder to connect shapes if necessary

  • Thank you, it's good to be able to connect the lines after I expand the stroke. I read up more on the Live Paint tool and I think I have a better grasp of things now.
    – Cinney
    Mar 14, 2016 at 9:40

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