I'm new to Adobe Illustrator. However, I've been using CorelDraw since the early 90's. So I'm pretty familiar with most of the concepts involved with vector design.

One thing that has confounded me is that I have several objects at the top of their respective layers with a solid, opaque fill that allow the path lines for objects below them to show through. I say "path" lines as opposed to "strokes" because I've set the stroke width to zero and get the same result. This doesn't happen all of the time. I have other groups of objects where paths from objects lower in a layer do not show through an opaque object above it.

I have attached a screen shot of the project I'm working on. The layer in question is the "left arm" of a cartoon character which consists of a blue "arm", flesh-colored "hand", and four gray stripes that go on the character's arm. The flesh-colored blob to the left is the hand of the cartoon character's left arm. It is the highest object in it's layer. The blue "arm" that you see is the lowest object. The gray stripes are all between the "hand" and the "arm" on the layer. All of the other objects you see in the screen shot reside on different layers.

As you can see the path line for the blue arm is visible through the hand and all of the gray stripes. I want to create it so that the fill from the hand and from the stripes covers and makes invisible the path line from the blue arm where those objects overlap.

How do I do that? I need to figure this out or the project I'm working on right now won't work.

It seems like it's got to be an obvious setting or workaround that I'm missing due to my inexperience with Illustrator. This would be no problem at all in CorelDraw. However, I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure it out to no avail.

Thanks in advance!

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


From the image you posted I see that you have a style style applied to the layer. This is an advanced Illustrator feature that quite many Illustrator users are not aware how to handle, due to a somewhat cryptic user interface logic. The thing is, items in the layers panel do not get selected when you click on the name despite the highlight, they get selected when you click the circle next to it.

A filled circle means that you have an extended appearance associated with the object. Now if you assign a stroke on a layer, that gets applied on top of your objects, because the layer is higher up. That would shine trough like you describe, more importantly it does not clear when you change object attributes.

enter image description here

Image 1: Appearance applied to layer. Click the dot to select it.

To observe how it works yourself and gain more thorough understanding: Try making your lines say red and thick, you should now see a black line on top of your red one. This is a powerful tool in the right hand but totally worthless, if not counterproductive, for a person who does not know how to use Illustrator well.

To change the appearance click on the filled circle. Then locate you appearance panel and change your appearances settings. In this case you could just choose to clear the appearance by choosing the hamburger menu of the appearance panel and choosing clear appearance.

While this is by far the most likely culprit its not entirely certain that this is the case. Though I am pretty confident this is your problem.

  • YES!! This worked perfectly. Thank you SO much! That would've taken me a very long time to figure out on my own. I appreciate it very much!!
    – Poe
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 20:07
  • @Poe consider marking question accepted so that others will know.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 20:15
  • Done. Sorry about that!
    – Poe
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 22:15
  • @Poe no problem, it is perfectly within your right not to do so if you wish. Keep contributing, you can soon vote up posts.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 19:59

This and similar situations are handle with the tool "Pathfinder". Look for it under Window in main menu. Also to use pathfinder, many times you have to duplicate the shape(s) before you break it in few shapes. Such a handy tool.

  • 2
    do you mind expanding your comment to explain how the Pathfinder would help in this case?
    – Luciano
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 8:20

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