I would like to make a complex shape using the brush tool and then use stroke and fills to create color.

I started with one shape made from 8 brush strokes

I selected all of the strokes with the direct selection tool

I am left with a fill that looks like this:

I am left with a fill that looks like this

I've tried grouping the brush strokes (right click-group) first with little difference. I've tried converting my shape into a vector (expand appearance) and then applying the fill but Illustrator maintains no fill to the object.

Note: this picture is just an example. The real problem is in a much larger piece that does not lend itself well to the pen tool.


2 Answers 2


If I am understanding your question … Maybe try using the Live Paint Bucket and Shaper Tools.

  1. Draw you shape with brush tool:

  2. Select all the overlapping lines and click with Live Paint Bucket tool:

    Use your arrow keys to select a swatch color and click in the middle of your shape to fill with chosen color.

  3. Use the Shaper tool to clean up your leftover lines:

  4. Finally, optionally, expand the shape to get full control over stroke and fill:

Another way could be to use the “Pathfinder effects” found in the Pathfinder palette. For example, here’s “Divide” in action:

YMMV. :)

  • Cool! Glad it helped. :) Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers!
    – mhulse
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 23:32

When looking at the above picture you've shared, it could also help to join the paths and create a single path which you can fill pretty easy.


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