I have a drawing that I have traced with the pen tool and also given stokes. I am unable to color the drawing on illustrator. I attempted to merge the image, and use the live paint option. but that took away all the strokes and now it looks very untidy. Is there a better way to color in maybe on photoshop or a different application? enter image description here

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    Can you just copy the AI layer, then color one layer leaving the other layer as a key line with the strokes (above the color layer)? This is often how artwork is constructed digitally.
    – Scott
    Apr 14, 2017 at 21:56
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    I think this is a a case of doing too much for your first project. I mean if you first tried to do this with something simople you'd immediately understand what it is your supposed to be doing.
    – joojaa
    Apr 15, 2017 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


Live Paint is certainly the way to do this, however there might be some steps you are missing.

Here's how I would attempt tracing a sketch, and colouring it with Live Paint.

  1. Use the Pen tool to draw all the lines, making sure there are overlaps at all the intersections. Live Paint needs closed areas to work properly.

  2. Apply your brush strokes to the lines.

  3. Select all the strokes, and click Object > Expand Appearance. This will expand all the strokes into filled shapes.

  4. Open the Pathfinder, and apply the Divide function

  5. Using the Direct Selection tool, select all of the over lapping segments and delete them. Clean up any wonky lines/corners at this point.

  6. Turn the drawing into a live Paint object, and use the Live Paint Bucket to fill all the colours.

Here's a simple example of the technique.

Example of colouring with Live Paint

Here's the AI file if you want to examine it:http://www.filedropper.com/kitten

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