How to Use Live Paint in Illustrator


If you've ever painted in a pixel-based program such as Photoshop or Paint, you've most likely used a paint bucket to fill in the pixels between outlined objects. This made coloring with pixels fast and easy, but vector artists could not simply fill in pixels until the introduction of Adobe's Illustrator CS2. Adobe realized that artists working in a vector environment could use a paint bucket type tool, so it added the Live Paint Tool to its collection to allow artists to fill in outlined areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Illustrator CS2 or later
  • Draw the artwork that you want to paint.

  • Click "Object" from the file menu and hover over "Live Paint" to display the submenu. Select "Gap Options." Gap options determines how much gap is permitted to perform a live paint fill and the gap's color in the artwork. Specify the size of the gap in the "Custom" box. Click on the "Gap Preview Color" drop-down menu to change the gap color.

  • Click "Window" from the file menu and select "Swatches." Make sure all the colors that you want to paint with are in your current swatches palette.

  • Select "Selection" tool. Select the artwork that you want to paint.

  • Select the "Live Paint Bucket" tool. The cursor turns into a paint bucket.

  • Hover over the area that you want to fill. The lines will change color to show what will be filled. Make sure there are no gaps.

  • Press the right or left arrows to scroll through the colors in the swatches palette until you come to the desired color. The selected color appears above the cursor.

  • Click inside the highlighted artwork to apply the color.

  • Double-click on the "Live Paint Bucket" tool. Click on the square next to "Paint Strokes." Hover over a line in the live paint object; the cursor changes to a paintbrush. Click on the line to change the line color.

  • Select the "Live Paint Selection" tool. Select a face of the live paint object. Edit as desired.

  • Click "Object" from the file menu and hover over "Live Paint" to display the submenu. Select "Expand" to make the artwork editable as regular vector-based artwork.

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