How to Use Live Paint in Illustrator


Have you ever used Live Paint in Illustrator?
In this article, we’ll explain it in detail for those who have never used it yet.


Draw an illustration and import it to your PC.
In this case, I drew this illustration and imported it.
You can use photos or scans of your illustration.
Illustration for import

1. Open Illustrator and place your illustration

This time, work with [Size: A4], [Orientation: Vertical], [Color Mode: CMYK].
Click [File] > [Place] and place your image.
Image is placed.
Place the image

2. Rasterize your image

Go to [Object] > [Rasterize].
Set up the resolution in the [Rasterize] panel.
In this case, we set [Color Mode:CMYK], [Resolution: High (300ppi)] and [Background: Transparent].
Rasterize option

3. Use the Image Trace

Choose [Object] > [Image Trace] > [Make].
Image Trace
The image will change like this.
After making Image Trace
Then select [Expand] (Convert tracing object into paths) at the top of the artboard.
This will convert all the traces to paths.
Tracing object was converted into paths.
Tracing object is converted into paths
*If you have extra anchor points when you expand the traced image, you can ungroup them and delete them using the [Direct Selection Tool].

4. Create a Live Paint group

With selecting object converted into paths, choose [Object] > [Live Paint] > [Make].
Live Paint command
Select the [Live Paint Selection Tool].
Live Paint Selection Tool
When the mouse is close to the target object, a red frame will appear.
You can paint the area individually.
Red frame will appear
When you select the red frame, the face color will change. Then you can use the Color panel to change the fill color.
After selecting a red frame
You can change the fill like this.
Change the color using Color panel.
Repeat this and change all fills.
Changing fill color
Final image

Learn more

There’s one more useful feature in [Live Paint].
It’s [Gap Options].
For example, I prepared this object.
The corner paths are not closed.
You can’t change the color of this object with [Live Paint].
There's a gap
Only other objects with the closed path can be changed in color.
Change the color
With the object selected, select [Object] > [Live Paint] > [Gap Options].
Gap Options
In the Gap Options panel, select the [Gap Detection] checkbox.
Then the number of gaps will be counted as “Gaps Found”.
Set the [Paint stops at] and [Gap Preview Color] to your liking, and then click [Close gaps with paths].
Gap Options panel
Then the gap was automatically closed with a pass!
The gap is automatically closed with a pass
Now you can paint it.
You can now change colors.
You can now change colors.
Change the color and you’re done.
After changing object's color
We used simple objects in this example, but you may use more complex objects in practice.
In that case, try setting the [Paint stops at] to [Small Gaps] or [Custom Gaps] in Gap Options.

How was it?
If you can master Live Paint, you can easily paint the illustrations without a pen tab.
How about trying to use it?

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