Ittty-Bitty Illustrator Tutorials: Make a Picture Into a Live Paint Object to Color

When I need a quick tutorial, I don’t want to parse through a video or read a diatribe on why someone loves a product before I learn to do what I want to do. So I’m launching this series of simple, straightforward, specific instructions on how to do different things in Adobe Illustrator and related software. I hope you get something you need or want out of it!

For this tutorial, you can get the plant I use in the examples here.

The Pre-steps: Placing an Image in Adobe Illustrator

The Main Tutorial: Making a Picture into a Live Paint Object to Color

Step 1: Trace the image. Make sure the image is selected, then go to Object > Image Trace > Make

Step 2: Expand. With the image still selected, go to Object > Expand. Leave the settings as they are, and click OK.

Notice the clearer outline of the plant here. This is from tracing the image in Step 1.

Step 3: Create Live Paint Object. Making sure the image is still selected, go to Object > Live Paint > Make.

Notice that the individual outlines in the image are now highlighted in blue, not just the square image itself. This is from expanding in Step 2. Note that once this image is made into a Live Paint Object, the background area in the square of the image will also be paintable – you can fill it in transparently if you want no background.

Step 3: Paint! Deselect the image. Then hit K on your keyboard (alternatively, find the Live Paint Tool in the toolbar underneath the Shape Builder Tool); the mouse will change to a paint bucket and three squares. This is the Live Paint tool, which you can use to bucket paint areas in the image.

Areas where paint will be poured get outlined in red; click to fill with the chosen fill color.

You can paint in an entire image this way! I made these, for example:

Purple flower coloring by Valeri on Urban Habitat
Yellow flower coloring by Valeri on Urban Habitat

Want to color in these cute lil plants like I did? I got the original image from HERE. Enjoy!

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