Skip to main content

Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Lesson 11 of 23

Manipulating Stroke and Fill in Adobe Illustrator

Brian Wood

Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Brian Wood

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

11. Manipulating Stroke and Fill in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson Info

Manipulating Stroke and Fill in Adobe Illustrator

In this section, we have got, we've got some ground to cover, but it's two major features we're gonna hit. We're gonna hit color and type, and there's a lot to hit in there. There's a lot of things to look at as far as applying color, working with color. We're gonna do gradients as well, so we're gonna kinda do some of that because it's pretty essential to what a lot of us will do, and with type, we're gonna go in, and I don't know what I'm looking at right now, I'm looking at a butterfly, but with type what we're gonna do is we're gonna explore, because type in here can be a little interesting compared to other programs so we'll go through that. What I'd like to do right now is I'd like to actually clean up a little and kinda close some of the files we have open that we're not gonna use any more. There's a lot. What you could do if you want to, I'll tell you my cure-all, I just quit Illustrator, and then it says would you like to save, would you like to save, would you like to save? B...

ut, you can come up to each tab if you want and you can see there's an X there. We don't have to go to file, close, you can just click on the X. Why don't you do that? Go ahead and start clicking on these to kinda close them up, and it's gonna say go ahead and save them if you wouldn't mind, you can save 'em, and the pen_practice you don't have to save if you don't want to, you can always, at home as well, you can use that to practice your pen tool, you can save your robot, you can save everything we've got, don't have to worry about layers, all of these, close 'em up. Excuse me, all right. And the last thing we're gonna do is we're gonna go in and we're gonna reset the workspace once we open up a new file. Once you have them all closed, you're gonna see we are back in that start screen and the start screen it starts to get a little nutty. You can see all the files that we've had open here which is actually good, I like the recent list. You can, if you want to up here, where it says recent if you have that selected, you can actually go in and say let me look at 'em. I actually prefer this, 'cause the list, my naming convention style sometimes it's horrible. It's like version 1af, and all that. So, yeah, you can see. Anyway, what we are gonna do is we're gonna go in and we're gonna open up a new file. You can either click open here or go to file, open up in the menus and what I'd like you to do is come to the Day 1 folder and come to that segment three folder and you'll see that we have robots-start. I have the final version of this that I was just kinda inspiration, playing around with, at home later on you guys can look at that, but let's just open up robots-start for right now, let me click open, and it's gonna show us a lot of different art boards that I've got here and what I'd like to do first is show all the art boards. Does anyone remember after our long lunch where that was? Under view, fit all in window. You're gonna, by the way, if you use Illustrator enough, you're gonna use these commands, you're gonna learn them. Command zero and then command whatever that one is. I just do it on my keyboard, I'm like command option zero. Okay, the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna go in and we're gonna reset the panels. I've got a lot of panels hanging out here I don't need right now, so I wanna get 'em out of my face. Come up here to the workspace switcher it's called, we should have essentials, the one thing I didn't mention before was that Illustrator actually has a lot of panel sets or ways of setting the workspace for you if you're gonna do a particular thing. If you're gonna work a lot with, well actually tracing, which is kinda cool, they pull out all the panels for you if you pick that workspace. These are really good to explore if you're doing something particular. The other thing that we are gonna do, hopefully as we go through this day, I'm gonna create a workspace and show you guys how to do that. You can actually go in when you get your panels where you want them, set out here, you can save it and always go back to it. You can have a panel called workspace called my awesome space. Why don't you go ahead and reset essentials right now. And go ahead and click on, the libraries panel should be open, go ahead and click on the tab, the tab to collapse that one. The libraries panel at CC libraries are phenomenal, we're going to get to those tomorrow. I hate closing that thing but we will take a look at that. The first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna start to look at color and before we jump in to making color, we gotta explore how Illustrator does it. There are six million ways to make color in here, and you gotta pick your poison. You gotta pick what you're gonna do, how you're gonna do it, depending on your project. We're gonna go through a few methods here. Click on the art board up here or, you know what, easy way, just come down to the art board navigation menu down here and just pick one. I want to fit the first art board, the top one there in the window. And you know what? Look what I did wrong there. This is a do as I say not as I do moment. This is not the first art board, is it? Okay, it is. Go to the art boards panel on the right over here. This is actually why I did this, so that you guys can understand, actually, I didn't, I screwed up. I'll admit it. But this is why you name your art boards and you want to put them in the right order because if it says one out there, if you go to one, this is technically the third, fourth art board down. This is where you're gonna be like I'm gonna guess which art board I'm going to, so go to three, art board three. That was an epic fail by Brian, that's fine. Go ahead and collapse the panels by clicking on tab or the icon over there. Now, when you work in Illustrator, color's gonna one of the big things you do, 'cause you're not just gonna do black and white artwork, so we're gonna be colorizing a lot of different types of things. In the past, years ago we used to call it painting, and that was kind of wacky 'cause it's like you think of painting. Well, we're gonna go in and we're gonna apply color to a lot of different shapes and objects and to do that, we need to understand stroke and fill and kind of how they work and what they do. I've got a shape right here, I know this is pretty simple, but with the selection tool selected right there go ahead and click on the shape. Now, this is something to pay attention to, I didn't mention this earlier but look at your cursor, look at the pointer at all times. You're gonna get used to this. If I look at that thing right now, before I click, I'm gonna see a little black box next to it. That means that I have something clickable underneath the cursor, so if I click I will select it. If this box was filled with nothing, it's right now filled with a white color, if it was filled with nothing, we wouldn't see anything next to the pointer. It's those little subtle things that can help. Click on that to select it, and you'll see we've got all our stuff out there we can edit. Now, I want to go in and change things. The first thing to understand is stroke and fill. If you look at the box, you're gonna see in a couple areas in the application here, look up here first of all, up in the control panel, you'll see we have two options. We have fill right here and we have stroke right here. It's kinda easy to figure out once you get to know it, but the fill is the inside of the shape and the stroke is the border of the shape, let's just say that. If you want to, we've kinda done this a couple of times, you can come right up here and depending on what you want to select or change, you just pick it. I want to change the fill, so the inside of the shape, you click on the arrow to the right there and you're gonna see the swatches panel. Let's go do that, just click on that. Now, what's crazy about the control panel up here, this whole bar running along the top right up here, any time you open something up here, whether it be one of these orange words or a menu, you're most likely going to open up a panel that's actually out in the interface. This is called the swatches panel, this is just another way to find it. Like I said, you're gonna do this however you wanna do it. Now, the swatches panel is a place where we can save our colors and re-use them. It's something that you will get used to using eventually. It contains all these little color swatches, these little chips. In the swatches panel, you can actually have solid colors in different form, shape, whatever, you can have gradients, which you're gonna see some right down here, you can also have patterns. Patterns we can create ourself and the pattern maker in here is actually pretty awesome. We can also, just like in design for instance, we can go in and we can organize our colors by folder. Now, that's pretty cool because if you're creating logos and different things you might want different versioning, that type of thing. These little folders also allow you later on to apply these color sets, the color in the folder, as a group. You can say, give me a logo, I'm gonna take that whole folder and just apply it to the logo. It's some pretty magic stuff, we'll see it. Why don't you pick another color? Pick a whatever, I don't care. The thing about the colors right here is that these are kinda set in stone. Every document you create from scratch is gonna have a set number of colors. If you wanna make your own, you can easily, and I'll show you how to do that in just a little bit. Why don't you come over here to the stroke and you're gonna click twice on the arrow here because once closes the previous panel and another time opens this one, so we're gonna do that, and you're gonna see the same thing. It's the same swatches panel. But you're telling it to apply it to the border, to the stroke. You can pick a color, whatever, I don't care. Pick a gradient, pick a this, pick a that, I don't really care. It's just you are going in, you're applying it to the stroke of the object. Now, the stroke itself, like I said, is the border. We can change the stroke weight it's called, 'cause by default, every object you create has a stroke of one point, so pretty small. If you come to the right over here, why don't you do this for me, press the escape key, I just got used to doing that, I don't know, you might not like it, don't do it if you don't want, and that's gonna hide the panel and you're gonna see over here that we have the stroke just to the right of that. Why don't you come into the one point, you can change it 15 ways, you can type in the number if you want, you can choose from the menu over here, or you can use the little arrows to increase or decrease the stroke weight. Let's change it to 10. I'm gonna change it to 10, 10 point, there we go. You should be able to see it happen out there. Now, a stroke, this is the fine tuning, this is the stuff you're gonna notice over time but look at the box. Where is the stroke in relation to the edge of the box? Hopefully I'm saying that right. Yeah, it's kind of like straddling the edge of the box. By default, that's what happens to every shape. If you want to, you can change that, and I'm gonna show you a couple little options here that we'll look at. We're gonna use this quite a bit as we go 'cause, you'll see. Click on the word stroke up here which is gonna open up the stroke panel which is a pretty big one, and you'll see, I know there's a lot going on in here but everybody asks me, they're like where do I do an arrow? Like an arrowhead? Or where do I make a dashed line? It's all in here. This is where you go. You'll see in here that we have dashed lines, we have arrowheads, and there's two of them here 'cause it's either end of every line or object. Up here, you're gonna see we have a couple options. Cap and corner, you're probably, I don't know, you're probably not gonna use it too much in the beginning, I wouldn't worry about it. This is the big one, align stroke. You're gonna see we have align stroke to the center, align stroke to the inside, and align stroke to the outside. Go ahead and choose align stroke to the outside. Take a look at the shape. Then try out align stroke to the inside. Does that make sense? When I first start doing that, I was like, okay it looks different, that's great, but why would I actually use that? There's a lot of reasons. A lot of times, when you're trying to take two shapes and align them together, and they have an overlap of some kind or maybe they butt right against each other, if you put the stroke on the outside, one's gonna be wider than the other one and you can't really fix it, it's really hard to do that. If you put the stroke on the inside, you can align them and they're perfectly aligned. There's just little things like that you can do. The align stroke options in the stroke panel are important, and something we will look at more. Now, here's something else we can do as far as color is concerned. Look down here in the tools panel at the very bottom or at least close to the bottom, and you're gonna see the same two color boxes. You're gonna see a fill and a stroke. These down here are, if you guys have used Photoshop, you probably have used something like this, these down here. In here, these are the fill and the stroke, if you want to, you can actually change the color here by double clicking. Why don't you come to the brown, or the color you chose for the fill, can you guys figure out which one's fill and stroke? It's, yeah, the border. Double click on the fill, and you're gonna see our friend the color picker. This is something that we, I actually tend to use a lot. I flip a lot between Photoshop and Illustrator and even in design, for that matter, and this is found in all three programs. If you're used to it in one, you'll be relatively comfortable with it in the others. It's a little different between the programs at times, but it's a place you can go to pick colors. We'll look at this in just a little while, but I wanted to show you that that is there. Go ahead and click cancel. Now, if you want to apply color, there are other methods here and I just, I'm kinda trying to take you through a quick tour of some of this stuff because it's important. A lot of times I will use the options up here, the stroke and the fill, just 'cause it's there, but sometimes you'll come over here and you're gonna use other panels to apply color. We have five different other panels or so. Come to the swatches on the right. You're gonna see the little color icons there. This is the exact same thing you're gonna see, for the most part, as what you see up there. The humongous difference, though? Look at these little boxes right here. What are these boxes telling you, these two right here? Those are stroke and fill, right? This is kind of interesting, but these actually just came into Illustrator a few versions ago. They've been in design and Photoshop forever, that type of thing, but when you're working with objects with this panel, you have to pick what you want to apply, and everyone runs into this problem, everybody messes this up. I want to change the stroke of the box selected right now. The first thing I have to do, always remembering, is I have to choose the stroke or select the stroke. Okay? It's kind of, it's a big deal. Otherwise, you're gonna affect the fill. If you use this panel, this swatches panel, by itself like that, you've got to choose stroke or fill. If we come up here, just by clicking stroke I'm telling it, we're just doing the stroke, right? So, kind of a difference there, something to think about. I use the swatches panel all the time and this is something that I'm doing in probably every job I work with. The swatches panel are where we can save color, where we can access them. Every document has its own set of swatches. If we make a color in here and we save it, and this is where we're gonna save it as a little color swatch, you're not gonna find it in another document.

Class Description

This course is part of: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects 

Gain the fundamentals necessary to tackle the world’s best vector-based illustration software Adobe® Illustrator®. Brian Wood will take you step-by-step and explain everything a beginner needs to know to get up and running with Illustrator, including:

  • Interface & tools
  • Using the pen tool
  • Applying color
  • Formating Text 

In Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners Brian will use a series of projects to teach you everything you need to create your first graphic or illustration. 

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator CC 2015



I've been trying to learn Illustrator on and off for years. This is the best instruction I've had! Brian is a great instructor. Finally feeling comfortable with it. It does use an older version but I just adapt.

Bill Neill

Great content and a good instructor. Not his fault the world marches on and doesn't stay in 2015. Any reasonably intelligent person will be able to figure out the changes since 2015 and how they relate to this course. It is early 2019, and I'm not having any trouble, but then I am reasonably intelligent and not to lazy to do some thinking.

a Creativelive Student

Pretty good so far but he's using a very different version of Illustrator and my currently updated version does not have the tool bars top and bottom for dealing with artboards.