Paint tools | Paint objects

Learn what each Illustrator paint tool does best.

While working in Illustrator, use paint tools like the Gradient, Shape Builder, Mesh, Live Paint tool, and more to merge simple shapes into other custom shapes, apply gradient to objects, or paint faces and edges.

Here's a quick overview of important paint tools

Gradient (G)
Adjust the gradient angle or apply a gradient to objects

Shape Builder Tool

Shape Builder (Shift + M)
Merge any shape to create other custom shapes

Watch this 11-second animation to learn more about working with these paint tools. You can also download the practice file and try to re-create the procedures in the video.

Additional paint tools


Mesh (U) creates or edits meshes and mesh envelopes

Live Paint Selection

Live Paint Selection (Shift + L) selects faces and edges within groups

Live Paint

Live Paint (K) paints faces of groups with current attributes

 Here's a handy reference of all the keyboard shortcuts to get your work done faster.

What's next?

Now that you've gotten started with using these tools to paint your artwork, take a step forward and learn what you can do with Type tools.

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Ask the community

Drop in your creations and questions in the Adobe Illustrator Community. We'd love to hear from you.