[Ask BB] How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

by Jay Hilgert
on November 30, 2009

I recently received an email from Zosia asking me an Illustrator question. Zosia had a vector shape of Africa in Illustrator and wanted to fill the shape with a texture. It’s not as difficult as you might think, but for those of you new to Illustrator, this is a very useful thing to know. You can’t actually “clip” or “cut out” the shape from your texture, but it’s very easy to make a mask, and you still get the same effect.

[Ask BB] How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

Step 1

Make sure your vector shape is on top of your texture.

[Ask BB] How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

Step 2

Select BOTH your texture and the vector shape, then right click or control click and select “Make Clipping Mask.” (You can also go to the Object menu and select Clipping Mask > Make, or hit Command/Control +7.)

[Ask BB] How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

Step 3

Done! Now, that you have your texture masked to fill your shape, you’ll notice that Illustrator has made the texture and the path into a new group. You can move the group as a whole with the Select tool, or you can use the Direct Select tool to move the texture itself, without moving the path, and vice versa.

[Ask BB] How to Make a Clipping Mask in Illustrator

About Jay Hilgert

Formally trained at Oklahoma State, Jay Hilgert is a graphic and web designer, font designer (Link), software developer (Brush Pilotâ„¢), and the founder of BittBox.

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