Adobe Illustrator – How To Make Clipping Masks

Clipping Masks 101

Clipping masks are such a cool thing to learn in Adobe Illustrator and on top of that, they’re easy! After creating an initial mask I will show you how to make effects on top of it.


As a Graphic Designer it is important you understand Clipping Masks. Clipping Masks are used a lot on photos but can actually be added on to most shapes also.

What you are basically doing is you are taking two elements and saying one of you is going to fill the shape of the other one. The new clipping mask must always be on top of the element getting clipped.

The two will be bonded as 1 when you make the clipping mask and can always be undone later on. Once an object is a clipping mask, you can manipulate the anchor points with the direct selection tool.

You will see in the tutorial above a photo of my dog which is a basic rectangular photo which by the end will completely fill a circle with a stroke and shadow behind it. These masks can also hide unwanted elements of a photo.

Always make sure that the element you want filled needs to be on top of the element going inside.