I traced a coffee mug with the pen tool. Then I traced the inside of the mug handle, creating two paths. I want to fill the mug but not the inside of the handle. No matter what I do - arrange the handle path forward - non zero - compound path - all the suggestions on the internet - filling the mug, fills the handle path. How do I make the inside of the mug handle no-fill?
Maybe first try practicing creating a compound path with simpler paths.
Use the Ellipse Tool, select a fill color, draw one big circle, then draw a smaller circle inside it.
Next, use the Selection Tool to select both of the circles.
With both circles selected, click Object / Compound Path / Make.
At this point, you should now have a compound path.
The next step would be to determine why your objects won't become compound paths.
It's hard to say what the issue might be.
Another approach you might want to take would be to layer the inner/negative/inner handle shape underneath the primary/outer/mug shape and do Pathfinder/Minus Back.