How to recolor artwork in Adobe Illustrator

How to recolor artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Hello and welcome to another tutorial
from Elan Creative Co. I’m Cristina and in this tutorial I will show you how to
recolor your graphics in Adobe Illustrator. As you know, when you work
with vectors you can select and recolor each element, but how do you recolor your complex graphics that have many colors? I have here this pattern. As you can see,
I can only select the whole object and not each individual flower. Of course, I
could go to Object>Expand and then expand the pattern so I could select
each element. But it is very complicated and that’s why I want to show you the
recolor artwork tool. This tool only works with vectors so you cannot use it
to recolor your photographs or your scanned drawings. You would have to use
Photoshop for that. I’m going to recolor this pattern and I will use the colors
from these color swatches. If your swatches panel is not open, you can open
it from Windows>Swatches. It’s very important that you already have the
color groups loaded before you use the recolor artwork tool. If you don’t have
custom color palettes you can use one of the Illustrator color palettes.
Let’s open the Kids Stuff. So as you can see there are many color palettes here
and if you want to use one of them you can just click on this folder icon and
move your swatch to the swatches panel. If you want to create your own color
groups, all you have to do is click on this new color group button, rename it if you
want, and then just move the colors to it. So let’s recolor our pattern. You’ll have
to select all the items that you want to colorize using the selection tool. So I’m
just going to click on this pattern. If you want to select all the items on your
artboard, you can use ctrl + A or Command + A if you’re on a Mac. When you select your
items you’ll notice that the recolor artwork button will appear in the top
toolbar. You can also access it from the Color Guide or you can select one of the color
groups and the recolor artwork will appear at the bottom of the swatches
panel. Another way to open it is by going to Edit> Edit colors>Recolor
artwork. The recolor artwork menu will pop up now. This is a very complex tool
so I will only show you the basic steps you will need to take to recolor complex
artworks. So let’s take a look at this menu. Now, here in the right side you can
see the color groups that we have loaded in the swatches panel. We can use this to
recolor the graphics. Here you can see your current colors. When you
change the colors, the new color will appear here in new menu. And if you want
to see where each color is in your graphic, you can press this magnifying
glass icon. So let’s see how this works. I’m going to click on it and everything
will be almost white. Now when you select the color, it will pop up on your
screen. Let’s select other colors. If you want to change one of these colors, all
you have to do is double click here on this color in the new panel and then
select a new color. If you want to select a color from the color swatches
just click on the color swatches button and pick the new color. And press OK to save it. If you press again on the magnifying
glass to exit this menu, you will see that the new color now appears here. So
as you can see this is the old color and this is the new color. If you don’t want to
manually change colors, you can click on the randomly change color order button.
This will use your current color palette and find new color combinations. You
can click on it as many times as you want until you find a color that you
like. If you want to use a different color scheme, just click on one of the
color groups and as you can see these new colors will appear here at the top
and the pattern now has different colors. I’m going to click again on the randomly
change color order until I find the color combination that I like. I think
this is nice but some of these colors are too light so I’m just going to
double click on them and I’m going to use a darker pink and a darker green
as well. Let’s use this one. This looks much better. So when you are happy with
the way or your pattern looks – press OK to save it. If you use this tool to
recolor your patterns, you will notice that you will have here in the swatches
panel your old pattern and your new pattern. so let’s see. This is our old pattern and this is the new one. Hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. If you want
to see more Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials, please subscribe to my channel.
I release a new video every week. Thank you for watching!

Dereck Turner

5 thoughts on “How to recolor artwork in Adobe Illustrator

  1. carol ward says:

    Very helpful thank you!

  2. 404 says:

    love your pattern style, thank you for sharing!

  3. Amanda Kremser says:

    I watched soooo many videos on this tool trying to find a simple answer and your explanation was perfect and helpful, thank you so much!

  4. Katarina Ostojić says:

    <3 Thanks!

  5. Cindy Hartmann-Bastens says:

    Thank you very much! I hope you're going to make more pattern making video's!

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