In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, I will walk you through and around the Recolor Artwork feature set and how I use it to adjust and change the colors of multiple pieces of complex artwork in Illustrator. We’ll talk about applying brand new colors, changing the way the color is displayed, desaturation all the color, and so much more! You will save so much time by learning how to use Recolor Artwork properly and effectively! I hope you enjoy the video!
Tweaking the Global (Overall) Color of Artwork
In order to launch the Recolor Artwork feature, select the artwork that you wish to change the color of and go Edit>Edit Colors>Recolor Artwork. You can select the little flyout menu icon to the right of the color sliders near the bottom of the dialog box and choose “Global Adjust” and use those sliders to quickly change things like the saturation, lightness, and color temperature of the artwork.
Editing the Colors with the Color Wheel
Within the Recolor Artwork dialog box, select the “Edit” button and drag any of the color nodes around the change the corresponding color in your artwork as you see fit. You can select the little chain link icon near the bottom right of the wheel to lock the relationship of all the nodes so when you drag one they all move in unison. TIP: If you have trouble locating any given color and what part of the artwork it colors, go back to the “Assign” button and click on the little magnifying glass icon near the bottom right of this scrolling list and you will be able to click on any color in this list and it will appear in color in your Illustrator document.
Applying a New Color Group (Theme) to the Artwork
If you create a new color group in the Swatches panel, you can quickly apply that set of colors to any piece of complex artwork by selecting that artwork and double clicking the color group folder icon in the Swatches panel. This will launch the Recolor Artwork dialog and start mapping the color. If you want specific colors to color specific parts of your artwork, simply drag the little color thumbnails under the “New” column in the “Assign” side of the dialog box and whatever color you drop it on with immediately swap out. This is a very fast way to use an entirely new color theme and get the colors you want exactly where you want them. This is such a deep feature! Check out the full video at the top of this post to see all the info about how I use this tool.