How to Recolor Artwork in illustrator

In this Illustrator Tutorial, we will learn, ‘How to Recolor Artwork in illustrator’.

My name is Lalit Adhikari and we are at LTY. Let’s begin!


Recolor Artwork can be used to recolor our artwork with predefined colors using color library, create our own color palette using color wheel or pick a color palette from artwork or images using Color Theme Picker.

We can even create unlimited color variations instantly. All we need to do is play with colors and pick the one that works the best and recolor our artwork at the click of a button.

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How to find Recolor Artwork

Recolor Artwork option can be opened by either of the following two ways:

  • Select the Artwork, Go to Properties Panel and Click on the Recolor button.
Recolor button in illustrator

Or Select the Artwork and Go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork…

Recolor Artwork option under Edit menu

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Recolor Artwork

A dialog box with the following Recolor Artwork options is displayed:

Recolor Artwork dialog box
  • Undo: Cancel the latest change made to the artwork color.
  • Redo: Restore the latest change that was reverted using Undo.
  • Reset: Clear all color adjustments and revert to default dialog settings.
  • Color Library: Choose a color from the predefined color library.
  • Colors: Choose the number of colors you want to show in your artwork.
  • Color Theme Picker: Pick color palettes from one or more images, artwork or their select areas and use them in your artwork.
  • Color wheel: Display and adjust colors, their order, brightness, saturation and hue.
  • Color order: Click to randomly change the order of colors.
  • Prominent Colors: Shows all colors that are prominent in your artwork based on their hue and other properties.
  • Saturation and Hue and Brightness and Hue: Adjust their value on the slider or randomly change their values using the button next to the color wheel.
  • Save: Click this button to save your color palette.
  • Advanced Options: Click this button to view the advanced recoloring options.

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Color Library

We can use predefined colors available under the Color Library in Recolor Artwork dialog box. We can choose from different color groups, document swatches or preset color themes.

All colors and themes that we’ve defined are added to our Swatches panel as color group and will be available for recoloring.

Color Library

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Color Theme Picker

Using Color Theme Picker, we can pick and extract color palettes from one or more artwork or images present on the canvas or form their select portions and recolor our current artwork with them.

Ensure the artwork or images from which we want to pick color inspiration are placed on our canvas. We can extract colors from both vector and raster objects on the canvas.

Do the following steps:

  • In the Recolor Artwork dialog box, click Color Theme Picker to activate the color picker.
  • Click the object on the canvas from which we want to pick the color palette.
  • To pick colors from more than one object, hold Shift and click on the objects.
  • Drag to marquee-select specific sections of an artwork to pick colors.

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Color Wheel

Color wheel in Recolor Artwork dialog box displays the color stops for all the colors contained in our artwork.

Steps to recolor our artwork using the color wheel:

  • Move the color handle shown at the center of the wheel.
  • To choose a color from the Color Picker dialog, double-click anywhere on the wheel or right-click the color handle and choose Color Picker.
  • To select a shade, right-click the color handle and choose Select Shade.

Add or Move multiple color stops:

  • To add a new color stop, right-click anywhere on the color wheel and choose Create New. Now, move this new color stop to pick a color of your choice.
  • By default, all the color stops move together. To unlink the color harmony and move color stops individually, click the link icon. Click again to relink the color harmony.

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Prominent Colors

We can change the color weight and other properties in the artwork in the Prominent Colors section at the bottom of the Recolor dialog box.

Prominent colors are categorized based on the hue and shade of the color. To adjust the weight of a color in your artwork, hold and drag the edge of the color patch.

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Creating different Color versions of Flower

Now, I will take the Flower created in one of our previous Illustrator Tutorial and change it’s colors using Recolor Artwork.

flower created using gradient mesh in illustrator

We can easily create other color versions of the same flower using Recolor Artwork in illustrator.


First, make a copy of the original flower and then go to the Layers panel and select only the group of petals without the mask.

Now, go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork

Type in the shade of purple indicated and hit OK. As a result, your pink petals will turn into purple petals.

purple color petals

Using this simple step, we can create multiple colored copies of the flower.

If you are following our Free Illustrator Lessons and Tutorial Guide, then next you should read about, “How to Create Silver Metallic Effect in illustrator“.

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Lalit Adhikari
Lalit Adhikari

Lalit Adhikari is the Main Author and Admin at Learn That Yourself. He has work experience of more than 10 years in the field of Multimedia and teaching experience of more than 5 years.

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