How to Quickly Recolor an Image in Illustrator

I want to start off by saying that I am not an advanced Adobe Illustrator CC user. I know enough to do minor edits and make basic icons, but that is it, so if you happen to be more versed in Illustrator and know of a better way to do this, feel free to comment below. I’m always looking for better ways to accomplish a task.

I had a graphic designer that specializes in creating caricatures create one of myself:

Tom Nguyen Caricature

The graphic designer gave me the original source file, so I could make my own minor edits in the future. I wanted to create multiple caricatures of myself wearing different colored shirts. The only way that I knew how to do this was to change every part of my shirt individually. I didn’t want to change every part of my shirt one at a time because that was too time consuming. Luckily, I found out about the Recolor button in the Properties panel. To make the Recolor button show up in the Properties panel, you need to make a selection. In the screenshot below, I selected my whole caricature.

Adobe Illustrator CC Recolor Button in Properties Panel

Click the Recolor button, and you’ll see a Recolor Artwork window pop up like this:

Adobe Illustrator Recolor Artwork Window

I’ll explain the numbered items:

  1. I click on a color swatch that looks like what might be the color of my shirt.
  2. I modify the hue by clicking on the swatch and changing the value. I adjust the saturation and brightness by sliding the respective slider or by changing the respective percentage value.
  3. If I changed the color of the wrong item, I can always click on the eyedropper tool to undo all of my color changes.
  4. When I’m satisfied with the color changes, I click the OK button.

Here is my caricature with a green shirt.

Tom Nguyen Caricature with Green Shirt

If you found this blog post useful or if you have something helpful to add, please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.


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