Master Color with the Recolor Artwork Tool in Adobe Illustrator | Bonnie Christine | Skillshare

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Master Color with the Recolor Artwork Tool in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Bonnie Christine, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Color in Ai Intro


    • 2.

      Create a Custom Color Palette


    • 3.

      Getting Familiar with Color in Ai


    • 4.

      3 The Recolor Artwork Tool


    • 5.

      Reduce the # of Colors in an Illustration


    • 6.

      Global Colors


    • 7.

      How to Lock Colors


    • 8.

      Recolor Watercolor Illustrations


    • 9.

      Coverting Colors to Pantones


    • 10.

      Choosing a Color Palette


    • 11.

      Recoloring Patterns


    • 12.

      Common Mistakes in Coloring


    • 13.

      Student Projects + Next Steps


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About This Class


When it comes to illustration, color can easily be one of the most important elements of a design. Mastering the use of color in adobe illustrator will be a key factor in taking your designs to the next level. While the recolor artwork is the most powerful color tool in Illustrator, it’s also one of the most complex. In this course, we’ll be focusing on coloring artwork for print, whether that’s stationery and wallpaper or fabric and ribbon. I’ll teach you how to create color palettes that work, lock and reduce colors in the recolor artwork tool, tips on how to recolor watercolor paintings, convert your colors to Pantones and easily recolor your repeating patterns.

PLEASE NOTE: If you're new to Illustrator, I would love to have you join me in my other Skillshare courses! Both Intro to Surface Pattern Design and Surface Pattern Design 2.0 are very comprehensive. This course will assume that you're either competent in Illustrator or that you've taken these two courses first. :)



In this course, we’ll be focusing on coloring artwork and repeating patterns in Adobe Illustrator using the Recolor Artwork Tool.

  • How to make a custom color palette
  • What makes a color palette work
  • How to locate colors in a document
  • How to reduce the number of colors in an illustration
  • How to lock colors
  • How to use Global Adjustments
  • How to recolor watercolor illustrations
  • How to convert a document's colors to Pantone
  • How to recolor repeating patterns

This course is designed to give you all the technical and creative skills you need to start designing beautifully colored illustrations and patterns. My hope is that it will leave you feeling motivated and inspired follow your creative dreams!


All you'll need for this course is Adobe Illustrator (begin a free trial here)! This class is taught in Adobe CC, though any version should work! :)


I am so excited to begin this adventure with you. Let's get started!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bonnie Christine

Surface Pattern Designer + Artist


Why, hello!

I'm Bonnie, an artist and surface pattern designer and I'm passionate about sharing what I know. As a self-taught designer, I know how hard it can be to focus on your BIG dreams and conquer the learning curve that comes along with them. I also know how it feels to have your biggest dreams come true. My hope is help you live the extraordinarily creative life of your dreams.

I'm so excited to get to know you! The best place to dive right in is by visiting my website, Bonnie Christine.

Love, Bonnie

PS - let's be insta-friends! I'll meet ya there.

P.S. Join the inner circle! Sign up for updates to be the first to know about everything new, exciting and educational. 

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1. Color in Ai Intro: When it comes to illustration, color can easily be one of the most important elements in a design. Mastering the use of color in Adobe Illustrator will be a key factor in taking your designs to the next level. While the Recolor Artwork tool is the most powerful color tool in Illustrator, it's also one of the most complex. In this course, we'll be focusing on coloring artwork for print, whether that's stationary in wallpaper, or fabric, and ribbon. I'll teach you how to create Color Palettes artwork, lock, and reduce colors in the Recolor Artwork tool, tips on how to recolor you're watercolor paintings, convert your colors, depend tones on the fly and easily recolor repeating patterns. Hi, my name is Bonnie Christine and I am a Surface-pattern designer. You can find me on my website, or random membership for designers called the the Roost Tribe. I hope you enjoy the class. I can't wait to see what colorful creations you make. 2. Create a Custom Color Palette: Hi everyone and welcome to class. I'm so glad that you're here and I get to talk about one of my most favorite parts of designing, which is color. In this class, I plan to thoroughly cover color in Illustrator, and specifically, the Recolor Artwork tool and even if you are seasoned in Adobe Illustrator, I hope to show you a few tips and tricks along the way. I am working in Illustrator CC today, but [inaudible] everything you should be able to do in any version of Illustrator. The first thing that I want to show you how to do is actually create a custom color palette in the Illustrator. The only thing I've done so far is drag and drop the photo onto my art board. This is just a picture of a flower that I've taken. A lot of times, I will pull from pictures of flowers or nature to create my color palettes. I think nature has a way of giving us a balanced color palette from the beginning. Illustrator automatically comes with several colors over in the Swatches panel. But odds are that you're not going to really be using these in many of your designs. It's important to be able to create our own custom color pallets. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you my favorite way to do that. The first thing I'm going to do is, simply draw a square on my art board. I'm going to hit "M" on my keyboard for the keyboard shortcut and start dragging a square. I can hold down the Shift key to keep it in line and I'm just going to give this color a black. I'm going to take the black square and drag it down holding the shift key and the option key to duplicate. Now to duplicate my last action, again, I can hit "Command D," and I can repeat that as many times as I want. That's eight squares and we need six more. I'll grab these and just duplicate them over to the right. Now, I'm going to fill these with the colors from this photograph that I want to make my color palette from. I select the first one, hit "I" on my keyboard for the Eyedrop tool, and again, to just select a few colors that I want to work with. I'm going to select "Command H" on my keyboard to hide the edges of what I have selected so that we can better see the artwork. The easiest thing to do is just click around, until you find the color that you're happy with. Sometimes I have to pull from more than one photograph. But this one is especially because I have a jar and the leaves in here, is really going to give us a lot to play with. When I create a color palette, I like to keep several hues of the same color. Here I have three pinks and three greens. I might even do four or five of the same color, which is going to give us a really nice color palette to work with. The other thing that I like to do is make sure to include enough contrast. You need really light colors and really dark colors usually for an illustration to have enough contrast in it to register well. The other thing I like to do that doesn't necessarily feel intuitive from the beginning is that, I have to include some colors that are really I would consider base colors. That's beige, brown, gray, tan, things that you would use perhaps as a background of a pattern or illustration, grays and things like that just so that we have a really nice working palette that has enough contrast and enough neutral colors to get our illustration where we need it to be. I think I want to add maybe two more just because I never got into the deep pinks in this flower which I think are so pretty. That ended up being 16 colors, but I think it's going to give us a really nice palette to work with. The next thing I want to do is select all the squares on the art board that are colored and I'll come up to my Swatches panel and select new color group. You can name the color group if you like. I'll name this Skillshare and select "Okay." That's going to immediately drop our new color palette into our Swatches panel. Just to keep things clean, I like to go ahead and select all the ones I'm not going to use, and drag and drop them to the trash. That way I'm working with a clean color palette. I'm going to do this using a few more photographs so that I have four, five really nice color palettes to work with, and that's where I'll meet you in the next class. 3. Getting Familiar with Color in Ai: I'm back in my document and you'll see I've added three more color groups that I think work really well. They range from about 14-22 colors, which I think is a great place to start when you're looking to recolor an illustration or a pattern. I've also added an illustration that I've been working on. Before we jump into the Recolor Artwork tool, I just want us to get familiar with the color elements that Illustrator already has for us. You'll probably be working in CMYK. But you can change that from CMYK to RGB or any of these other options by choosing the Fly-out menu to the right of the Color panel. The other thing that you most likely have will be the Color Guide. If you don't have Color Guide, you can get it by coming to Window and making sure that Color Guide has a check by it. Color Guide is Illustrator's way of guiding you through some color options, mainly ones that work with the Color Wheel and Color Theory. So your base color will be the color that you have selected. In my case, it's this light green and it's showing me the shades and the tense. If you come to the Pull-down menu, you'll see different Harmony Rules. You can select the Complimentary colors, Analog colors, Monochromatic colors, or even the Triad colors. This is going to give you a really nice way of choosing colors that work together. You can decide if you want shades intense, or you can select Warm and Cool colors, or you can select Vivid and Muted colors. This is another really nice way of creating a color palette. If you see one you like, you can simply drag and drop it down to the Color Guide that you wish to add it to. I don't tend to use the Color Guide very frequently but you should know that it's here for you and a great tool if you choose to use it. The other thing Illustrator has built in, if you come to the Swatches Fly-out menu are built-in Swatch Libraries. These are Standard and Illustrator and you can choose, say, the one that says Earth Tones,you'll see that there are several options of Earth Tones. To add these to your Swatches Panel, all you have to do is select the folder so that's another place where you can play around with color. You should also know that on the Color Panel, if you're in CMYK, you can easily change the values of the CMYK color just by sliding the sliders around and you can double-click on the Fill to use the Color Picker to change the color this way as well. Hopefully, you're a little more familiar with Illustrators Color Guide at this point and in the next video, we'll jump right in to using the Recolor Artwork tool. 4. 3 The Recolor Artwork Tool: Now that we're a little more familiar with how Illustrator works with color, we'll work with the recolor artwork tool. The first thing you need to do is select the artwork on your art board. Then you'll see in the upper toolbar icon that looks like the color wheel and it's called the recolor artwork tool. That brings up this dialogue box, which gives us so many options to work with our artwork. Let's first get familiar with the dialogue box. These are the colors that are currently in our illustration. One of the fastest ways to jump right into using the recolor artwork tool is to randomly change the color order. You can select this to randomly color and recolor your artwork with a color palette that's in the column. You should know that there is no Undo button. If you like one, be sure to not move so fast that you pass it by. Obviously a lot of these don't give us the effect that we want, but it is a nice way to roll through colors to see what your liking in certain places. To get us back to where we started, I'll just select the eye dropper tool up here, which resets my color to where we were at the beginning. The next thing you can do is double-click on a "Color" in the column to bring up the color picker. This will allow you to select a new color. Select "Okay", and it will automatically update on your art board. If you don't like that change, you can simply drag and drop the original color on top of the new color. You also have access to the CMYK sliders down in the bottom of the dialog box. You can slide these and it will change the artwork on the fly as well. Another nice way to use the recolor artwork tool is to find colors. You can click on the magnifying glass and then come and select the colors that you want highlighted in your document. This can be a great way to choose what you want to change regarding the colors. We're currently on the Assign tab in the recolor artwork tool, you should also familiarize yourself with the edit tool. This gives us sliders for every single color in our document and allows us to either link them as harmony colors or unlink them. Now that they're linked, I can drag these around and it will keep all of them in the same location, but change the way my artwork looks. Now if I want to get back to something around where we started with, I'll start over by hitting the eye dropper tool. You can also unlink them in order to move one separate from the other. This is a great way to play with the hue and saturation of single colors and it's definitely the fastest way to do so. If I want to make the background a little darker, I can slide the green slider. From here you can also adjust the brightness or the contrast in a document. Of course you still have access to the CMYK sliders and the brightness of the colors here. I'll hop back over to the Assign. Because we've already made custom color groups, they show up over here on the right-hand side of the recolor artwork tool. This will also allow us to quickly scroll through options with other color groups. If I select the first one that we made at the beginning of class, I can randomly change the color groups just to see if any of them are working for this illustration, It's an easy way to run through color groups to see what's working and what's not. You can also manually shift these round by selecting one and dragging it up or down into the desired place. So even if you land on the color group that's working but not all lying in the right areas, you can manually adjust them by dragging and dropping them. Now you don't have access to all of them because there's more in our color group than there is in the original artwork. Come down and select "New row" to add each new color on the row. I'm just going to see if I can manually by dragging and dropping, rework this illustration to work with this color palette. By making some quick adjustments, I think I've recolored this artwork to where it still works with our new color palette. If by chance you're working with a color group, you are restrained to the colors that we originally put in the group. Say you're working with one and you really want a color that's resides in another color group. Say for instance, this green for the leaves is not really working, so I'm going to double-click on that and rather than use the color picker, I'm going to select color swatches, which gives me access to all of the swatches in the swatches panel. I can scroll through to where I find a new green and select "Okay", that will add this to this color group and allow us to use it in this illustration. In the next video, I'll show you how to reduce the number of colors in your illustration using the recolor artwork tool. 5. Reduce the # of Colors in an Illustration: I'm back on my art board with new illustration and I want to show you one of the easiest ways to reduce the number of colors you're working with in an illustration or a pattern. Of course, there are several different ways that you can do this, but it can be really helpful depending on what industry you're working with if you need to reduce the number of colors for an application. So to do that, I'll select everything on my art board and select the recolor artwork tool. With the colors on the right that are used in the document, the easiest way to reduce the number of colors is simply to drag and drop on top of them. Say I'd like to make this dark gray wing accent match the dark green leaves. I can select dark green and drag and drop it on top of the dark gray, that will instantly match those two colors. I could do the same thing with the pinks, either make the light pink match the dark pink. Or if I want to see the opposite effect, I can re-drag the light pink over the dark pink here and above it. That changes all of the light pink to dark. Now the easiest way to see your new color palette is select "Okay", and then come back in with the recolor artwork tool and you'll see that we now have only four colors in this document. This one is going to be a little easier to scroll through to see new color options that work and don't work. As you see, there are tons of options to work with with these colors. That's my favorite way to reduce the amount of colors in the document. In the next section, we'll talk about using Global colors and making Global adjustments. I'll meet you there. 6. Global Colors: Next, I want to introduce you to global colors and the global adjust feature in the Recolor Artwork tool. If I select the artwork on the artboard, and I'd like to add a new color palette with the colors used in this illustration, I'll select the New Color Group, pone option we have here that we didn't use before is to select Convert Process to Global. If I select that and hit Okay, you can see that these are global colors because they have this little triangle in the bottom right-hand corner. That means, even though I have nothing selected on my board, if I double-click on one of these colors to bring up the Swatches options, select Preview, then I can play with CMYK sliders and see the changes that I make to this one color on the fly, it'll change everything that's colored that gray on my entire document. If I'm happy with it, I can select Okay, if I'm not, I can select Cancel. Another option is with everything selected, go back to the Recolor Artwork tool, and where the CMYK sliders are down here, you can select the Flyout menu and go to Global Adjust. This is going to adjust everything in my artwork, so the saturation I can take up or down, and the brightness up or down. Usually, if you get too far away from the middle, you get some kind of wild effects, but it's a really nice way to make subtle changes to your artwork overall. If you like it, you can select, Okay, and then you'll need to re-add a new color group to the Swatches panel so that you can see the new colors that you changed it to. If I go back to the Recolor Artwork tool, you should know that you can also find that under Edit, where the CMYK sliders are. If you come out to the Flyout menu and select Global Adjust, then you can play with them here as well, and since these lines or dashed, you know that they're unlinked, which means that you can move one around at a time, which is a really nice way of playing with just one color at a time. In the next segment, we'll talk about locking colors in the Recolor Artwork tool and changing colors like white and black. I'll see you next. 7. How to Lock Colors: So I'm back in my document with a new illustration to demonstrate a few more points with the recolor artwork tool. I go ahead and select everything and jump back into the tool, you'll first see that because I have a pure white in my illustration, Illustrator assumes that I don't want to change that. So if I start scrolling through new color "Options" you'll see that the white remains the same. It also assumes this for black. Sometimes that's nice but sometimes it's not. So if you would like to change your white or your black, all you need to do is select in the gray space next to it. Illustrator asks you if you want to add a new color to the current harmony and if you select "Yes" it'll allow you to change the white or the black. Another area to change this is in-between the preset and the colors. If you select the "Color Reduction Options" under preserve, you can select whether you want it to preserve white or black or grays. So I do not want them to preserve those and I'll select "Okay". That way I can scroll through several options and if I go back to the original artwork. The other thing that is really useful sometimes is if you want to block a color and not change it. This is particularly helpful if you're certain that you want the background to be color but you want to play around with new ideas for the illustration on top, all you have to do is select the arrow in-between the two colors that will lock it. So you can go to a new Color Group. This one jumps down to the bottom and will basically be locked in place so you can play with color options for everything on top of it. You can do that for as many as you like. So if I want to for sure lock the light pink background, and this deep purple then I can start scrolling through options for the leaves and the flowers and the stamens only. So this is a really nice way to lock colors on the fly without having to go back to your artboard and either deselect them or actually lock them. In the next section, I'm going to show you my tips on how to recolor paintings and in particular watercolor paintings using the recolor artwork tool. I'll meet you there. 8. Recolor Watercolor Illustrations: Next, I want to talk about recoloring watercolor artwork. This is something that's really fun to do, but it can be really tedious, and so I've got some tips and tricks for you. I will say that if you're interested in learning more about using watercolor in your illustrations and scanning many and getting them vectorized, please take my other skillship class called Watercolor For Surface Pattern Design, and you learn tons of tips and tricks, but I do want to touch on recoloring them here as well. This is a flower that I painted using watercolors, scanned in, and vectorize. I have grouped them in order of colors. I've got a green palette for the leaves grouped, the pink is for the flower grouped, and the orange for the stem in grouped. Just to demonstrate my point, if I select all of this and try to go in to start recoloring it, you can see that it's really hard to get an effect that looks anything like a watercolor, so you really can't do a randomizer. You have to be intentional about it, but I will show you my favorite way to recolor. The first thing I need to do is make three new color groups for the stamen, the flowers, and the leaves. To do that, I will make a couple of squares, I'm going to start with black, like usual. I want to space them out just like this. You'll see why in just a second, but I'm going to make three groups like that. The first one is, I want to pick the lightest and the darkest of the range that I want to use for the watercolors for each of these groups. First, say I'll recolor the leaves to be in the blue category. I'm going to start with a light gray blue and end with a dark blue. For the petals, I think I'll stay with pinks, but just to uneven arrangement, so I'll do a light girly pink and darker one. Then for the stamen, I will go with a deep green. Let's start with this green and end with a really dark one. I already know that I have about five colors in each of these groups. What I want to create over here is a five or six color palette from each of these. My favorite way to do that is select these two and use the blend option. I'll come up to object, blend, and before you can make, you need to come down to blend options. You can either select smooth color. I'll show you. You can either select smooth color which is going to make a smooth color of all of these or specified steps, which is what I recommend. Its default is eight. I know that we all need five, so I select Okay. If I come back up to object, blend, and go to make, it will step these colors out perfectly for me with five in between. I'm going to do that for each of my groups. It will have remembered my settings, so all I have to do is select the two and come up to make. The next thing I must do is with this selected, I have to expand them in order to get them in my swatches panel. I'll come to object and expand which turns these, select Okay, turns these from an effect into a actual path. The next thing I'm going to do is select each of the three groups and make three different color palettes for them to really make easy to recolor. I've got blue, pink, and green. With the flower selected, I'll get recolor artwork tool. I can go ahead and select the pinks that I want to use. Right off the bat, this is not setting out the way a watercolor should, and I could manually drag and drop them. But an easier way to do it is to come up to the reduction options, and the sort is by default set on hue forward. I'm going to set this to light to dark, select Okay. Then I want to do the same thing to the new color palettes. On the fly out menu, I'll select light to dark. Instantly, that has rearranged my watercolor to where it really makes sense. I'll select Okay, and then go do the same thing for the green leaves. With those selected, I'll go back to the recolor artwork tool and I can go ahead and select the blue that I want to use. I'll come to reduction options, select light to dark, and then select white dark again, and that has, again, made those to where they really work very well. I'm going to select okay. Then I'll come down and grab the stamens and do the same thing. This time, I think it only have four, but that's okay, we can use the green. We'll do light to dark, and then light to dark again. Like I said, we could have done this manually, but that is a much faster way to make your watercolors work for you instantly with the recolor artwork tool. In the next segment, I'm going to show you how to quickly and easily change all of your document hand tones using the free color artwork tool. I'll meet you there in just a minute. 9. Coverting Colors to Pantones: In this segment I want to discuss briefly the use of Pantone colors. Illustrators and designers of all kinds, whether it's for fabric or stationary and wallpaper, use Pantones as an industry standard to communicate about color. There are tons of options if you go to If you need to purchase a Pantone book, I would suggest purchasing the one that's closest to your industry, so graphic designers, or fashion designers, and fabric designers. Probably the easiest way to get into using a Pantone is to purchase something like the color book or the color guide. Color guides are fan guides of all of the colors that are included in the book, and they'll have Pantone numbers next to them. This way, if you're talking about Pantone color 16-4321, you can talk through the mail or someone else in the industry in another state or even in another country, and communicate the color precisely. I'll hop back over to my Illustrator document, and I've reverted back to my original watercolor. By default you'll be probably designing in CMYK, but before you send it to print, usually you have to convert it to Pantones. Traditionally, this can be pretty painstaking if you have your FanBook and you're trying to go back and forth between matching your colors on your screen, to the colors in the FanBook. But the Recolor Artwork tool makes it easy and applies your Pantones within just a second. If you select your artwork, come up to the Recolor Artwork tool, and right here underneath your panel, you'll have this option where it says, "Limits the color group to a swatches library." You can choose any of these default libraries that come with Illustrator or you can choose your Pantone book. If you select "Pantone" and hit "Okay", then this will have automatically changed your entire document over to Pantones. If I select one thing, now you can see that it's automatically chosen the closest match, to the closest Pantone color. This one is now Pantone 13-1406. I still recommend going between these in your actual book or a fan guide to make sure that the colors are where you want them to be, but this in a nutshell will make the step much easier than normal. I can also select all of this, and make a new color group forum. You can see now all of the Pantone colors that I used in this document are now converted. In the next segment, we will touch on recoloring your repeating patterns. 10. Choosing a Color Palette: Before we move on, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about color palettes in general, and what usually makes them work, and sometimes what makes them not work. Usually, when I come to make a new pattern or pattern collection, I will choose a color palette to just start playing with, and by the end of the collection it's always different. But at the beginning I try to pick something that will work. I usually start with somewhere between 12 and 18 colors, and that is usually enough to give me a really nice balanced pattern collection. Of course, it depends on your industry and you may need to use more or less. But I think 12-18 is a good starting point. There are three things that I look for when I start making a color palette. I always include neutrals. Things like an off-white and a light brown. These could also be grays and sometimes even pinks and light teals and things like that. The other thing is enough contrast, so you want light colors and dark colors, and this is going to ensure that your final collection has enough contrast in it overall. The other thing I tend to do is use several hues of the same color. So I have several pinks here, several neutral colors, and several greens. I'll show you the pattern collection I used with this palette. It's called winged. The entire collection is made from this palette of 13 colors, and I think it works really well. There's a nice contrast between the darks and the lights, and pops of color as well. This next color palette is much more earthy, it has several shades of pink and orange, and green and grays. I've included several neutral colors. I would count these two as neutral, as well as the gray, and maybe even a pink, and tons of contrast. This color palette went to color my collection called Forest Floor. The collection has 12 colors altogether, and there are several dark ones, and some light ones, as well as some medium tone ones with some pops of color in them as well. This next color palette really only consists of three different colors. I have pinks, greens, and purples, and a couple of base colors. I used this palette to color my collection called Hello Ollie [ph], and I think it just works really well with the dark ones. Really makes your eye dance around the page too, from the darks to the lights, and the medium hues, and I think it presents a really balanced pattern collection. This last color palette that I wanted to show you is a little more simplified and I think a little more masculine. It's grays and browns. Of course, I've included one or two pinks and some greens. This is what I use to color this collection called Hello Bear [ph]. The entire collection is really consisting of simpler prints, so most all of them only have two or three colors in them. But I think that they will all work really well, primarily because there's enough contrast. If you're familiar with the color wheel and color theory and you want to apply that to your color palettes, then that's wonderful. I feel like you have a leg up on the game. But, for me personally, it has more to do with an intuition and a gut feeling about a color palette on whether or not I feel like it works or it doesn't work. If you don't have a history of color theory, then please don't feel overwhelmed, just start applying color. Run through some options with the recolor artwork tool, and you'll be able to tell what's working and what's not working. Another thing I would advise is to start paying attention to why it is you like the patterns that you like. When you see something in the real-world or online and you're drawn to it, pause for a moment and try to figure out what it is about it that you like. What colors in it compliment each other? What colors are working? Maybe what colors are not working? When you start looking at patterns with this new sense of color eye, then you'll start picking colors for your own patterns that you might not normally pick. I hope this has helped you feel a little more comfortable with colors and encouraged you to just pick some and start applying them to your patterns. 11. Recoloring Patterns: In this segment, I just want to demonstrate the power of the recolor artwork tool by using it on some repeating patterns. If you are new to repeating patterns and want to learn more, be sure to take my first class on Skillshare called Intro to Surface Pattern Design. These patterns are a great example of what I teach you how to learn in those classes. This first one is just a geometric pattern and it's going to be relatively easy to recolor. There are only four colors, and I can pretty simply choose a color palette and roll through some new options. You can see especially with geometrics how different hues and contrast will play and make certain things jump out like the dark brown jumps out here, and if you keep changing it, the darker ones jump out here. So it's a really fun way to scroll through options that may work. If you land on something you like then you can select Okay and keep it just like it is. Now I select this floral pattern I think this one is going to be pretty easy to recolor as well, depending on the color palette, just because of how simple the illustration is. There are only five colors in it which means it's going to be fun with tons of options on recoloring. Something more complex like the butterfly print here is where I think locking colors is really helpful. So say I've decided that I want the background to stay this off-white color, this whole pattern works because that color is duplicated in several areas on each of the butterflies. Just by selecting off of that arrow I can lock that color and start testing out new color options while at the same time keeping the off-white color the same, and so this is really, really helpful. If I hadn't have done that then it would be a lot more difficult to run across a color option that worked. I hope you've learned a bunch about color in this class that is how to apply the power of the recolor artwork tool to both your illustrations, and your repeating patterns, as well as your watercolor paintings. We'll wrap up in the next and final segment. 12. Common Mistakes in Coloring: In this tutorial, I want to take a second to cover a couple of mistakes that I see really frequently and how I like to go about correcting them in my own work. To begin, the one thing that I see a lot is lack of enough contrast. You might be able to see here that there is a flower detail in the background of this pattern, but you can barely see it because there's not enough contrast there. If I select both of these and drag the lighter green color on top of the color that doesn't have enough contrast, you can see instantly how it begins to pop out and you can see it really well now. Just to give you another example, this purple color against this brown, just is not working. The easiest test for me is to just look the lines of the two colors, and it almost hurts my eyes to look at those two hues next to each other, because it's really hard to differentiate between the purple and the dark brown, because they're almost in the same hue. If I select both of these colors and change the background to pink, you can see now that there's enough contrast in between all of the colors and so all of the shapes really stand out very nicely. If I open my Pantone swatches panel, I'll show you a couple of tricks that I like to use in order to combat this error. The first thing is, if I pull out in the file menu, I always make sure that my thumbnails are medium or large. Also that I sort them by name. This is going to sort them from the lowest number to the highest number. If you hover over a Pantone color, you can see that these start with 11, and as I scroll down, they go from 11 to 12 to 13 all the way down to the darkest colors, which are 19s. See this is 19, 4, 5, 2, 4. A good rule of thumb when you're coloring a pattern is to make sure that any two colors that touch each other are at least two Pantone colors apart from each other. For instance, a color that begins with 13 touching a color that begins with 11 or 15 would work just fine. But if a color that starts with 13 is touching one that starts with either 12 or 14, it's likely that the contrast is not going to be enough. Even if it's enough on your screen, when it goes to print, either on paper or fabric or wallpaper, it's not going to register with enough contrast. So if you use Pantones, go back to your patterns and make sure that every two colors that touch are at least two Pantone colors apart from each other. The last thing that I want to discuss is that commonly I see patterns come through that have no background color at all. In my opinion, this is something that is really common when you first start making patterns. Something about our whiteboard is really nice and it makes all of our colors and our illustration stick out. But in the real world, almost nothing is on a pure white background. It also means that showing off your patterns is a little awkward online because you can't really see where the pattern stops and starts because the white is the same as a web white. My advice is to always add even just a little bit of color to the background, whether it be an off-white or a pastel color. If I select both of these and drag the offline over onto the stark white, you can see how it really just brings my pattern to life. At the very beginning when you start doing this, if you're used to seeing a white background, you might feel like that it muddies up your designs, but the more you create patterns and the more you apply them to products, I think the more you'll find that you like adding a little bit of a background color. Those are my tips and tricks for common errors and mistakes that I see. I hope that helped you. 13. Student Projects + Next Steps: Congratulations on completing class. I hope you're feeling more confident using color in Illustrator and also inspired to start re-coloring your own artwork. I can't wait to see what you guys create in your student projects. Be sure to check out the class material for information on how to post your own projects so that we can all provide feedback and see your work. If you're new to Illustrator or feeling a little lost after taking this class, I recommend checking out to other classes I have available on Skillshare. I teach Illustrator from the ground up, and would love to see you in those classes as well. Finally, if you'll hop over to my blog,, I would love to have you sign up for my newsletter, and join us in my membership for designers called The Roost Tribe. The Roost Tribe is a really great resource for artists of all kinds. We do monthly design challenges, give each other feedback and support along the way. I'll be checking in on your projects and can't wait to see what you make. Until next time, bye.