I'm trying to apply a random colors from a palette of colors to the resulting fill-able regions. I'll first explain where I am and then what I'm trying. I previously asked about how to split a complicated line drawing into different fill-able groups here. Which is working beautifully. I'm still super new (day 2!) to Illustrator, but having fun so far.

First, my files: my image as zipped svg or as pdf version to follow along. Micro-side-question, is it better/easier to use the .svg or .pdf or does it matter when subsequently opening in Illustrator?


Here's my steps so far:

  1. Open the .svg image
  2. Select the path of the line
  3. Click Properties
    • turn off stroke, turn on fill to some color
  4. Hit the Divide button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder)

At this stage it looks like:

enter image description here

My ultimate goal is to randomly color all of the fill-able regions from a specific color palette, but I'm stuck.

Here's the steps of what I've tried so far:

  • Go to swatches
  • Swatch Library> and pick something like Pop Art for example
  • Click on the folder under the Pop Art tab and see that those swatches are added to the Swatches panel.
  • I select all colors from that panel (by holding down shift)
  • Select "Create new color group" folder from that, name it something like test1
  • Select all in the artwork.
  • Edit>Edit Colors>Recolor Artwork> Choose test1
  • Click Randomly Change Color order

What I hoped to see: each fill-able region is randomly one of the colors from that palette. What I actually see: the whole thing turn to a single color.

Someone please help!

Hopefully I'm doing something obvious wrong, but I'm kind of out of ideas. I've also tried playing with whether everything was grouped or not, this didn't seem to help. I have also confirmed that the regions are separately fill-able as I have done that with the Live Paint Bucket.


2 Answers 2


Because Recolor Artwork merely "recolors" as the name suggest - i.e. replaces one color with another color - it is operating as expected. If you have only 1 color artwork selected, it will alter that 1 color, not apply more colors.

I'm afraid you need different colored objects/regions before you can recolor them to something different. You can use Recolor Artwork to reduce the amount of overall colors in a selection easily. However, it's not really feasible to use the feature to apply a different color to specific areas of a selection. It's just not how it was designed to work.

However... there's a script....

See here for a free script to randomly fill objects with selected swatches.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Images and script from VectorBoom.com


I agree with Scott - you need to start with a variety of fill colors in order to then use the "recolor" option.

You may also want to check your file– it looks like you may have one or two phantom boxes around your artwork that may cause you frustration. Use the direct selection tool (white arrow) or group selection tool (white arrow with +) to select what I suspect are empty boxes, and delete them. If you want a background color behind your design you can use a box like that, just make sure it's on a different layer or "send to back" of the existing layer so it doesn't obscure your artwork.

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