i want to make replicas of a complex illustration to play with color schemes but when I duplicate the artboard all the layers get jacked up. Is there a better way of doing this?
Instead of duplicating the artboard, you could create a new layer, then copy and paste the artwork onto a new artboard, thus keeping the duplicated objects on a layer of their own. Doing it that way will ensure the original artboard's layer structure is not touched.
See this example:
Copy the layer(s) first.
Lock the original layer(s).
Then create a new artboard and move it.
The unlocked layer(s) will move (if that option is used) while the locked layer(s) will remain on the original artboard.