enter image description hereI am a quilter & new user of AI. I want to see what the same design will look like in different color schemes. My image is a line drawing with closed shapes. So far I have used Live Paint & have almost completed one coloration. Should I use layers, different art boards, or what? I am looking for an overview answer or direction to explore rather than specifics. Thanks!

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    Could you add some images, please? – CJ Robinson Sep 25 '14 at 0:23

There are several ways to play with color. Use would depend on desired end results.

  1. You could use Live Paint to color one iteration, then copy the artboard and art and continue to use Live Paint to color a second iteration... and so on.
  2. You could ensure you use Global Swatches when coloring (with live Paint or any other method). Then simply double-clicking the global swatch in the Swatch Panel and altering that color will alter every place that swatch is used. Note that this will change all instances of that color. So it may not be the best method if you want several variations. But it is helpful if you are merely exploring color for one variation. You could always save multiple files with global swatches to create several different files containing different colored artwork.
  3. You could color one versions then use Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork to explore color with the color wheel or to replace specific color instances. This method is very helpful for just general color exploration. It would also work with multiple files as I described in #2 above. In addition, the Recolor Artwork operates on a selection of objects. So you could copy artboards/artwork and use Recolor Artwork to create variations all within the same .ai file. You wouldn't be required to use multiple files, unlike #2 above.
  4. Lastly, you could use Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Color balance to tweak colors in various global ways. Honestly, this is probably the least useful method due to the nature of how the feature works. The other methods would allow much more accuracy. Still it's worth mentioning this method is available and may be useful for your needs.

All of these methods do not require you to specifically alter the construction of your base art (beyond using global swatches for #2).


I would recommend first creating duplicate art boards of the same size for each different color variation. this is easily done by selecting the art board button then holding down option as you drag a copy of the art board.

then i would recommend expanding all of your paths and expanding any strokes into fills. this is done by selecting the strokes only and clicking expand under the object menu with the 'stroke' box selected. this will allow your artwork to all be fills and the color to be easily changeable in whichever way you choose.

  • There's no call for expanding. Changing the color of a stroke is just as easy as changing the color of a fill. – Scott Sep 25 '14 at 16:57

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