How to change colors in Illustrator the quick and easy way

How to change colors in Illustrator the quick and easy way!

How to change colors in illustrator

Color plays such an important part in design and can change an illustration from drab to fabulous. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a completely different feeling.

I often play around with many color schemes before choosing the right one for my illustrations. That said, color is such a personal thing. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in someone else.

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to change the color scheme of an illustration quickly and easily. This way, you can cycle through different color schemes easily and pick the one you like best.

Here is one of my digital papers from my Mint and Coral set in Illustrator which I will be using for this tutorial.




Step 1:

I want to check how many colors I have used in this pattern so I can pick another color scheme with the exact same amount of colors. Make sure your Swatches window is present. If you can’t see it, go to Window on your top horizontal menu and select Swatches. Select your whole pattern and click on the little folder called New Color Group at the bottom of your Swatches panel. A New Color Group pop up window will appear. Click Ok and all the colors from your selected artwork will now appear in the Swatches window.




As you can see here, I have used 6 colors in my pattern.




Step 2:

Now I am going to create a new color group with 6 different colors. I am going to use one of my I Luv Color Palettes which I creatively called #2! For your convenience, I have added the RGB values to the image.


Color Palette Two

Go to your Swatches window. If you can’t see it, you can bring it up by going to Window in your main horizontal menu.

Click on the little folder icon and this time, because you haven’t selected any artwork, it will be an empty color group. Click ok to add this empty folder to your Swatches window.

Go to your Color window and make sure it is set to the color mode you are working in. In my case, I am working in RGB. To change your color mode, go to the little drop down menu on the top right hand side of your Color window and select RGB.




Now, type in the value of your color. In my case, I am going to use the values of the dark pink color in the above color scheme. Then I am going to drag the color box from my Color window to the empty swatch folder in my Swatches window.




Continue this step until all the colors are present in your second folder.

Step 3:

Now for the fun part. Select your artwork. Go to your Color Guide window. If you can’t see it, open if from Window on your top horizontal menu. Select the drop down menu on the top right hand side of your Color Guide window and select Edit Colors. A big pop up window will appear that looks like this:




Select your new color group, in my case color group 2 and select ok. Voila. Your artwork has been changed to this color palette.




You can be really tricky and play with sorting the hue backwards and forwards by selecting the funny little box illustrated below in your Edit Colors pop up menu and play around with the Sort drop down box.




Instead of trying just one color scheme, load a few more Color Groups into your Swatches window and swap between them. This may seem a lengthy tutorial but I promise with practice it will become second nature.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Until next time. X





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Illustrator Artboard Tutorial

Illustrator Artboard Tutorial

I have recently had a customer ask me how to enlarge the blank space around a clip art image so I have written this little step by step tutorial to help her out. I decided to put this on my blog as it may be of help to others.

The space around an image is referred to as the ‘Artboard’ in Illustrator. When opening a new document in Illustrator, a pop up box will appear with the options of defining your artboard size, the unit you would like to work in (i.e. pixels, inches) and your orientation (portrait or landscape).




When exporting your work as a png or jpeg file, the artboard will define the size of your image and also the ‘space’ around your image. I will go into this further later.

Step 1:

Let’s start with a new document. Use the settings above to create a new document at 12 inches in height and 12 inches in width. Make sure you change the units to inches.

Step 2:

Go to ‘File’ in the top horizontal menu and select ‘Place’. The white area of your document is your ‘artboard’. Click anywhere within the white artboard to place your image.




That funny blue box and cross through your image is illustrators way of letting you know that the image is not embedded. In short, Illustrator will read image files from a saved location on your computer instead of embedding it into the document. This keeps file sizes down to a minimum. The only problem is, if you change the location or file name of that image, Illustrator will no longer be able to find it and you will end up with an empty box with no image. Sometimes, to make things easier, I simply embed the file into illustrator so it no longer needs to read the image from an external source. This will increase the file size but makes it easier for me as I am always moving files around on my computer and un-embedded files can become a real pain.

To embed the file, with the image selected, select embed from the Controls Panel, which should appear under your main horizontal menu.




Once embedded, the blue cross will disappear from over the image.

Step 3:

Align the image so it sits in the centre of the artboard. To do this, select the image and an align toolbar will appear in your control panel. First check that the little drop down box on the left hand side of the align tools is selected to ‘Align to Artboard’. Click on the centre horizontal and centre vertical icons to centre the image.






Step 4:

Now to change the size of the artboard. Select the ‘Artboard Tool’ on your ‘Tools’ bar. If you can’t see your tools bar, go to ‘Window’ on your top horizontal menu and make sure ‘Tools’ is ticked.




Your artboard will now appear with a dashed line around it. Simply use those little boxes that appear on the edges of the artboard to resize.

If you want to be really precise and add an exact 1 inch space around your image – draw 4 boxes at 1 inch by 1 inch and align the inner edges of your boxes to the edges of your image. Select the ‘Artboard  Tool’ on your Tool menu and align the artboard to the edges of your boxes. Once this is done, delete the boxes.




How the Artboard plays a part when exporting PNG or JPEG files:

When exporting your image as a JPEG or PNG file, make sure you check the ‘Use Artboards’ on the pop up menu that appears. With this selected, illustrator will read the artboard as part of your exported image.




Let me give you an example of how this works. If I sit my image half on and half off the artboard like this:




It will save as a JPEG like this (please note, I have added a yellow border around the JPEG so you can see the artboard boundaries).




So as you can see, it is very important that you define your artboard when exporting images for use as PNG and JPEG files.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or found this tutorial handy.

If you like the little mouse I used in this tutorial, you can find him and his family in my little Mouse Family Clip Art Set listing on my store.

Until next time X



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Illustrator Tutorial – Little Bo Peep

illustrator tutorial

An Adobe illustrator tutorial using the Pen and Live Paint Bucket Tools

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 8 Blog

I have lots of different ways I create my digital illustrations. Sometimes I use the pencil tool to create imperfect lines and circles, or I use the pen and shape tool for more precise lines and shapes. But one of my favourite ways to illustrate is using the using paint bucket tool and filling in the outlines I have carefully drawn with the pen tool.

Most of my illustrations are created digitally without outlines (as this is more suited to my style of design) but occasionally I finish a drawing, scan it into the computer and stare at it for a while in Illustrator before I decide it would look much better with outlines.

I thought I would share this process with you while I digitally illustrate a Little Bo Peep drawing. This illustrator tutorial is best suited for people who have a basic understanding of illustrator and it’s tools.

Step 1:

Begin this illustrator tutorial with a doodle. Yep, that’s right. Get the pencil and paper out and doodle your heart out. I always begin my designs with a concept doodle or drawing with pencil and paper. I always feel that I have a lot more freedom and artistic expression when I begin my drawings with pencil and paper.

When I am happy with my drawing, I scan the image into illustrator – or if you don’t have a scanner handy, take a photo of the image and upload it to your computer and into illustrator. Here is Little Bo Peep scanned and imported into Illustrator.

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 1 Blog

Step 2:

Create a new layer and lock the previous layer with the scanned image. This way, you can create and edit lines without changing or moving the scanned image underneath. If you like, change the scanned image layer to 50% transparency for better visibility of you pen lines.

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 2 Blog

Step 3.

I begin by zooming in to Little Bo Beep’s head and start drawing my outlines here. Use the pen tool to begin drawing all your lines. This is going to take me a while but I make sure each line or curve is perfect before moving on to the next.

If you draw a line and it’s not quite perfect, use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift C on a Mac) to adjust the nodes of your line until it’s just right.

To avoid adding anchor points or adjusting previous lines when drawing a new line, lock all your layers and create a new layer to draw your new line on. When you have 10 or so layers, select them all in the layers tool bar (except the scanned image layer), go to the top right drop down menu of the layers tool bar and select ‘merge selected’. Make sure you do this often, or you’ll end up with 100’s of layers!

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 3 Blog

You want to make sure that when it comes time to use the paint bucket tool, your areas of colour need to be separated and defined. To do this, you want to make sure all your lines intersect each other and there are no gaps between fill areas.

For example, zoom into your image and if you see this:

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 4 Blog

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A on a mac) and move the node at the end of the curve to intersect the other line like this. I always work with Smart Guides on. This acts as a guide to let you know when you have intersected other lines. Go to the View drop down menu on your main menu to turn Smart Guides on.



Step 4.

I have finally drawn all my lines and made a few adjustments and am happy with the way it all looks. Merge all your line layers and hide your locked scanned image layer. Select all your lines and group them together (command G on a Mac).

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 6 Blog

Step 5.

I like to have an idea of the color scheme that I am going to use before I start coloring. I add some little boxes above my image with some colors I will be using to fill my image in with.

Little Bo Peep Tutorial 7 Blog

Step 6.

And now for the fun part. Select your eyedropper tool (i on a mac) and select a color from your color palette that you would like to begin with. Now swap back to your Selection Tool (V on a mac) and select your grouped lines. Select the Paint Bucket tool (k on a mac) and simply click in the area between the lines that you want to fill with your chosen color. Voila!
Little Bo Peep Tutorial 8 Blog

Step 7.

Go between your eyedropper tool to select the next color you want to use and your paint bucket tool to use that color and repeat until your image has been completely coloured in. If you don’t like a color you have used, you can simply pick another color and use the paint bucket tool to re color over it.
illustrator tutorial
If you are daring enough, duplicate and copy your image and try another color scheme on your duplicated image and discover how color can change the mood and feel of your illustration.
illustrator tutorial
I hope you have enjoyed this illustrator tutorial and have learnt a few tips and tricks along the way.
illustrator tutorial
And here is my finished Little Bo Peep illustration. I hope you like her.
illustrator tutorial
Little Bo Peep can be purchased as a high resolution png file here on my website.
Little Bo Peep Tutorial 8 Blog







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How to draw a cute Christmas Reindeer

Hello and welcome to my first drawing video tutorial! I wanted to create a chirstmas character and since Christmas is only around the corner, I thought you could give this tutorial a go and use this cute little Reindeer for your christmas cards, tags or decorating projects!

 So here is the finished image. Isn’t he cute?
How to draw and Reindeer
I will be working in Illustrator but you can use the graphics program of your choice. This is not a ‘how to use illustrator’ tutorial so I won’t be going into detail about where to find tools or instructions on how to use these tools. I am assuming that you will be using the graphics program of your choice and will already know the program well. That’s not to say that you need a graphics program to complete this tutorial! Pencil and paper will work just as well.


The following steps are to accompany the video and will explain each stage of the drawing process as the video progresses.


I was going to talk whilst drawing but I hate my voice and prefer that I don’t subject you all to my bad english and strong kiwi accent! Then I was going to create a fancy schmancy video incorporating the steps in writing at the bottom of the video as it played but it all got too hard! Fancy Schmancy will have to wait until I learn iMovie a little better. For now, you will just have to read the steps and follow the video as we go along.


Step 1:

First I start with the Pencil tool and draw a rough circle for the head. I love using the pencil tool as this allows me to give my illustrations a rough hand drawn feel. A perfect circle for a head is just, well, too perfect!

Step 2:

I play around with the line by adding, removing and reshaping nodes until I am happy with my circle


Step 3:

I then duplicate the circle to create some eyes. I use the pen tool to draw a nose and the  mouth. The trick here is not to be too fussy about getting the perfect shapes. The more you play, the less the line looks hand drawn and natural. My style is very simple with a hand drawn feel so I don’t like to meddle too much. These rough lines are what makes your illustration unique.


Step 4:

I use the pencil tool to draw a rough shape for the base of the hat. I zoom in to remove and reshape nodes until I am happy with the shape. Use the pencil tool to create the top of the hat by drawing a u shape. Duplicate the face circle, resize it so the circle is smaller and use this as the pom pom on the hat.


Step 5:

I use my pencil tool to draw the Reindeer’s body and I also draw the scarf. Again, this is all pretty rough but I like that rough look. Play around with the placement of each piece of the scarf until you are happy with where it sits. You can always go back and adjust this later.


Step 6:

I wasn’t very happy with the shape of the body so I play around with this for a bit until I decide to scrap the whole thing and start again! This time I decide to use the pen tool for more control over the lines. It takes me a few goes but I finally get there!


Step 7:

Use the pencil tool to draw a tail and the pen tool to draw a leg. I use the pen tool for the leg as I need straighter lines that are harder to achieve with the pencil tool. I use the line tool to cut the leg in two so I can colour the bottom part of the leg a darker colour to make the hoof.


Step 8:

I’m not very happy with the proportion of the body to the head so I decide to play around with this a bit.


Tip: If you are going to make any big changes to your drawing, always duplicate the original and make changes to the copy. This way, you can sit back and compare the two and clearly see which one you prefer and delete the one that you don’t.


Step 9:

Now start work on the antlers by using the pencil tool to draw a line. Adjust the stroke of the line until you are happy with the width of the antler. Once you have finished the antler – group, duplicate and flip so you have two antlers!


Step 10:

I removed the hat because I felt that it didn’t fit in with the antlers well. Space the antlers until you are happy with where they fit. I decide to try the hat again but make it smaller to fit in-between the antlers. Much better!


Step 11:

I draw an arm, duplicate and mirror it but decide I don’t like the arms so I delete them. Reindeers don’t need arms, do they? You can add arms to your reindeer if you like.


Step 12:

Ralph is looking pretty good now, don’t you think? And yes, that’s the name I came up with whilst drawing. Anyway, this is the fun part – adding extra elements to Ralph to spruce him up a bit. I don’t like to go overboard with the sprucing as my style of illustration is relatively simple but you can do as much sprucing as you like on your end! I add dangling baubles to his antlers and I draw stripes on his scarf.


Done! What do you think of Ralph? He would look pretty cute on a Christmas card, don’t you think?


Please share your Reindeer illustrations with me by contacting me via email or uploading your Reindeer image to the Creative Clip Art Collection Facebook page. I would love to see them. Also, make sure you comment on this tutorial and share your thoughts. I want to hear them all!


Merry Christmas from Ralph X


Here is the Video. Enjoy.

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