How to Change the Color of Brushes in Illustrator

By Alane Michaelson

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based drawing application commonly used in the graphic design profession. Vector graphics are stored digitally as a series of points along a path, and can therefore be scaled up without losing any resolution. In Adobe Illustrator, brushes are used to change the appearance of a path into anything from a calligraphic stroke to a vine of flowers. How to go about changing the color of these stylized paths may not be immediately apparent, but it can be accomplished using two different methods: editing the brush and editing the stroke.

Editing the Brush

Step 1

Open the "Brush Library" in Adobe Illustrator. Select the brush that you want to change the color of by double-clicking on it. The brush will appear in the "Brushes Palette," and can now be edited.

Step 2

Open the "Brushes Palette" and locate the brush you want to edit. Double click on the brush to open the "Settings" menu for that brush. Click the drop-down menu labeled "Colorization" and select the option "Tints." The color of the brush will now be determined by the selected stroke color.

Step 3

Locate the "Stroke Color" selector near the top-left side of the screen. Click on it to reveal a selection of color swatches. Click on the color you want the brush to make a stroke in. The brush will continue to make strokes in the selected color until you choose another color.

Editing the Stroke

Step 1

Select the desired brush from the "Brushes Palette," having moved it there from the "Brush Library," if necessary. Double click on the desired brush to open the brush's "Settings" menu. Click on the drop-down menu labeled "Colorization" and select "None."

Step 2

Draw a stroke with the brush in the work area. Use the selection tool to make a selection around the brush stroke. Go to the "Object" menu and select "Expand Appearance." This will convert the brush stroke into a shape. A shape in an object has a stroke and a fill, both of which can be freely edited.

Step 3

With the newly converted brush stroke selected, locate the "fill color" selector near the top-left of the screen. Click on it to open a menu of color swatches. Clicking any of these colors will instantly change the color of the brush stroke to the selected color. Because the brush stroke was converted to a shape, multiple color changes can be made.