Have you ever drawn something elaborate in Procreate just to realize that it’s all the wrong color? Yeah, me too. Many times. Luckily, Procreate makes it really easy to change the color of a layer, whether you want to change the color of an entire layer, or just the elements within it.
To change the color of a layer in Procreate, make sure your desired layer is selected. Drag your color onto your canvas and let go in order to fill your layer with color. To color elements within your layer, either use the Color Fill option within the Selection Tool or use the Alpha Lock feature.
There are multiple ways to change the colors of your layers in Procreate. Don’t worry; we’ll be diving into all of them.
But, if you came to this post looking for info about the Recolor tool, listen up! Recolor no longer exists in your Adjustments menu. The Procreate team did an update of the software and got rid of the button.
So, if you came here wondering if your Recolor tool disappeared from your Adjustments menu…well, it did…
But, Recolor didn’t go away altogether! There is still a way to access it, which we’ll dive into as an option for coloring your layers and elements.
There are also a number of other great ways to color your layers in Procreate though, so let’s dive into them already.
1. Use Color Drop to Change the Color of Your Entire Layer or Layer Elements
If you want to completely fill your entire Procreate layer with color, drag your color into your canvas, but not into a specific element. This will flood your layer with color. If you want to change the color of specific elements, drag your color into your desired element.
There aren’t a lot of times when you would want to flood your entire layer with color. That said, if you ever do, all you need to do is drag your color into your canvas.
Just make sure that you have the correct layer selected and that you pick an empty spot of your canvas that doesn’t have an element in it.
This can be useful if you want to use a separate layer as your background instead of the designated background layer. You may want to do this if you plan to draw on your background.
When doing so, just make sure that you move your new “background layer” to the bottom of your layers list below all of your other layers, or lower the layer’s opacity. If you don’t, this big splotch of color will cover all of your elements.
Now, let’s say that you want to change the color of specific elements on your canvas. Firstly, make sure you have the right layer selected.
Next, drag your color into the element you want to change the color of.
Important note: your element needs to be closed. This means that you can’t have any gaps in your lines. If you try to drag color into one of your elements and it fills your entire canvas instead, this means you have a gap in your lines somewhere.
Zoom in on your element and scan through your lines until you find the gap. Connect your lines and try filling your element again. This should fix the problem. If it doesn’t, you have another gap hiding somewhere.
How to Change the Color of Your Procreate Lines
You can use Procreate’s color drop feature to change the color of your lines. Zoom in on your line so that you can precisely drop your color on your line. This will change the color of your lines to the one you have selected within the color wheel.
For example, let’s say you have a circle. If you want to fill your circle with color, drag your color into the middle of your circle. If you just want to change the color of the outline of your circle, drop your color along your outlined line.
When you’re changing the colors of your lines, it can be tricky to drop your colors directly on your lines, especially if your lines are thin. This is where zooming in will work in your favor! Zoom in as much as needed so that you can accurately drop your colors on your lines.
2. Use Color Drop or the Quick Menu to Access the Recolor Tool
When you use Color Drop, you’ll see a button appear that prompts you to continue coloring your design with Recolor. Click on that to use Recolor to continue coloring your design. You can also add Recolor to your Quick Menu for use without Color Drop.
You may have noticed that, when you use Color Drop to flood an element or layer with color, a button appears near your top menu bar that prompts you to continue coloring your design with Recolor.
Click on it.
Now you can click on other elements in your design to color them in the same color with the Recolor tool.
If you want to access the Recolor function without using Color Drop first, there’s a way to do that with the Quick menu. Here’s how:
1. Hold the square on the left hand side of your screen. It’s the one in between your sliders.
2. While holding the square, tap your screen.
3. Your Quick Menu will open.
4. Hold down on one of the Quick Menu options until a menu of additional options appears.
5. Scroll until you find the Recolor option.
6. Tap on Recolor to add it to your Quick Menu.
7. Now you can access Recolor whenever you open your Quick Menu.
While it’s a bummer that Recolor was removed from the Adjustments tab, the Quick Menu is an awesome feature that you should be taking full advantage of anyways.
If you like using Recolor, it’s worth it to add it to your Quick Menu so that you can access it easily.
The color drop feature isn’t your only option for changing your colors in Procreate. Let’s talk about what the Color Fill tool can do.
3. Use the Color Fill Tool to Change the Color of Elements on Your Procreate Layer
To use the Color Fill tool, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have the correct layer and color selected. Next, click on the Selection tool in the top menu bar and choose the Color Fill tool on the bottom right. Lastly, tap on any elements to color them with your desired color.
I LOVE the Color Fill tool, but it does take some getting used to. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it:
1. Open your layers panel and choose your desired layer.
Your “desired” layer is the one that has the elements you want to color on it. Your elements might be on multiple layers. If so, repeat this process for each layer.
My experience is that the Color Fill tool doesn’t work well with multiple layers at once. It will acknowledge the first layer that you selected, but not the others. So, my default is to use the Color Fill tool with one layer at a time.
It’s important that you choose your desired layer before you move on to the next steps.
If you open the layers panel once you’ve activated the Color Fill tool, it will kick you out of the Color Fill tool.
Of course, it’s not a huge deal to open the Color Fill tool again, but it can get annoying if it happens too often, so just get in the practice of checking that you have the correct layer selected before moving on.
2. Open the color panel and choose the color you want
Once you have your layer selected, it’s time to choose the color you want. Luckily, you don’t have to be too precious about this. Unlike the layers panel, you can open the color panel without getting kicked out of the color fill tool.
This is great because it means that you can play around with different colors and experiment with things.
It also means that you can choose different colors for your different elements without having to reopen the Color Fill tool each time.
3. Open the Selection tool
The Selection tool is in the top menu bar and has an icon that looks like the letter “S”
4. Choose the Color Fill option with the Automatic setting selected
Once you’ve opened the Selection tool, you’ll need to click on the Color Fill option within the bottom control panel that appears. The Color Fill tool is on the bottom right and has a paint bucket icon.
5. Click on elements you want to recolor
Here is where things get fun and interesting.
It’s important to remember that the Color Fill tool is layer specific. It will respond based on the layer you have selected. This means that if one of your elements isn’t on that layer, it won’t recolor it.
To use the Color Fill tool, all you need to do is click on your elements. This will apply your color to them.
As you recolor your elements, you can click on your outlines to solely recolor your outlines.
Or, you can click within your element to fill it in with color.
The Color Fill tool works similarly to the color drop option in this way.
But, keep in mind that it’s LAYER SPECIFIC! Did I say that loud enough? If you click on something that isn’t on your selected layer, it will likely fill your canvas with color, using any elements that ARE on your selected layer as a barrier.
This can get tricky to explain, so the best thing to do is experiment with it. See what happens when you click on various elements and add various colors to your work.
Lastly, let’s talk about one more way that you can change the color of your layer in Procreate. I personally think that this one is pretty fun.
4. Use Alpha Lock to Color Inside the Lines and Change the Color of Your Elements in Procreate
The Alpha Lock tool makes it quick and easy to “color inside the lines” of any elements in your chosen Procreate layer. This means that you can quickly color in an element, either partially or fully, without going outside of the barrier of your elements.
I have a full guide on how to color inside with lines with Procreate’s Alpha Lock tool. This will tell you everything you need to know about what the Alpha Lock tool can do.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll talk about Alpha Lock in relation to recoloring your Procreate layers.
Basically, when you turn on Alpha Lock, you can only color on top of paint that has already been laid down on that layer (turn on Alpha Lock by clicking on your layer and choosing “Alpha Lock” from the drop down menu that appears).
So, let’s say that I have my circle. When I turn on Alpha Lock, I can only color within the bounds of that circle, as long as the circle has paint in it. If the circle is hollow, I will only be able to color over the outline.
Rule of thumb: when Alpha Lock is enabled, you can only color over paint that already exists on your layer.
Again, read my guide on coloring with the Alpha Lock tool to learn more.
Using the Alpha Lock tool is a GREAT option is you need to make designs in your elements, or only partially recolor them.
All of the other options we’ve talked about will fully flood your elements with your new color.
The Alpha Lock tool will let you control how much of your new color gets put onto your elements. This lets you be more precise and particular about how you recolor your elements, without fully washing over them with your new color.
While it’s a bummer that the Recolor tool is gone, there are still a couple of great ways to change the colors on your layers. Choose the one that works for you, depending on your project, and have fun with it!
Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana’s latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.