Step-by-Step Directions to Scan your Artwork

How to Scan your Artwork for Print and Web

Scanning your artwork works well for many drawings and paintings that are more ‘flat’ in appearance. However, if your drawing is larger than your flatbed scanner you’ll need to scan your art in sections and then stitch it together. I use Photoshop to stitch my sections together and to adjust the art for various outputs such as print work and web work.

Step 1:

Clean the glass well on your scanner. Place the art carefully on the glass lining up the edge that you’ll start with. Open up your scanning application. Scanners come with the software. I scan at an resolution of 600.  Though my drawing is shades of gray I scan at millions of colors to pick up the subtle of shades and the paper color.
You can go lower – no lower than 300 is my recommendation. If your scanning for larger reproductions of your artwork go as high as possible. Some computers won’t be able to process large files.

Adjust your scan settings to a resolution at least of 300 and higher for large reproductions of your art.
Adjust your scan settings to a resolution at least of 300 and higher for large reproductions of your art.

Step 2:
After you scan the one section of your art (since the art is too large to fit on the flat bed scanner I have to scan it in two sections), carefully scan the other side taking care to line it up.
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Step 3:
I use Photoshop to piece the two sections together. I open up both high resolution files. I decide on which piece I want to start with. With this file open, I to the Canvas size in Photoshop and increase it so it will accommodate the other piece that I’ll drag over and merge it. At this point I begin the process of merging and smoothing these two pieces together to make a whole. This takes me about 10 to 15 minutes of adjusting the color (once the pieces are merged) and carefully bringing those two edges together.
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Step 4:
Where I’ve merged the two pieces of the art together I enlarge to make sure it’s as perfect as I can get it. I smooth the pixels together, utilize the Clone Stamp Tool to carefully blend.

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Step 5:
After I’ve blended the sections of the drawing together, I flatten the piece. I then adjust the settings if need be to darken or lighten. After this I save the full size version as a high resolution jpg and a tiff. This way I have two options to choose from when I use the drawing for printing and depending on the vendor will use the art file that gets the best results. Additionally I save a CMYK version of the file. Depending on the vendor, you may need your art in RGB or CMYK.

Step 6:
After adjusting I crop my drawing and reduce the size for a web version. Reducing the size for a web version will make the file size smaller and quicker to load and also if your saving high resolution full sizes of your art anyone can download it and reproduce it. Smaller sizes are more difficult to reproduce.

Final Step:
The web version of the drawing:
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