How to digitize drawings

by Pramith

Digitizing drawings offers many advantages, including the ability to save artworks, share them online and edit them digitally.

Digitizing drawings: Step-by-step guide

The easiest way to digitize a drawing is by scanning it. But works of art can also be captured and saved with a camera. This works as follows:

  • Use a flatbed scanner that has at least 300 dots per inch (DPI) to create a high-resolution copy of your drawing. Connect it to your computer and make sure to place the drawing neatly and flat on the scanner to avoid distortion.
  • If you do not have a scanner or the drawing is too large, take a photo. Use a good camera or a smartphone with a high resolution. Make sure the lighting is even and avoid shadows or reflections on the drawing
  • If you notice faint lines or low contrast, adjust the settings of your scanner or camera. Alternatively, it can also help to trace pencil lines with ink, as this will stand out more strongly.
  • Save your digitized drawings in common file formats such as JPEG or PNG. We also recommend saving the RAW file if you are using a camera. This format saves more image information, which is an advantage for subsequent image processing.
  • Use cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive for storage. These services allow you to access your files from anywhere and offer protection against data loss due to hardware failure.

Edit digitized drawings

After scanning or photographing, you can use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to optimize the image. Adobe Illustrator, Procreate and Krita are also recommended.

  • For example, look at the histogram of the drawing to find out how you need to adjust the brightness and contrast to improve the quality of your scanned drawing.
  • Retouch small errors in Photoshop, e.g. with the eraser tool. Use the brush, which you can actually find in every program, to strengthen lines or add more.
  • If you want to color your drawings digitally, you can use graphics tablets and pens to achieve precise and natural results. Programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw offer special tools for digital coloring.
  • If you want to upscale your drawings, it can be helpful to convert JPG into a vector graphic. This converts the pixel-based image into a defined geometric shape that does not become blurred even when zoomed in a long way.

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