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how to scan and edit your drawings for prints!

Firstly – I’d like to state that I am absolutely no expert in this area, I’m just sharing how I do it and what works for me.

When scanning your work, it’s super important to get a good quality scanner, I have the Epson Perfection V550 Photo which I bought a good few years ago and it’s still going strong. It did cost me a couple hundred quid at the time but it’s been absolutely worth every penny!

When I first started, I tried using the little scanner that comes on top of the cheapy cheap printers you can get but it was DIRE quality, not anywhere near what you’d need for good quality reproductions – I do not recommend! If you don’t want to invest in a more substantial scanner then you are definitely better off sending your work to a professional for them to scan for you! That way you’re guaranteed a file and a print that looks as close to the original as possible and you know the quality is going to be as good as they can get it.

But, when doing it yourself – be sure to give the bed a good wipe with a lint free cloth before scanning anything! Get rid of any dust so your scan is as clean as can be!

Once you’ve placed your artwork onto the scanner bed you want to make sure its lined up at the edges and completely covered by the lid – if, like me, you want to scan pieces that are larger than A4, I always lay a t-shirt or something over the scanner to stop any light getting in those edges.

Now once the scanner has does its overview scan, I get the options to change the settings – here is how mine is set up as standard:

As you can see I decrease the brightness a tad, but I can tweak all these depending each particular drawing depending on the subject’s colour! The aim is to get it looking as close to the original drawing as I can. Then I’m ready to click scan! I always scan at 300dpi.

Once scanned, I load what I call the “raw scan” into my photo editor, I use a program called Pixelmator Pro, its basically photoshop but it’s a one off VERY small cost so, big fan of that! I’ll make any last colour adjustments and if needed go through the painstaking task of removing the background – time consuming but I haven’t found a quicker/more precise way other than a very small eraser and teeny tiny movements. I find that if I select the whole background it can erase smaller details around the edges of the drawing that I want to keep. I do have a drawing tablet/graphics pad that I used to use for this as I could be really precise but I’ve gotten pretty good at just doing it on my laptops trackpad! Practice makes progress and all that!

And finally, after I’m happy with the edited scan, I’ll view it using the soft proof settings downloaded from my printers website – enabling soft proof colours means I can view the drawing in the colours it will print, it gives me a better idea of what the final print will look like, such as if some colours won’t be as dark or if some will get washed out.

*googles soft proof meaning*… *copies and pastes*:

“Soft proofing is the ability to view a simulation of how your image will look when out-put to the printer on your monitor, based on the chosen profile.”

Get it? No? Me neither.

Then I’ll save it as a PNG and its good to go to print! Woo!

Hope that made some sense, and helped in some way! Feel free to send any questions you have and I’ll do my best as always!

Cherry xo