One of the great things about getting into digital art and graphic design is when you get to digitize one of your drawings.
And explore just how much you can change and alter it on the computer to achieve some amazing effects.
And it’s also a great way for sketch artists to turn their hand drawings into something that can be transformed into digital art without having to resort to taking a photo, which could ruin the quality of the image.
So, in this article, we’re going to give you a thorough, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on how to digitize a drawing.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on how to digitize a drawing in Adobe Photoshop, since it’s one of the most popular forms of software for this purpose, although there are other apps you can use if you prefer.
The process is pretty much the same, whatever software you decide to use.
Step 1: Scan Your Image
Before you start digitizing your drawing, you need to scan it first. This allows you to see exactly what you’ll be working with.
There are two ways to do this. The old-fashioned way would be to take a picture of your drawing using a camera or phone app.
This works well, but it has its limitations. If you want to create an exact replica of your original drawing, then this method won’t work.
You’ll have to make sure that everything is perfectly aligned before you take the photo. And even then, you may not be able to capture every detail.
A better option is to use a scanner. There are many different types out there, so choose the one that best suits your needs.
You can find them at any electronics store. If you don’t own a scanner yet, now is as good a time as any to buy one.
We recommend scanning your image at the highest resolution that your scanner allows.
You should aim to keep your scanned image around 300 dpi (dots per inch). Anything less than this and you’ll lose details in the final product.
Then simply save the file to your computer’s hard drive.
Step 2: Open Your Drawing In Photoshop
Once you’ve scanned your drawing, open up Photoshop.
If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and sign in to your account.
In the new document window that appears, navigate to where you saved your scanned image, and click Open.
Now you’ll notice that the image isn’t actually visible within the new document. That’s because it hasn’t been resized yet.
To resize the image, press Ctrl + T on your keyboard to enter the Free Transform tool. Then move the slider to resize the image until it fills the entire canvas.
Now you can see the image inside the document.
Step 3: Selecting Areas To Digitize
Next, select all the areas of your drawing that you’d like to digitize by pressing Command + A on your keyboard.
When you do this, Photoshop will automatically highlight all the objects that you selected. It will also mark the area of the canvas that each object occupies.
At this point, you can either leave these highlighted or deselect them. It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that you know which parts of the drawing you want to digitize.
Step 4: Adjusting The Size Of Your Drawing
After selecting all the objects that you want to include in your digital copy, press Shift + Cmd + N on your keyboard to bring up the New Layer dialog box.
From here, change the name of the layer to something descriptive like “Digitized” or “Drawing”.
Adjust the size of the layer by dragging the corner handles. Make sure that the width and height match the dimensions of the image that you just created.
Step 5: Coloring Your Image
The next step is to colorize your image. Click the Color Picker icon located at the bottom right-hand side of the screen.
Select your preferred color from the palette and drag it over the areas of your drawing you’d like to colorize.
Press Enter when you’re finished coloring the image.
Step 6: Shading Your Image
Shading is another important part of creating an accurate representation of your original drawing. Go back to the Layers panel and create a new layer for shading.
Name the layer “Shaded” and give it a darker fill. Now select the Brush Tool and set its hardness to 10%.
Use the soft round brush to paint shadows onto the edges of the objects in your drawing. Repeat this process for highlights.
Step 7: Adding Text & Other Elements
Finally, the last step is adding text and other elements to your image.
Select the Type Tool from the toolbar and type whatever information you want to add to your drawing. You can use any font style that you prefer. Just make sure that it’s legible.
Finally, adjust the opacity of the layers if needed.
That’s it! You now have a complete digital copy of your original drawing. All that’s left to do is to save the file and share it with others.
To save the improved image, go to File, and click on Save As. In the Save As window that appears, choose PDF (Portable Document Format) as the format.
Bonus Tip: How To Email Your Digitized Drawing
If you want to share your digitized image over the net, one method is through email.
To do this, simply open your email client, compose a new message, add the addressee email address, and write a note to accompany your image.
Then click on the icon to add an attachment, and browse your computer until you find the folder where you saved the image.
When you find it, click open, and this will attach the image to your email. Then all you have to do is click Send.
So, there you have it, and now you know how to digitize your drawings, perfect them on a computer, and even email them to a friend!