“The act of scanning art may seem unremarkable, and you may never really think of it beyond being a step in a process, but without it I know I wouldn’t be the artist I am today. Scanning opens a door to endless possibilities, from simply getting something print ready, to using it as a base for something much greater.”
Most artists will at some point in their practice need to use a scanner. Many artists scan when the artwork is complete and needs to be digitised to reproduce as prints or cards. Digital versions of your artwork are necessary if you want to submit art to competitions or promote on social media. Shaky phone photos won’t leave a good impression of your work.
Scanning half way through a piece can be an effective practice. This is great for artists who like line-drawing on paper but prefer to colour digitally. London-based Sci-Fi artist Dan Morison scans his line drawings in before working on them digitally.
“Drawing has such a personal touch, something that I find hard to replicate with just a computer alone. Lately, I see my work getting more and more digital in response to shorter deadlines, and a bit of soul gets lost without a good, physical drawing to start things off.”
– Dan Morison
^ Three stages of Dan Morison’s process: pencil drawing in his sketchbook, scanned in and then worked on digitally, adding colour digitally for the final image. This process can be applied to all genres; including traditional painting.
This process of scanning half way through making an artwork can also be used to good effect if you have a few different ideas for how to continue your painting, collage, or drawing. If you scan part way through, you can get it printed and work on the print, or continue on the original safe in the knowledge you’ve saved what you’ve already worked on.
If you don’t have your own scanner, we can help. We have a professional high-resolution scanner that specialises in capturing true-life colour. We can scan flat artworks up to 800mm x 550mm in size (and in some cases even larger), as well as film. If you need accurate colour-matching we can do that in-house for you as well, or you can take the file to work on from your studio.
If you have your own scanner, make sure you scan at a high resolution (at least 300dpi), save as a TIFF not a JPEG, and properly colour-manage your workflow to get the best results. If you have a choice between 8-bit and 16-bit, go for 16-bit (but there is nothing wrong with 8-bit). We can supply printer profiles if you want us to print work you have scanned at home.
Take a look at our handy printing guide for more information about making prints of your artwork.
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