Digitizing your artwork has never been easier or more commonplace than it is now. Between social media and the ease of setting up your own online store everyone should know a few basic tricks to best digitize their sketches.

For printing your own artwork, you’ll want to be sure you have a high resolution file. You should use a scanner, or get it scanned at a copy shop if you don’t own one. You could also use a DSLR camera, but when using either a DSLR or a camera phone you’ll need an even wash of light, which can be tricky.

But if you just want to snap a picture of your art to share it online, you can accomplish a lot using your smartphone if you know a few tricks:

  • Place your artwork flat on a surface. Use binder clips to secure your sketchbook pages if they flip up.
  • Or you could use the glass from a picture frame to hold the sketchbook flat. It’s almost like a reversed flatbed scanner. Place the clean glass on top of the sketchbook and make sure you don’t create any reflections by holding your phone above it to take your photo.
  • Choose the orientation of your camera according to the piece of art (portrait/landscape)
  • Hold your camera at the same angle as your artwork to minimize the chance of your image looking crooked or distorted.
  • Don’t get too close to your art because of two reasons: the wide-angle lens of your smartphone can distort your picture a bit, and you might block the light.
  • Hold your phone just a little higher up, and zoom in a little to fit the art in your frame. But don’t zoom in too much, it’ll be harder to get a crisp image. Fill the viewfinder of the camera as much as possible and then check to see that all the edges of your work are parallel with the edges of the viewfinder.
  • You can also add some props if you’re into that; add a cup of coffee next to your drawing, line up some pens or pencils, the tools that you used.
  • Lighting is key. Most smartphone cameras are bad at taking pictures in artificial light. So if possible, photograph your art in daylight. Find a spot where the light is bright and even, but not in direct sunlight because then the shadows are very hard.
  • You can go outside to take your picture, but natural light from a big window can be great. Watch out for colored walls, light can bounce off and will reflect a color cast on your art.
  • To counteract dark shadows when you are in direct sunlight or you have a light source from one side you can use a white sheet of paper or a sketchbook to bounce off light from, to fill the shadows and to reflect some extra light on the darker part. This way your sketchbook is more evenly lit. 
  • In your camera app you’ll be able to adjust the exposure if the image seems too dark. Then hit the shutter button to take your picture.
  • Use the self-timer option to give you bit of extra time to make sure everything is in frame and perhaps even hold your breath.

Oh, and once you’ve done all that, share your art with us using the hashtag #sketchbookskool or tag us @sketchbookskool!

Filed under categories: Tips