Unlocking Creative Potential: How to Digitize Your Art at Home

Are you an artist looking to unlock your creative potential and digitize your art at home? Or maybe you love crafts and want an easy way to create your own prints to send out to family, or create your own greeting cards or invitation set using some artwork you’ve created at home? Either way, I know many of you have been waiting for this post! In this article, you’ll find an in-depth guide through the entire process and exactly what I do when I make prints.

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How do you begin the Digitization Process? 

?What tools and techniques should you use to ensure the best results? We will explore various methods, from scanning and photography to using specialized software, to help you find the approach that works best for you. Personally, I photography most of my work but mainly because it’s hard to scan or the size is too large and it’s easier to photography. Also, a lot of people don’t want to invest in a scanner for one or two DIY projects so they opt to just photograph, and phone cameras are so good that they really are all that’s needed. 

So, get ready to unleash your creative potential and bring your art into the digital world. Let’s dive in and discover how to digitize your art at home like a pro.

How to Digitize Your Art at Home
How to Digitize Your Art at Home

Tools and Equipment needed for Digitizing Art

Don’t get overwhelmed here, it’s not as scary as it sounds! Before you begin the digitization process, the first step is to research and to gather the necessary tools and equipment. Here are some essentials that you’ll need to get started:

1. A high-resolution flatbed scanner

If you plan to sell or regularly create prints, invest in a good quality scanner that can capture fine details and colours accurately. Look for scanners with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) for optimal results. I use the Epson Perfection V Scanner.

2. A digital camera or smartphone

If you don’t have access to a scanner, a digital camera or smartphone with a high-resolution camera can be used to photograph your artwork. Make sure to use good lighting and a tripod or stable surface to avoid blurriness. Honestly, most smartphones will take more than sufficient quality photos to digitize your work and so to start, you can easily start with just your phone. 

If you’re looking to go the digital camera route, I use the Canon E M200 and then also use a macro lens to take up-close, detailed photos to show texture and paper/canvas quality. 

3. A computer with image editing software

You’ll need a computer to store and edit your digital art files. Choose image editing software like Adobe Photoshop which offer a wide range of tools for enhancing and refining your digital artwork. This is the go-to editing software for creatives. The phone version of this is Photoshop Lightroom. Both are incredible tools! More on that below though. 

4. A computer (a laptop will suffice!) 
How to Digitize Your Art at Home
How to Digitize Your Art at Home

Preparing your Artwork for Digital Conversion

Before you begin the scanner or photographing process, it’s important to do a bit of prep work to make sure your prints look good. Here are a few steps to follow to do this in the best way:

1. Clean and flatten your original painting or artwork

Remove any dust, fingerprints, or smudges from your artwork using a lint-free cloth or compressed air. If your artwork is on paper, make sure it is completely flat to avoid distortion during scanning or photography. 

2. Remove any framing or glass

If your artwork is framed or covered with glass, carefully remove them to prevent glare or reflections in your digital copy. Place your artwork on a clean, neutral-coloured surface for scanning or photography. I also remove the glass for all my social media photos because it’ll detract from the artwork. 

3. Consider the lighting:

Good lighting is crucial for capturing accurate colours and details. Natural light is ideal, but if it’s not available, use diffused or studio lighting to ensure even illumination across your artwork. 

4. Choose the right backdrop:

Use a plain, neutral-coloured fabric or paper background that won’t distract from your artwork. White, grey or beige backgrounds are commonly used, but you can experiment with different colours to see what works best for your art as well as your branding. 

Tips for achieving Higher Quality Digital Prints

Whether you decide to scan or photograph your artwork, here are some tips and techniques to help you achieve high-quality digital copies:

1. Use a tripod or stable surface

To avoid blurriness, use a tripod or stable surface to your camera. This will ensure that your artwork remains steady during the digitization process. If using a scanner, make sure you’re on a sturdy surface. 

2. Capture in RAW format (photography)

If you’re photographing your artwork, capture images in RAW format instead of JPEG. RAW files contain more data, allowing for greater flexibility during the editing process. 

3. Calibrate your scanner or camera

Adjust the settings of your scanner or camera to ensure accurate colours and exposure. You can use built-in calibration tools to achieve your desired results. I typically use the auto settings and adjust the brightness and resolution to atleast 300 dpi on my scanner and then do the editing work in photoshop, but you can also do a bit of research to calibrate your scanner for your own artwork. 

4. The Correct DPI

Aim for a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) for optimal print quality. Higher resolutions may be required for extremely detailed or larger artworks. Keep in mind that as you increase the resolution of your scan, your computer will have to work harder to process and edit that file, so it’s a balance. 

5. Shoot or scan in a well-lit area

Good lighting is essential for capturing accurate colours and all the lovely details. Avoid harsh lighting or direct sunlight, as it can cause reflections or shadows on your artwork.

6. Take multiple shots or scanned images

Capture multiple shots or scans of your artwork to ensure you have options to choose from. This can be especially useful if you’re working with challenging lighting conditions or textures. At the beginning, you’ll have many of these as you adjust your equipment to your environment. Take notes each time you adjust a setting so you know how to go back. 

7. Save your digital photos or files in a lossless format

When saving your digital art files, use lossless formats like TIFF or PNG to preserve image quality. Avoid compressing your files too much, as it can result in loss of detail.

For large paintings, the best way to digitize these are to work in sections, either photographing your piece in sections or using a high quality digital camera to take one, raw format photo to then edit in photoshop.

Note on working with larger file sizes: If you want to read a bit more about computer capacity, working with a digital file, and whether your laptop will be able to keep up, head to this blog post!

Art Print, Bronzed Wheat
How to Digitize Your Art at Home

Easiest Way To Edit and Enhance your Digital Prints

Once you have your digital copies, it’s time to edit and enhance them using image editing software to create your print reproduction. I think this is where a lot of people get scared off because editing can be daunting. But, with 2-3 editing steps, you can significantly improve your photos or scans and make them print ready. Here are some techniques to consider: 

What software should you use? 

I use two, photoshop on my laptop or photoshop lightroom on my phone. That’s it! 

If you’re not looking to purchase adobe photoshop, photoshop lightroom is a much more affordable option. You can download the app for about $9/month and do all your editing with presets or learn some quick and easy settings to edit your artwork. 

1. Adjust brightness and contrast:

Fine-tune the brightness and contrast levels to ensure that your artwork looks vibrant and balanced. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can result in loss of detail or unnatural colours.

2. Correct colours: 

Use colour correction tools to adjust the color balance and remove any color casts. In photoshop this is called levels, where you can adjust the white balance on the screen to remove any grey or off-white background of your artwork. This will help ensure that your digital copy accurately represents the original artwork. 

Handy Tip: Using the tool, click on the background of the image to remove and clean up the background to be as close to white as possible. Sometimes you have to do this step a few times and sometimes it’ll be too bright, in which case hit Ctrl+Z to go back and hover to another spot on the background. 

3. Remove imperfections: 

If your artwork has any imperfections, such as dust spots or small blemishes, use the healing or clone stamp tool to remove them. Be careful not to over-edit and lose the natural texture of your art.

4. Crop and straighten: 

Crop your digital copy using the crop tool to remove any unwanted edges or distractions. Use the straighten tool to align your artwork properly if it was not perfectly aligned during the scanning or photography process. Lightroom makes this super easy to do. 

5. APPLY filters and effects: 

Get creative and experiment with various filters and effects to enhance your digital art. However, be mindful not to alter the essence of your artwork or make it look overly processed. For some of my favourite presets, head over here!

Once you’re done editing, create a new file in Photoshop or whatever editing software you might be using, with the digital paper size you want to work with, eg. 18×24″. Choose a resolution of at least 300 DPI to ensure as much detail and quality of the images. Copy and paste your edited file into the new sheet and do any crops necessary for the size you want to print. 

Storing and Organizing your Digital Art Files

As a digital artist, it’s important to have a proper system in place for storing and organizing your digital art files. Here are some tips to help you stay organized:

1. Choose A Storage Drive

Storing all your files on your hard drive will quickly leave you without space on your computer, so it’s best to save your files to a cloud drive, like Google Cloud, iCloud,  or One Drive. 

2. Create a folder structure:

Set up a folder structure that makes sense to you. Organize your files by year, project, or medium, and create subfolders as needed. This will make it easier to find specific artworks later. 

3. Backup your files:

Regularly backup your digital art files to external hard drives or cloud storage services. This will protect your files from accidental deletion, hardware failures, or other unforeseen events.

4. Metadata and tagging:

Consider adding metadata and tags to your digital art files. This can include information such as the artist’s name, title, description, and keywords, making it easier to search and organize your files.

Pro Tip: Title your files as you save them in a way that will help your SEO when you upload them to your website. For example, an image file titled “IMG5238” will mean nothing to Google when they scan your site, but if you save it as “LANDSCAPE SOFT FIELDS 01”, you won’t have to rename it when you upload it to your website. You’ll have a greater chance of showing up in image search results if you name your files in a more descriptive, keyword-focused way. 

Sharing and Promoting your Digitized Artwork (For Artists)

Where to Share Your Digital Art

Digitizing your art opens up a world of opportunities for sharing and promoting your work. Here are some avenues to consider:

1. Create an online portfolio:

Build a website or use online platforms like Behance or DeviantArt to showcase your digital art portfolio. Include high-quality images, descriptions, and contact information to attract potential clients or collaborators.

2. Social media platforms:

Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to share your digital art with a wider audience. Use relevant hashtags, engage with other artists and art communities, and be consistent in your posting.

3. Art communities and forums:

Join online art communities and forums to connect with fellow artists and art enthusiasts. Share your work, provide feedback, and participate in discussions to gain exposure and build relationships.

4. Collaborate with other artists:

Collaborating with other artists can help you expand your reach and gain new perspectives. Consider participating in virtual art collaborations, joint exhibitions, or art challenges to connect with like-minded individuals.

5. Prints and merchandise:

Consider offering prints or merchandise featuring your digitized artwork. Print-on-demand services like Society6 allow you to sell art prints, clothing, phone cases, and more, without the need for inventory. Similarly, Etsy is a great platform for art prints.

6. Art competitions and exhibitions:

Enter art competitions or seek opportunities to exhibit your digitized artwork. This can help you gain recognition, build your resume, and potentially sell your artwork to collectors or art enthusiasts.

How To Sell Your Digital Art Online

Lastly, let’s explore how you can sell your digitized artwork online. Here are some platforms and strategies to consider:

1. Print-on-demand services:

Utilize print-on-demand services like Fine Art America, ArtStation, or Etsy to sell prints or merchandise featuring your digital art. These platforms handle production, shipping, and customer service, allowing you to focus on creating.

2. Online marketplaces:

Sell your digital art files directly through online marketplaces like Gumroad, Creative Market, or Adobe Stock. These platforms allow customers to purchase and download your digital art for personal or commercial use.

3. Art licensing:

Explore art licensing opportunities where you can license your digital art to be used on products, advertisements, or publications. Licensing agencies or websites like Shutterstock or Getty Images can help connect you with potential buyers.

4. Commissioned work:

Offer commissioned digital art services where clients can request custom artwork based on their specific needs or preferences. Advertise your services through your website, social media, or art communities to attract potential clients.

5. Direct sales through your website:

If you have a website, consider setting up an online store where customers can purchase digital copies of your artwork directly from you. This gives you full control over the sales process and allows for a more personal connection with your buyers.

Digitizing your art opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to reach a wider audience, explore new mediums, and monetize your creativity. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can unlock your creative potential and bring your art into the digital realm like a pro.

So, should you sell your art prints?

Ultimately, only you know what is right for your business, but if you ever want to discuss your options with a fellow artist, I am always happy to offer my consulting services.

You can also start by downloading the free guide, 9 steps to starting your own creative business today to see how you can add elements to your business right away! 



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