How To Digitise Your Art


Creating artwork is a skill, an achievement, and something to take pride in. The digital age is something to be either terrified of or embraced, if the latter, then a bit of digital know-how is essential. Your art can truly blossom online whether uploaded to blogs, websites, online galleries, social media feeds and so on. The trickiest part of digitising your art is surely getting the quality right, keeping your images sharp, with just the right amount of light to properly show off your work.


Related: The Painter’s Essentials Cheat Sheet

It can be a daunting task transferring your art from the physical world to the digital, whether it’s a massive painting or a sculpture, you want to capture the small details without compromising the whole picture.

Photographing Artwork

There are several elements to getting the perfect picture, these are the key points to bear in mind:

  • Lighting: make sure your image is evenly lit, you don’t want any glare from flashes or shadows.
  • Colour balance: check the colours are exactly as you want them, there is a tendency for cameras on an automatic setting to use too large an aperture, which will let too much light in and distort the exactly colour you originally used.
  • Cleanliness: The last thing you want is to go through the whole effort and discover right at the end that a piece of dust has spoilt the whole work. Make sure your art is clean, unless the dust is part of the art, in which case you’re good to go!
  • Positioning: The camera must be at an exact 90 degree angle to the work to capture the whole piece.
  • Cropping: You might have a border showing the background to your canvas, this should be cropped out using suitable tools.

Related: How To Use A Sketchbook

Image of a woman with a camera


Using a flat bed scanner is an inexpensive way to digitise your art. Make sure everything is clean and dust free before committing. In the preview panel, you can select the area to scan, and also the quality level you want. If you are scanning for the web, scan to get 300 pixels per inch, it’ll later be reduced to 72 pixels to allowed for a smaller file size.

Saving the images in the correct file format is important. TIFF, BMP and PCX are great, JPEG should be avoided. TIFF is a personal favourite for manipulating images as you don’t loose the original quality to anywhere near the extent that a JPEG does.

Image of a pen and pad

Know your software

You need to know your way around vector art tools – these allow you to manipulate, enhance and even improve you freshly scanned art. A range of software exists and has gone through a decade of innovation to give artists the best chance at making phenomenally beautiful art while sitting in front of a computer. Photoshop Elements is a favourite, CoralDRAW and Adobe Illustrator are up there with the best and high reviewed packages.

Each comes with tutorials and a lot can be learned by just playing with all the tools, however you can’t beat a good course. Once you are comfortable with your chosen software, and you have a good scanner, you are well on your way to producing stunning digitised art.

For more information on how to upload your art specifically to Zippi, view the artist guidelines.

Do you have any more tips? Please share them in the comments below.


About Author

Chris is a creative writer, a traveller of the world, a photographer of many things and a reviewer of great places to visit. In his spare time he writes to his heart's content.

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