How to Digitize Pen Drawing Using Photoshop


When I started drawing my coloring pages, my plan is to sell them digitally. An easy peasy job for me to do – draw, scan then upload them to my shop. So when I finished drawing the 32 coloring pages, I was elated that finally after three months of  drawing them I can finally build my online shop.

I excitedly scanned the 32 pages in a flatbed scanner, saved as jpeg file, then printed one page because I want to color my own art too. But to my big disappointment the output wasn’t what I expected. Ugly! The drawing is smaller than the original one, it came out bluish white and grainy. I also tried saving it as pdf file but the result is the same.

I panicked and feel so down because I put so much effort to do it only to find out that my plans isn’t really working.

But I know there is a solution for it, so I researched online. First result in the search engine is to vectorize it in Photoshop using a pen tool. And you have to do it by tracing your drawing.

I started few lines but I gave up. My coloring pages are so detailed that doing it that way means spending more hours in the computer and redraw them. Another three months or so.  I wished for a Wacom tablet that time, if I only knew that it’s not a 3-step procedure (draw, scan, then print).

My other option is to hire a freelancer to digitize my drawing. With an average $5.00 fee for each page it only means I will be costing my coloring pages more. So I scratch that idea and ready to forget about selling it.

But I am not a quitter…

I know there is a way to do it. So I dig the search engine more until I stumble to Dabbles and Babbles blog. Although the instruction of the blog owner calls for Photoshop and Illustrator, I was still able to digitize my drawing using Photoshop alone and happy to say that I am satisfied with the output.

How to Digitize Pen Drawing Using Photoshop

Here’s how I digitize my pen drawing using Photoshop, I learned from Dabble and Babble and other tutorial online.

  1. Scan your drawing into a flatbed scanner at 300 dpi resolution in grey scale setting.
    digitize pen drawing using photoshop
  2. Open your scanned drawing to Photoshop. Make sure that it’s in RGB mode. To check go to IMAGE> MODE > RGB COLOR.
    digitize pen drawing using photoshop
  3. Then go to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS…digitize pen drawing using photoshop
    You can make the black darker by moving the black toggle bar to the right and the white toggle bar to the left. Overlapping the black, grey and white toggle bar will give you a better result. Just find the right spot.digitize pen drawing using photoshopNotice how the black become darker by moving toggle to the right.digitize pen drawing using photoshop
    If you are happy with the output you can proceed to procedure no. 5 to clean up the dark areas that are not supposed to be in your photo like the lines at the left side of the paper as shown in the first picture.
  4. Another method to adjust the color is by going to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > CURVES…digitize pen drawing using photoshop
    Referring to the picture below: you can make the white area whiter by moving the dot (encircled with green) color to the left , and the black area darker by moving the dot (encircled in red) to the right. Adjust it until you are satisfied with the output.digitize pen drawing using photoshop
  5. There are some dirty areas resulted from how you scan your drawings. or some inks that are no supposed to be in the photo.digitize pen drawing using photoshop
    Unlock the layer first by double clicking the lock icon (shown in the picture below). A pop up message will appear just hit OK.digitize pen drawing using photoshop
    If you can’t see the layer go to WINDOW > LAYERdigitize pen drawing using photoshop
  6. You can erase the unnecessary spot by using the brush pen. But make  sure to set the color into white. You can also adjust the brush size to make the work faster.digitize pen drawing using photoshop
  7. Save it as jpeg file and pdf file. I found out that even I already adjusted the color the lines of the digital version of my drawing when printed are more define using the pdf file than the jpeg file. I saved a jpeg file version for purpose of cover photo of my shop listing only.I am bold and outgoing

And that’s it! So far I don’t have a problem with the printed version. I will still further research on how to improve the digitize version of drawing. Definitely I will learn Illustrator. Wish there’s an installer for illustrator that requires one time payment and not the monthly or annual premium account.

digitize pen drawing

2 thoughts on “How to Digitize Pen Drawing Using Photoshop”

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