How to Digitize a Drawing

Are you an artist bored with paper and pencil? Here is your solution- digitizing your sketching can be the ultimate fun fact for you! Many artists are no longer satisfied with the traditional way of practicing art. Now they are learning how to digitize a drawing.

For this reason, modern technologies provide you with a lot of options. The first option to digitize the sketch can be in Photoshop. Furthermore, if you want to digitize a drawing without Photoshop, you can still digitize your drawing in illustrator and on an android phone. But it is always the first condition to sew up your ideas on paper no matter which option you choose.

Today we will discuss different methods that can help you to digitize your drawing.

How to Digitize a Drawing in Photoshop

desert fantastic realistic with photoshop

Since it offers many advantages, digitizing a sketch in photoshop software is popular among professional artists. The photoshop software has many features like hue and saturation, layers, levels, filters, colors adjustments, etc. Various tools help you perfect sketching, appropriate shading colors, and proper texture.

we give you a thorough guide for digitizing a drawing in Photoshop:

Sketch on Paper is Inevitable 

You must sketch your drawing on a new paper before scanning. You should use a white one instead of colorful paper because those papers always hamper the digitizing process. If you need to erase something, try to use a clean eraser. That will help you to look at your drawing in more detail. Most of the artists prefer to do a loose sketch with a pencil. However, make sure to use a fine tip pen or marker to highlight your sketch line.

Scan your Masterpiece

Scanning your drawing is the second step. You can scan your sketch on a regular scanner. But the scanner has to be at least 300 PPI (pixels per inch) to get the best result. If you do not have the scanner, you can also take the image of the sketch on your smartphone. 

You have to take pictures of your drawing with high quality as much as possible. Please capture it in full sunlight. Then you can email or drop it to Adobe Photoshop. However, scanning is always preferable to complete the scanning task.

Add Scanned Sketch into Photoshop and Adjust the Contrast

When you finish scanning, bring the scanned figure into the Photoshop program. However, here are some tips for you after adding your scanned image on software:

  • After dragging the scanned figure in the program, you may notice some defects such as blurred sketch lines, dirt, and smeared spots. You have to clean all those kinds of stuff with an eraser tool.
  • If the paper colour looks slightly off-white, you can also turn it to pure white. That makes your sketch more focused and fresh.
  • Your newly scanned sketch may appear in the lighter version of the software. In this case, you have to increase the contrast.

Layer your Drawing

Now you finish the basic steps. First, you need to build a background. Then your task is to add some layers to the drawing. Then you can add separate layers according to your need by clicking on the layer button.

Add Colours

Colour is an essential thing for a perfect drawing. Colour brings life to any image, whether a traditional sketch or a digital drawing. For this purpose, adding the most suitable color combination on a digital image is a crucial matter. So, you have to be extra careful to add colors to the sketch while digitizing the drawing.

You can use brushes for painting according to your sketch’s line size and shape. Hence, you have to think about which colors suit your sketch. The best thing is to decide the color combination before fixing it on the software.

Complete the Colouring with the Final Touch

The next important step is to shade the image after coloring. Even after adding the colors, you are not done yet. However, you can also draw some extra layers before shading if needed. Those layers will help you fix every part of the sketch to not mess up with the whole design.

Later, you have to click on the eyedropper tool and apply it for shading. Then you have to select the color picker and choose the color for the part you want to shade. For this purpose, you should choose a similar tone but with a darker hue for that particular part.

Save your Complete Work

The last and easiest step is to save your work. You can save your image in either JPEG or PNG format. You can crop the image if necessary. Then you have to resize your drawing. The resized image should not cross over 4000*4000 pixels. You also have to be cautious while resizing the image so that your design will fit on a t-shirt or sweatshirt and everywhere. 

This instruction is the basic guideline for digitizing a drawing in Photoshop. However, if you plan to digitize a drawing without Photoshop, you can choose an illustrator.

How to Digitize a Drawing in Illustrator

nature landscape on illustrator

Whether you are a professional artist, graphic designer, calligrapher, or simply doodler, digital drawing can make a significant impact on your work. Illustrator becomes popular day by day for digitizing the sketch. People are getting more interested in learning to digitize a drawing in illustrator.

Well, there is a strong reason behind it. To be specific, there are a lot of great benefits that you can get from illustration. For instance-

  • You can use illustrator for passing a valuable message because an image is more substantial than words. People get more attracted to colourful images than plain text. In this case, illustrations make the audience understand some applicable content better.
  • Its vibrant colours and unique features build up creativity. It also makes the artistic work more original. 
  • The best thing about this illustration is that it can create an aesthetic look. You can increase the marketing value of your product by adding illustrations of your drawing.
  • People always admire traditional art. But your creative design will be more attention-grabbing if you digitise your drawing in illustrator.
  • The illustration is also capable of creating human emotions. With this, if you successfully create an emotional environment around your product, you can make your brand more engaging in the business world.
  • Not only the words, but the pictures can also talk. So, illustrations can tell a story. You can visualise the specific product correctly by creating a perfect portrayal.

Now enough about the advantages of illustrations. We will try to give you proper instruction on digitizing a drawing in illustrator if you want to vectorize your image.

Step 1: Sketching and Scanning

The first task is the same as the digitization method in Photoshop. You have to draw the basic sketch on fresh and white paper. Always use the black pen or marker and pencil (if necessary). But please use a black marker for the final outline in your paper sketch. You can scan your drawing on the scanner or take a picture of it under proper lighting. 

Step 2: Editing the Scanned Image

The background has to be white, and the sketch must be black. If those lines seem lighter, you can draw the contrast line. In the meantime, you also have to erase all the dirt from the sketch. Moreover, you can complete these basic tasks in Photoshop.

The other option is to export the image to the illustrator after cleaning the smudges. You have to crop it, then turn it to black and white. For this purpose, go to image>Adjustments>Black and White. You have to select image>Adjustments>Levels (Ctrl+ L) and then eyedropper on the right side of the Levels menu. Then you need to click on the white background. Again, choose the eyedropper on the left for a darker sketch line. Then you can increase or reduce the black and white shade if you need.

Step 3: Outlining the Sketch

The next stage is to outline your stage. The pen tool is the best option for that. Here is the guideline of how to use a pen tool in illustrator-

  1. You have to select the Pen tool option.
  2. Place the Pen tool on the part where you will draw the straight line. Then click on it to mark the anchor point. You have to click it twice; otherwise, it will not show the editing.
  3. Click Edit>Undo to save it. Then, continue the process until you finish the entire outline.
  4. It would help if you closed the path by dragging or clicking on the position of the first anchor point (a circle will appear there).

Step 4: Color

Before coloring your drawing, take some time to think about what colors make your image the best drawn. In the Swatches panel of the illustrator, you will find a vast library of color collections.

After coloring, you can re-adjust the shape of the figures or add some due if needed. Then save the Image in JPEG form. Your task is finished!

Other ways to Digitize a Drawing

mountain cave fantastic realistic on phone

If you do not have a laptop or tablet for your digital artwork, you can use your smartphone. In addition, if you just started learning how to digitize a drawing, you will digitize a drawing on the phone for practice. Besides, many people nowadays like to digitize their drawings using smartphones. 

You need only a few steps to do that. You can find several digitize drawing apps on your iPhone or Android app store. Install one of the apps and follow these-

  • Take down your sketch on fresh white paper. 
  • Make the sketch line bold with a dark black marker.
  • Take a clear image of your drawing. Make sure that you capture the photo with a whole bright light.
  • Crop it and save it to your phone.
  • You can edit individual drawings and layer them by using the Layer feature.
  • The layer feature also allows you to fill your drawing with vibrant colours.
  • After editing, save the work in JPG format.

The mobile apps are specially designed for those who want to digitize a drawing on the phone. Apps such as Procreate, ibis Paint X, Adobe Capture can help you with that.


How Do I Convert My Drawings to Digital?

You can convert it by using a suitable scanner or taking a high-quality picture of your sketch. Then email the sketch to yourself. After that, add the scanned image to the software you use. Make layers on the line, then adjust the contrast and colors. In the end, save the Image into JPEG or PNG format.

Is There an App to Digitize Drawings?

There are so many apps that will help you to digitize your drawing. Adobe Capture is one of them. It is a mobile app linked with traditional Adobe programs like Illustrator or Photoshop. It helps you with taking photos of your drawing on the smartphone. This app has several features that play a significant role in digitizing your drawing.

Can You Do Digital Art on a Laptop?

You can use the laptop to make your art digital. But make sure the laptop has reasonable requirements for that purpose. Install the software on your laptop and make it work with your digital art process.

What is the Best Free App for Digital Art?

Free apps for digital art:

  • Krita
  • Artweaver Free
  • Microsoft Paint 3D
  • Microsoft Fresh Paint
  • MyPaint

Can Digital Art be Done on the Phone?

If you decide to digitize your artwork, many digital apps are here for you. Those apps are available on both your iPhone and Android. Choose one of the apps and make your digital drawing easy.


In conclusion, digitizing a drawing is not a big deal in today’s world. There is software that helps you to learn how to digitize a drawing. You have plenty of options for that. Hopefully, this guideline will help bring your digital art to a new level.

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