Blot on the landscape
The wolf is a scuzzy scanner, but a mean cleaner-upper…
There are many wonderful picture book illustrators who hand-create drawings, collages, or paintings and then, once their gorgeous work is complete, they bundle it up and send it away (usually via their publisher) to be scanned. Until recently, this was always the way artwork was created and digitised. Loads of illustrators still do this and amazing (and nerve-wracking) it must be.
Now it’s time to fess up:
I don’t get my artwork professionally scanned, ever.
Not yet anyhow. I scan it myself on my A3 scanner at home.
My home scanner is not, er, exactly top of the range.
It’s an EPSON Workforce 7520 printer/scanner. It cost $380 from Officeworks in Melbourne, and I bought it in 2012.
My scanner is also slightly damaged.
Well, there are ink splats on the glass, which I can’t seem to get off. And there are also scratches on the glass from where I’ve tried to remove the ink splats with a little too much abrasion. There are also a few dents where I’ve thumped my EPSON printer/scanner as punishment for its poor communication skills (when it refuses to ‘talk’ to the network, accept A3 paper or eco-friendly cartridges, or when it lies about paper being jammed when THERE IS NO PAPER).
Confession: I don’t think this is too much of a big deal at this point.
Why? Because I still intend to develop the scanned work in Photoshop, tidying, adding elements, and correcting and modifying colour. Because the scanner still scans at 600 dots per inch, and gives the option to save files without compression. Because ink blots build character. Because my artwork is currently more of the bold and messy type – and less the tiny, intricate watercolour on smooth board type.
Finally, most of the work is for chapter and picture books. And these are generally, well, book-sized. It would be different if I was developing work for a huge poster, or the side of a bus… (Possibly it would be different, but if you spy an inky paw-print blot on the side of a bus, it could be Wolfie’s doing).
Here are just some of my scuzzy scans:
And here is a quick summary of some wolfishly-clever PhotoShop tips and tricks, for those who may want to apply them:
- Remove unwanted objects (and splotches) with content-aware fill
- An intro to the wonders of adjustment layers (non-destructive editing)
- Some clever fixes for uneven lighting of a white canvas
- A thorough explanation of the curves tool in Photoshop (so much better than levels)