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How to Scan Art for Prints

Updated: May 27

Besides honing their craft and producing art, artists earn a living through their art. This most often takes form in art prints. So, if you are interested in scanning art prints, first, you must understand the process involved in art printing. First, you need to know how to scan art for prints.

If you own a scanner, you may scan it at home, but if you want to ensure your print is high-quality, it is best to contact a professional printing company like CityPress Inc. Let’s dive in and see how to scan art to make prints properly!

What Is Artwork Scanning?

You may turn your artwork into digital form by scanning it. Compared to taking pictures of artwork, scanning produces more accurate results.

Scanning produces high-resolution prints of art that can be sold and last without fading when done on a professional-grade printer. Scanned artwork is helpful for the following:

  • Artists and photographers

  • Museums and art galleries

  • Art enthusiasts and collectors

Scanned photos can also be used for exhibits, internet and print media, and marketing. Plus, you can make different sizes of your original artwork using scanned pictures.

In order to ensure your art prints are of the highest possible quality, CityPress Inc. provides the best art printing services. We ensure our clients get art prints that exceed their expectations.

How to Scan Art for Prints
Source: / Photo Contributor: Anton_Ivanov

How to Scan Art for Prints

Scanning your artwork is the first step in the art printing process. It means digitizing your artwork to prepare it for the printer, so you must know how to digitize artwork for printing.

Installing and connecting a flatbed scanner to a computer system is necessary. It's important to experiment with the scanner with something less valuable than your artwork before you get started.

In terms of scanning artwork, flatbed scanners that are portable and inexpensive are the ideal option. Even better, they're adaptable: you can scan sketches, and photos can be printed at a higher resolution and will match your original work. Now, you may wonder: “How do I get a high-quality scan of art?” When scanning your artwork, you should keep in mind the following:

  • Preparing the scanner

  • Adjusting the image and software

  • Color and resolution

  • Scan and save the artwork

Preparing the scanning equipment

Before using, wipe down the scanner glass with a moist cloth or glass cleaner, then let it dry. You want to ensure that the surface is clean entirely to avoid any imperfections and blemishes on your scanned artwork.

Any minuscule blemish or debris will be strikingly apparent. Consider what occurs when a camera's lens gets dirty. Even the tiniest dust or dirt particles can be seen by scanning a white piece of paper and then enlarging the picture.

Adjusting the image and software

Whenever you scan, unless you are scanning straight to a printer, make sure the size measurement on the software is configured to read in pixels. After you do that, you will need to do the following:

  • First, place the sketch, print, or image face down on the glass. You must make sure that the print area is aligned with the scanner's edges.

  • Then, launch the program for the scanner. Specific scanners have a button for scanning. However, some picture editing software may have an import feature or a stand-alone scanning application.

  • Next, make corrections to the alignment and preview again if your image is not centered. Use the mouse to draw the required scan area on the preview.

Color and resolution

Scan every image as "millions of colors" if you are using Photoshop or any other image-altering software. If not, use this for color and choose "grayscale" to create black and white pictures.

In order to get the proper file size in pixels, adjust the scanner's resolution. To ensure that you obtain 300 pixels per inch for your final print size, scan and make a scan for the web that has a maximum size of about 900 pixels.

If the software has an auto-exposure button, try using it. Then, if necessary, adjust the contrast and brightness.

If you are scanning color images straight to a printer, leave all color adjustments for those images at their default settings. Use the setting on your scanner if it lets you achieve better shadow separation.

Scan and save the artwork

You can select from a variety of file types for photos. The most widely known and used formats for image files are JPEG. However, if you scan artwork and save it as JPEG files, the photos may degrade when opened.

This is why TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files are more suitable for scanned artwork. Since TIFF is based on the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) color scheme, which is what professional printers use, it can be utilized with many editing programs like Illustrator and Photoshop without encountering issues.

Saving scanned prints as TIFF files is especially important if you are using Photoshop. This is because while in Photoshop, you may open and edit JPEG files, but you won't be able to save them as such. With TIFF files, your prints will have the most accurate color reproduction possible.

The Importance of DPI in Art Scanning

A crucial component of scanning (and digital printing) is the DPI count. You should scan at a minimum of 300 DPI and not increase the DPI through software if you are using picture editing applications such as Adobe Photoshop.

Anything scanned at less than 100 DPI will frequently look pixelated or blurry and won't be suitable for scanning to make art prints. The image will also have some distortion if the DPI is changed in Photoshop.

The most commonly recognized reproduction quality is 300 DPI, so be sure your scanner can scan at this resolution. The greater the DPI of the scanner, the larger you can print without pixelation, which means higher-quality art prints. 

The resolution or pixel concentration of a digital image shown on a screen is known as PPI. Although it's less significant, do not mix up the two terms if you are altering.

The Importance of DPI in Art Scanning
Source: / Photo Contributor: Potashev Aleksandr


If you want to sell art prints and wonder how the printing process works, the first thing you'll need to learn is how to scan art for prints. If you have a scanner at home, try to scan artwork by following the steps we mentioned above. 

Yet, if you want to ensure your prints are the highest possible quality, contact us! Happy scanning!


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