Hello friends! Today I would like to share with you how to clean up line art drawings using Photoshop and Illustrator.
This is just one of many ways I create designs, and a technique you can use to turn black and white drawings into digital line art — which you can then use any way you choose.
How to Clean up Line Art using Photoshop and Illustrator
- Start out with some ideas in your sketchbook, and make a short list of designs to try drawing. I often look online for inspiration and have a few things in mind before I get started.
- Once you have a design you like, re-draw it lightly on a clean page in pencil.
- Go over the pencil drawing with a black Sharpie or another fine black ink pen, to get something like this:
- Make sure you erase all pencil lines.
- Scan each design separately into Photoshop.
- Clean up the image as much as possible using tools such as desaturate, Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and erase to clean up any little black dots or dust bits that are showing.
- You can also use the colour selection tool to select the black line only, then create a new layer and fill it in with black. Once I am finished with this step, I save the file as a .PSD.
- Next open the .PSD file in Illustrator, and use the Live Trace or Image Trace tool to turn your design into a nice smooth vector image. This is a great tutorial on using Live Trace in Illustrator that I often follow.
- The result of this process is that you get much smoother lines. This is important if you are having the designs printed, especially in large sizes.
- Save the image as a .AI file.
- Open up the file in Photoshop and set the pixel size to something large, like 10,000 x 10,000 pixels.
- Fill or colour your line drawing however you like. I like to use layers, fill with gradients and use layer settings (ex. Screen) or just paint on another layer using a drawing tablet. There is basically an endless variety of ways you can use your line art.
- Save your finished design as the correct file type and size(s) for the POD site you are creating for. I always save a .PSD file as well (with all my layers in tact) so I can open it again later and use the same design multiple times.
Here are some examples of work that I have used this technique for:
And there you have it! Hopefully you now have a little bit of insight into how I create my designs for sale, and maybe even learned a new technique to try out for yourself.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments about this process in the comments section below.
Have a great week everyone!