Cleaning Scanned Artwork

Cleaning Scanned Artwork

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Hello! My name is Liz Staley and I’m a long-time user of Clip Studio Paint (I started using the program back when it was known as Manga Studio 4!). I was a beta-tester on the Manga Studio 5 program and for Clip Studio Paint, and I have written three books and several video courses about the program. Many of you probably know my name from those books, in fact. I write weekly posts on and on CSP Tips, so be sure to come back every week to learn more Clip Studio Tips and Tricks from me!

In this article, I’m going to teach you how to clean up and ink your paper and pencil scans and turn them into line art that is ready for digital color or finishing. Most of us probably draw digitally 99% of the time, but if you doodle something on paper and want to turn it into a digital art piece then you need to know how to get it ready for digital inking and coloring.

In this article we will cover the following topics:

Scanning Your Work
Adjusting Your Pencil Sketch



Scanning Your Work


You will need a sketch and a scanner for this step, obviously! It is possible to clean up and digitally ink a sketch from a well-lit photo, but you must be careful as you take the photo and make sure that it is as straight as possible. If you take your photo at an angle, your image will be distorted and you may have to do extra work to get it just the way you want it again.

Below is a photo of the sketch I’m going to scan for this article. I drew it with a mechanical pencil on 9x12 inch sketchbook paper.


Now I’m going to take my sketch over to my scanner. First, I like to take a clean cloth and wipe the scanner glass off to minimize any dust or hair that might end up in my scan. This is most important when scanning finished pieces, but still a good habit to get into.


Lay your sketch down on the scanner glass. The next steps will depend entirely on your scanner. I’m using an all-in-one scanner/printer/copier by Canon. For this model, I simply need to tap Scan on the touchscreen and then adjust the settings to my preferred ones. Your scanner may be different, so be sure to consult the manual for your model.

Below are the settings I used for my scanner. I usually scan as JPG files and will scan a minimum of 300dpi.


Once the settings are the way I want them, I tell my scanner to start scanning by pressing the button. I know the scanner is working when I see the following message on my computer screen.


Now that the sketch is scanned, it’s time to open it in Clip Studio Paint and get it ready for digital finishing!



Adjusting Your Pencil Sketch


Once you have your sketch scanned and saved to your computer, it’s time to open it in Clip Studio Paint. As you can see in the following screenshot, my sketch is sideways. So that’s the first thing I need to fix!


To fix the rotation, click on Edit - Rotate/flip canvas. Then I’m going to select “Rotate by 90 degrees Clockwise”, because that’s the direction my canvas needs to rotate in.


Now our drawing is the right way around!



The next thing to do is adjust the sketch so the pencil lines are more visible. Right now they’re pretty faint and having them darker will make it easier to ink and clean up in the next step.

For this step, I like to use the Level Correction. It can be found at Edit - Tonal Correction - Level Correction.



Using Levels takes a little getting used to, but they’re nothing to be scared of! First, make sure the “Preview” checkbox beneath the Cancel button is checked so you can see the changes that are being made.

In the screenshot below, I’ve moved the three “^” marks at the bottom of the Input graph toward the right hand side. Then, under the Output line I’ve moved the right-hand “^” toward the left. This made the paper in my scan darker, but also darkened the lines of the sketch as well.


Click on OK to commit the change.

It’s easiest to ink over a sketch that isn’t the same color as your line art. This is easily achieved in Clip Studio Paint by using the Layer Color function.

In the Layer Property window, click on the Layer Color icon, shown by the arrow in the screenshot below. You can see that the entire sketch layer is now a blue color because of this. To change the color of the layer, click on the blue bar next to the Layer Color box and choose another color from the color picker.



Next, create a new layer and go over your pencil lines with the inking tool of your choice. When you’re done, you can simply hide the pencil sketch layer and admire your clean line art!






Even though most of us probably do the bulk of our work digitally, it’s still a good idea to know how to do things “the old fashioned way” as well. I originally wanted this article to cover more in-depth about inking over a traditional pencil sketch and also to cover how to clean up a traditionally inked sketch, but this tutorial got too long! Would you like to see more articles like this or an in-depth tutorial for inking digitally over a pencil sketch? Let me know in the comments!

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Very helpful! I’d love to see your tips on how to scan traditional inked drawings into Clip Studio Paint.

Edward @ 2021-07-16 11:55:30 -0700