Digitising your Artwork: Useful Tips and Resources

I have always been a person who sought therapy in the tactile quality of paints and paint brushes, paper, canvas, wood and other surfaces. There's something about the idea of fingers tainted with paints, muddy water jar and palette adorned with dried blobs of paints that's very soothing to me. Therefore, I never thought I would be digitising my art on computers!

When I launched my store and was posed with the challenge of digitising my art, I must admit, it was a dreadful prospect to say the least. 

Illustration on paper Illustration (acrylics on watercolor paper)

Illustration on t shirts

Digitised illustration printed on products

And thus began my journey to educate myself on the software programs used to digitise my art and looking for tutorials that best suited my need. In this blog post, I share tips and resources that helped me a lot in this process.

The Print on Demand company I work with requires me to supply my digitised files in .png format. (For the newbies who aren't familiar with the terms, files with a .jpg format are usually lighter in size and do not have a transparent background. Whereas, files with .png format are usually heavier and have transparent background). It's crucial we convert the scanned files of our artwork to .png images to avoid the background of paper showing up along with the illustration on products. For this very reason, the background is removed in a photo editing software while keeping the main illustration intact and then provided as .png file to your printer.

Photo Editing Software:

The first step is to narrow down on the software you want to work with. Adobe Illustration and Adobe Photoshop are usually the most frequently used software to digitise your art. I love using Adobe Photoshop since I personally find the tools very intuitive to use. I am not a Photoshop expert but I do know just enough to get the job done. It's very convenient to use once you know how a tool works and how it can be applied to fulfil your needs. If you like to try it out first before you invest your hard-earned money in purchasing it, click here for a free trial.

If you are not sure which software to use, don't worry, that's when my next point will help you.


When I started researching for resources that will help me digitise my artwork, I was overwhelmed by the sea of information available in the endless world of internet. I went through several resources on various platforms that guided me through the steps involved in digitising my artwork. But the absolute best and organised resources I came across were on Skillshare. The best part about it is that you can avail 2 months of free membership when you sign up. The Skillshare courses that I highly benefited from and always go back to are:

1) Modern Brush-Lettering & Calligraphy: From Sketch to Screen - by Cat Coquillette (www.catcoq.com)

2) Adobe Photoshop for Artists - Digitize, Present and Monetize your Art - by The Artmother (www.theartmother.com)

3) From Paper to Screen: Digitally Editing your Artwork in Photoshop - by Cat Coquillette (www.catcoq.com)

I honestly can't recommend these courses enough to anyone who wants to learn how to digitise your art using Adobe Photoshop. I was pretty certain about the software I wanted to work with, hence, I searched for these courses based on the Photoshop application. If you'd rather decide on the photo editing software later, I recommend going through several other courses that show step by step instructions in digitising your artwork using other software like Adobe Illustrator such as this:

How to easily digitize your Calligraphy & Lettering using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop - by Nicki Traikos (www.lifeidesign.com)

If you are an artist looking to expand your skills and have been on the fence about learning to digitise your art, these resources are enough to get you started. I would highly recommend to bag this skill as it opens up so many possibilities since we live in a digital world that only keeps becoming bigger by the day!

P.S: The links included are not affiliated and is purely shared on the basis of my personal experience. 

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