Hey everybody! This is my first post ever on this great find of an art website/web forum! I have been looking for such a forum for a while to help get an answer to one key art question I have…
My question that I desperately need help with is this… I just wanted to know how to digitize small-scale art, sketchbook size and slightly larger canvas/paper sizes, at the highest quality? For archival purposes, to have extremely ACCURATE digital copies of real works of art to last for years as perfect reproductions (or as perfect as can be) of the actual works while the real stuff ages and slowly comes apart over time and the decades. (Also, besides digitizing solely for archival purposes, I’d like to be able to work with my art in the digital realm with programs like Photoshop, Painter, etc, for graphic design purposes be it to make band posters, CD covers, T-Shirts, webpages, etc, or just so I can digitally paint over these works.
What I'm talking about digitizing are drawings/illustrations made using mediums such as pen and ink, graphite pencil, charcoal, markers, colored pencils, water color paints, etc, of figures, characters, industrial designs (product designs), machines, landscapes, settings, concept art, and so on, drawn on paper mediums that range from your average recycled newsprint to drawing paper, marker paper, charcoal paper, etc. And most of what I want to digitize isn’t a bunch of complete, detailed illustrations or art works that are the result of incredible amounts of working time, most the stuff is quick pen and ink sketches and so on. And pretty much 90% of it is just grayscale, no color, and the stuff that is color isn’t so elaborate or finished that I need to excessively worry about color accuracy or anything like that. As for the amount of sketches/drawings that I want to accurately digitize at the best quality I can, it numbers around 120 or so.
So I don't know what to do! Whether to look into flatbed scanners or try to find some type of business or service that digitizes images at a professional level for a reasonable price? Thing is, having done some online research I've found there aren't really many scanners out there for this, or many scanners that are built and targeted for this type of usage. And the few I've seen, like the Epson 10000 XL Graphic Arts Scanner, which fits the job, costs a huge $2,500 amount, so that's not very realistic for me. The thing is though, I really don't know what the capabilities of a typical, affordable scanner in the $80-$400 price range are these days for this function and usage. The times I was digitizing art and using scanners in the past, (to then digitally paint over it within photoshop) was about ten years ago when I was in art school and I’ve been away from the art field since then and so I'm not up to date on how good a typical scanner is in current times. So I'm wondering, is a typical scanner that goes for a couple hundred dollars pretty much all I need? Would the image quality be good enough to really capture subtle line changes and subtle changes in tones and shades? Again, I'm pretty much not dealing with anything color, it's all grayscale, so color accuracy isn't an issue or a need.
So yeah, can anybody steer me in the right direction towards either an expensive scanner that would do the job, or inform me that a typical scanner is totally good enough? Or lastly, point out some businesses that could do this for me? For those who live in the U.S., I've recently moved to the Los Angeles, CA area (which would obviously be one of the places in the U.S. with the most likelihood of having such places and services), and I'm sure many of you live here, so maybe someone knows a place? And again note that I'm digitizing maybe 100 sketches, so if the price per piece of artwork were very expensive it wouldn't work for me since I have such a large volume of work to digitize.
Help! Any info or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Or if flatbed scanners are the charm, name me some models! Thanks!!!!