Coloring Book Publishing: scanning and editing the line art

how to scan line art

Coloring Book Publishing Scanning and Editing

You made it to part 2 of coloring book publishing scanning and editing. I am glad to see you again! In case you missed it, here is part 1. For this part I will explain scanning your image, editing the file, and making different copies of it. I do each of these steps with each coloring page I draw, and I recommend you do too. These files are essential to your coloring book publishing goals; they will help you keep organized and advertise. This step took me 40 minutes. With an embarrassing addition of 3 hours and 34 minutes for not saving the original file and having to erase all the color to get a line art file again.
how to scan line art
You will need two things for this part of the tutorial series: a scanner and GIMP software. I use an Epson V330 scanner. GIMP is free and you may download it here.

Coloring Book Publishing Scanning

Using your scanner’s instructions, preview-scan your image. You will get something that looks like this:
coloring book publishing scanning

You might want to fiddle with the settings a little to get a clear black and white scan. I always select 300dpi for the scanned image; this size is usually enough for anything you might do to the image later on. Press scan.

Coloring Book Publishing GIMP

Open this scanned image in GIMP. Now we will edit it to get a black and white image, cutting out any gray or off-white colors that may have come in. There are several ways to do this and I tend to mix and match. Sometimes I’ll do all three!

Open the levels by clicking on Colors > Levels.
coloring book publishing levels
Fiddle with the three tiny up-pointing levels you see. Usually sliding the middle one to the right will lighten any off-white and darken any thin gray lines.

You can also play with the brightness and contrast by clicking Colors > Brightness-Contrast. Slide the bars back and forth and see what settings give you a bright white background with dark black lines.

After you get the desired look, now click on Colors > Posterize. Scroll it down to just 2 colors. This will make sure that your file is just black and white.
coloring book publishing posterize

Save this image. I save as jpeg but you might want to use another file type. This image should contain “original” in the name and will be your original image to edit into all the other files you will need.

Coloring Book Publishing Sizing Images

Now we will create a series of images that you will want to have for advertising: advertising images, and preview images.
Click on Image > Scale Image.
coloring book publishing scale image

Mileage here will vary. I like to make my advertising images crops at 400 by 400 (square crop: see below) and 72dpi. I like my preview images 400wide at 72dpi without crop. My ad images are for instagram and other social media. My preview images are for my website store, RedBubble products, and so on.

To make a square crop follow these steps: select the rectangle selection tool. Click your mouse but do not move it yet. Press shift. Now when you move your mouse, it should make a perfectly square selection. You can also look to the bottom of your Toolbox to see Tool Options and Fix > Size your selection to a square. See this in-depth tutorial if you are struggling; it can explain things more eloquently than I.

An ad image versus a preview image:
coloring book publishing adcoloring book publishing preview

Next Time on Coloring Book Publishing

Woo hoo, you made it through the second step to publishing a coloring book. That much screen activity is bound to hurt your eyes. Give them a rest and come back next week where I’ll discuss why it is important to create a proper PDF file. See you again!

Call to Action

I hope you are finding value in this ongoing series. If you are, please consider purchasing a coloring page from our store here, or our redbubble here, or our gumroad here. As well, you can consider a monthly subscription to support us on our patreon here. Your support in any way means we can keep creating works and blogs to bring to you right here on Root Inspirations.

how to scan line art

Author: Colleen

1 thought on “Coloring Book Publishing: scanning and editing the line art

  1. So putting the image through GIMP would remove any faint lines that may be left after erasing on paper? What if my hand isn’t steady when inking over lines?

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