Have you ever scanned your drawings and paintings and then look at all the details on your computer screen? Did you try it to modify the digital file? This is something that I constantly do. Initially, it was to constitute the history of my artistic production and also to share my work on the blog. Now I do it also because the process is rich in discoveries and learnings. It is also the foundation of my series of hybrid paintings.

"Intermezzo" Digital hybrid painting created from scanned mixed media painting and pure digital effects with Corel Painter. June 2015. © 2015, Louise Lamirande.

“Intermezzo”
Digital hybrid painting created from scanned mixed media painting and pure digital effects with Corel Painter.
June 2015.
© 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Essential Tools

If you work in small size and on paper like me, it’s very simple. All you need is a scanner, a computer and software like Photoshop Elements, Picasa or another program to view digital images.

If Not

If you do not have a scanner, or if you work in very large sizes, with a lot of texture or on canvas, you may take pictures of your artworks or bring them to a professional to do it for you. It is unfortunately more complicated and far more expensive.

Closeup from the hybrid painting (mixed media and digital): "Intermezzo". June 2015. © 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Closeup from the hybrid painting (mixed media and digital):
“Intermezzo”.
June 2015.
© 2015, Louise Lamirande.

To Reconstitute Images

If your paintings are slightly larger than the surface of the scanner it is possible to scan your artwork section by section and then reconstructed it automatically with the “Panorama” feature of Photoshop Elements. It’s magic!

The Resolution of the Scanned Images

The next step is to view your scanned images on your computer screen. I use Photoshop Elements, but it could also be a free software like Picasa or GIMP. If you scanned your paintings with a high number of pixels per inch (ppi), you will see that they can be seen much larger than they are in reality (easily 3 to 6x bigger). This is where the fun begins… On the other hand, the higher the resolution, the larger your file will be. If you make it a common practice like me, you will quickly need an external hard drive.

Another closeup from the hybrid painting (mixed media and digital): "Intermezzo". June 2015. © 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Another closeup from the hybrid painting (mixed media and digital):
“Intermezzo”.
June 2015.
© 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Observation of The Details

Now, open you images with the software of your choice and to all the details, brush strokes, lines, colors and textures. See you artworks differently…

Crop your Images

When one of my images is opened and enlarged with Photoshop Elements, I like to crop it and keep just a small portion of it (I save this new file under a different name to be able to repeat the process many time). Doing this is useful to show closeups of my paintings on the blog, but it is also great to stimulate my creativity and to help me discover new abstract compositions. It’s a pleasant and fast way to do preparatory sketches for new paintings and get inspired. I encourage you to do the same.

Take Risks … Without Real Risk

Finally, if you have a software or app with editing features, it’s time to free your creativity and play with the digital versions of your artworks and modify them without the risk of damaging the originals. Don’t forget to create working copies of your files and get started!

Increase or decrease the contrast, change the colors, cut and recompose your artworks, add gradients, digital painting, effects, filters, … The list of what is possible is endless.

What is wonderful about all this, it is that your original paintings are not in danger. At worst, you’ll have to destroy digital files. At best (and that’s what I wish you), you will discover new creative paths to explore.

Thanks for your visit on the blog and see you soon,

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