Scanning Art with a Flatbed Scanner

It's time to scan the art! I use an old and reliable Epson V37 letter size flatbed scanner.
I have scanned in large art at sizes around 36" x 24" and more with this method.

For big paintings, I set up a big table for support. 

I would scan one segment at a time, marking on the back of the painting the areas where I've scanned.

Scanning on an oversize painting or drawing on a letter-size scanner isn't really a big deal. One just needs to exercise patience and not rush the process. After scanning a particular section of the painting (make sure the painting is dry of course!), I would manually move the painting one section at a time over the scanner glass until the whole painting is scanned in.

I get dramatically better results than trying to photograph my art which I've found is not very consistent and lighting can prove very difficult.

When finished scanning, I then piece together the art in Photoshop using the Automate/Photomerge function.

I can adjust further in Photoshop if needed, but I find by default I get exactly what I see on the canvas. The only thing I really need to do is crop. I always scan at high resolutions.

When choosing a scanner, make sure the lid can be removed, or at least flipped out of the way completely to allow for large art to be placed over the scanner. My Epson Perfection V37 was perfect, because of it's low profile and the ability for the thin lid to flip over out of the way of the art that would cover the glass.

Scanning in a large 36" x 24" painting. I used books to support the painting underneath this large art piece.

A smaller painting being scanned in. I used some smaller books to weigh down the frame over the scanner.

My scanner settings. Different size paintings require different scan resolutions. If the art is very large, I'll scan it around 150-180 dpi. If the art is small, I'll go as high as 300 or 400 dpi.

The four scanned pieces of my lighthouse painting, ready to assemble in Photoshop.

The Photomerge function. You can experiment with either "Auto" or "Re-position" to see what would work best for you.

After merging, this is what the layers will look like in Photoshop. You can fine tune the masks if you wish, but I've never had to, Photoshop does an excellent calculation.

Completed Scan, minus the watermark of course. 


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