Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cyclops Inhumans Vs X-Men #4 Cover Step by Step Part 2 Scanning Line Art and Preparing for Color

Rachel Dodson inks the pencil drawing with a Windsor Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable #2 Brush and Dr. Martens Hi Carb Ink. 

Now, time to scan - Rachel's art is full of very fine lines and grays and details that may get lost in a traditional scan, so this is how we do it - mucho gracias to Alex Sinclair for telling me about this!

Step 1

 I set the art on my full size Epson 11000XL scanner and using the Epson scanning software in Photoshop, scan the art full size at 800dpi in the gray scale setting.

Step 2

 It will look something like this. Now Crop the art and Save as FILE_800ms.tif

Step 3 

I then go through and Lasso the whites, thin whites, white out corrections, little tiny greys formed by crosshatching and use Tolerance set to about 90 to "save" those white areas from disappearing into blacks.

Step 4

I then use the Burn set to 100%...

 and darken up the light lines- 

especially feather lines of Rachel's brushes.

Step 5

Once I am satisfied I'm saved my white lines/areas and the lightest lines, I set the Tolerance of the entire artwork at 128 - I double check by hitting undo/redo a couple of times. 

Step 6

Then I convert from Grayscale to Bitmap. 

and Save.

Step 7

I then clean the art at 25% as I color myself - 

if this is for someone else to color, then 50%.

I use the Pencil tool and/or the Line tool set to WHITE at 100%.

Step 8


Step 9

Now, I convert the art to the size I will color it at, the print size so the actual size of the printing (for a comic book cover 7" x 10.6") and 600dpi.

with the "Nearest Neighbor" Setting opted.

Step 10

Save with new file name FILE_LINEART.tif and ...

with these boxes checked!

VOILA, time to color (or set up for coloring more appropriately).


NOW - you don't need to do this - you can save A LOT of time by scanning in Black and White (Bitmap) - however, Rachel has so many fine lines these simply get lost. So if you have a clean graphic line - don't go to all this trouble... it ain't worth it.

In Part 3, 




  1. Thanks for posting this Terry. So the "secret" is to threshold the finely hatched areas separately at a lower tolerance than the rest of the piece and burn to darken the too light areas. I look forward to trying this. Do you ever use the Unsharp Mask, either in PS or in the scanning software?

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    2. Yep, individually... it's not for the faint of heart! I've spent up to two hours on some pieces preparing for color. But on average it can be done fairly quickly once you get used to it and know what the usual suspects are. I need to double check on the Unsharp Mask... I know I've seen it, but I don't touch it --- however it may be already built into old PS Actions of mine that I use regular... need to check.