Turn Your Doodles into Graphics

   Are you a doodler like me? The process of transferring a pencil or ink drawing to the computer might be easier than you think. No need for fancy tablets or equipment with these steps you can easily turn your art into a digital form and maximize its usability.

   There are many reasons you might want to turn your sketches into vector illustration files. One of them being you can layer your doodle with photos, or anything computer generated. Another reason is you now have your drawing in two places. The tangible art in your hand is more susceptible to coffee spills and dog mouths anyways.

Alright so let’s get started:

1.     Sketch

Let’s chat really quick about a few things that will make your life a lot easier when transferring your doodles. You’re going to want to have a very white piece of paper and a dark pen! Contrast is important in this process. Another tip with transferring your doodles – is keep it simple. If you are trying to transfer a shaded and detailed piece that has many variations in colors – this isn’t the tutorial for you! – But here is one that might work. 

2.     Take a Photo

The next thing you are going to want to do after you sketch out your desired shape or object is snap a photo! Good lighting will really help you out with this step, I suggest taking your photo with as much natural light as possible. Once you’ve gotten a good picture – go ahead and email, Dropbox, airdrop etc. it to yourself where you can easily access it on your computer.

3.     Open up Adobe Illustrator

If you don’t have the program, I suggest you get the 30 day trial here. You’re going to want to make a new document with your desired dimensions.

4.     Place your Photo

Now you are going to want to place your photo – you do this by going to File>Place. Resize the photo once it is placed to match the size of your document.

5.     Tracing

This is the fun part!! Select your image and you’ll see a button that says “Image Trace” on the toolbar. Click it! Now you will see a vectored version of your drawing! After you have done that you are going to want to press the button “Expand.” This button is also located on the toolbar above the photo.

6.     Cleaning it up

If you see weird lines or want to clean up your doodle. Go to File>Ungroup. Now you can highlight the pieces of the sketch that you don’t want.