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c631d2db
Community Member

Image editing for hand-drawn illustration

Hello fellow illustrators,

 

I work in a completely hand-drawn, ink and watercolor style with no digital enhancements.  I am having trouble getting my photos to look professional in my portfolio.  I have tried using a scanner and alternatively, a camera, but I can't seem to keep JPEG images from becoming grainy.  Many of the images are taller than they are wide and the sliding window doesn't accommodate them fully.  When I try to resize them to fit the sliding window or surround them with a plain background (rather than the busy oilcloth I typically take photos on) they become annoyingly fuzzy.  I am sure this is affecting my views and overall client perception of my work, but I am not digitally versed enough to know what to do.  

 

What software do you traditional illustrators use to present your work in the best possible light?  How do you deal with small pictures (I do a lot of minature work) that can look grainy when they are sized up to fit with Upwork's 1050x750 px specifications?  How do you handle the sliding window?  I keep seeing lovely images on Upwork's Project Catalog that look like they stepped out of the monitor--but were obviously hand-drawn.  

 

How do I get there?

 

Thanks,

Ainsley

19 REPLIES 19
8668164c
Community Member

Hi

c631d2db
Community Member

Glad to be here and great to hear from you, Rabby!

sullivanliz
Community Member

I'm not an illustrator nor an I likely to need to hire one but I think your portfolio looks great! Your work is lovely with a distinctive style that I think comes across really well in the pics. A few do look slightly blurry but I can't imagine that putting off a client as the work is clearly high quality. I can understand your frustration though!

 

Regarding your question, you could try saving your images as PNGs rather than JPGs as they can be much better quality. If you're making an image bigger than the original though it's always going to lose information and become blurry. You need to make the original image high resolution and size down, rather than up. Make sure you're using a good enough camera or scanner (either is ok as long as they're decent) too. Doesn't have to be super-duper, anything modern should be fine.

I should probably experiment with increasing the pixelation on my iPhone's camera.

Thank you for your encouragement as well!

celgins
Community Member

I'm in agreement with Liz, so most of my comments are aligned with hers.

 

As Liz pointed out, the issue you're having is best resolved in the beginning stages when you snap the photo. If the photo is high-resolution, you would scale down the image--not up. You wouldn't lose any quality by scaling down.


Again, as Liz stated, you can try saving your files as PNG and see if that helps. JPGs and PNGs use different compression techniques, so PNG files are often larger in file size. Both JPG and PNG can handle 16 million colors, so you shouldn't lose any in coloring by choosing PNG.

 

To answer your questions:

 

What software do you traditional illustrators use to present your work in the best possible light?

I use Adobe Photoshop for photo manipulation, touch-ups, graphic design, and some illustrations. I use Adobe Illustrator to create high-resolution vector graphics and designs. For the types of hand-drawn illustrations you're so great at, I would use a digital drawing tool, pen (stylus) with a tablet, and pair it with Adode Illustrator. But even better for digitized hand-drawing is Adobe Fresco and AutoDesk's Sketchbook. Each of these tools can have a steep learning curve if you've never used software to create digital illustrations.

 

How do you deal with small pictures (I do a lot of minature work) that can look grainy when they are sized up to fit with Upwork's 1050x750 px specifications?

I think it depends on your meaning of "small." Are you talking a standard 8.5" x 11" page or much smaller? If your designs are postcard size, you should still be getting a quality, high-resolution photo when you snap a picture. If you're talking a business card size, the quality should still be really good, but you might have to zoom in with your camera, and make sure the shot isn't blurry. Either way, it goes back to my and Liz's point about the origin of the picture. If it's high-resolution, you probably wouldn't have too many issues with grainy or blurry looks because you would be scaling down to 1050px x 750px -- not up.

 

How do you handle the sliding window?

I'm not sure there is much you can do about Upwork's sliding window. It's a set size, so anything showing will either fit or be cut off. It just depends on the dimensions of the JPG or PNG you upload.

 

I also agree with Liz that your portfolio contains really great designs and illustrations, and I think the style, perspective, and color schemes alone are enough to entice a client to reach out to you. I know it's irritating when things seem grainy or blurry, but I don't see most clients paying attention to that--the artwork is too good to focus blurriness.


Two more things to consider:

 

1) This might seem nit-picky, but maybe you don't want higher quality designs in your profile? ðŸ˜† There are lots of image pirates and thieves out there, and you definitely don't want to see your designs posted on someone's Pinterest page or another site! You watermarked your images and that's great, but there are so many AI tools and other ways for savvy fraudsters to remove watermarks these days.

 

2) When you upload an image, I'm almost 99% sure Upwork compresses it. This means, that some portion of the blurriness and graininess you see may be due to Upwork's compression functions. Most platforms like Upwork's have to compress images because graphics take up a lot of space, and there are millions of images in freelancer's profiles.

 

But, if you're adamant about increasing the quality, I think you have to go back to the start and make sure your photos capture a high-resolution picture.

c631d2db
Community Member

Thanks for the pointers, Clark!  I am going to try your suggestions this week and see if that improves my marketability.

 

Here's a related problem:

 

My biggest image editing issue (besides the clarity stuff we discussed) is removing the beige watercolor paper background from an illustration which is going to be applied to a white card or book page.   I'm not, personally, interested in converting my physical drawings to digital artworks.  I have tried using free image editors from the Web, but they inevitably remove the soft, transparent blue skies and similar elements from the background.  They're not good at telling paint from paper, apparently.  The old analog-to-digital rendering problem.  I suspect Adobe Photoshop does better, but for me, it's cost-prohibitive.  Do you know of other, less expensive software that can prepare scans of hand-drawn "fine" art for printing?  Does Adobe InDesign (which I'll need to get anyway to do storyboards) have a built-in image editor?

 

Thank you for sharing so much detailed advice.  It's super thoughtful of you to go to the trouble.  

 

If you'd like to send over one of your scanned images, I can mess with it and see if we can get a blur-free version of the image that you can use for the portfolio.

In general, my problems have not been with blur but with positioning the image on the screen.

celgins
Community Member

I somehow missed this a few months back.

 

Yes--I think it's inevitable that you will lose something when converting physical drawings to digital artwork. As amazing as software applications are at detection, interpretation, and correction, they never seem to duplicate physical color schemes 100%. Like you said--it's an old analog-to-digital rendering type problem.

 

I have not tried other less expensive applications in years. I used to play with Corel PaintShop Pro quite a bit and I liked its functionality. I think the more popular industry tools like Photoshop are best, but it is definitely cost-prohibitive for many.

 

Adobe InDesign has no real capacity to edit images. It has built-in functions that basically allow you to make edits in either Photoshop or Illustrator..

celgins
Community Member

By the way, I think your hourly rate is too low. Your rate should mirror your real-world experience, your skills, and the quality of your artwork. Your rate should not be based on the amount of time you've been a freelancer on Upwork.

 

The average rates I see for children's book illustrators and other designers with your qualifications is $20.00/hour - $50.00/hour. Your qualifications deserve a rate in this range because good clients appreciate quality, and most will pay for it.

c631d2db
Community Member

Thank you also for your opinion on my work.  It's so helpful to have a professional assessment.  I'm glad you like it and glad you think it commands a higher wage!

4a8cc810
Community Member

Hello fellow artist,

 

I completely understand your struggle with showcasing hand-drawn illustrations digitally. For preserving the quality of your work, especially when dealing with intricate details, consider using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. These tools allow you to adjust resolution, tweak contrast, and refine details, maintaining the integrity of your illustrations. To address the issue of small images appearing grainy when resized, try experimenting with the sharpening tool in your chosen software. Additionally, regarding Upwork's specifications, make sure to resize your images while maintaining the original aspect ratio to prevent distortion. As for the sliding window, you can create a consistent background or border to enhance presentation. To simplify the process, I recommend trying the iPhone version of PicsArt for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive editing features. It's a handy tool to refine and present your traditional artwork professionally. Best of luck with your portfolio!!

8793c7f2
Community Member

We recommend using professional software like Adobe Photoshop or Procreate for precise image editing of hand-drawn illustrations. These tools  offer advanced features and flexibility for achieving high-quality results. While PicsArt MOD APK may offer convenience, it's important to prioritize quality and functionality for professional work.

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

a9c09f9a
Community Member

It seems like you're experiencing an issue with changing the cover photo for one specific playlist on your music streaming platform. This could be a compatibility or cache problem with that particular playlist. To troubleshoot, you may want to try clearing the cache for the app or, if you're using PicsArt MOD APK for photo editing, ensure that the image you're trying to use meets the platform's requirements. If the problem persists, consider recreating the playlist or reaching out to their support for further assistance.

f5d41eb0
Community Member

In today’s world of technology and development era, every mobile user wants a highly enhanced video whether he is the content creator or not. Remini Mod APK is one of the best applications that relate to every aspect of editing, whether photo or video. It provides a user-friendly interface with advanced tools and filters that are designed with modern Artificial intelligence algorithms.

751b7b91
Community Member

"Consider using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to preserve the quality of your hand-drawn illustrations digitally. Adjust resolution, tweak contrast, and refine details to maintain integrity. Experiment with the sharpening tool to prevent graininess when resizing. Ensure you resize while maintaining the original aspect ratio to avoid distortion. Create a consistent background or border for presentation. Try the  iPhone version of picsart  for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive editing features. Good luck with your portfolio!

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

726c775e
Community Member

Hi Ainsley,

Improving the presentation of hand-drawn illustrations digitally is indeed a challenge, but there are ways to enhance your images. Consider experimenting with scanning or photography, then use image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, or PicsArt to adjust brightness, sharpness, and color balance. When resizing, maintain aspect ratio to avoid distortion, and consider upscaling techniques to prevent graininess. Focus on composition and layout when presenting your work online, and don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers. With practice and experimentation, you can elevate the quality of your illustrations and impress clients.

Best,
Michael Clarke

726c775e
Community Member

Hey Ainsley,

Navigating the digital landscape with hand-drawn illustrations can be like trekking through uncharted territory. But fear not! There are ways to breathe life into your creations. Consider scanning or capturing your artwork with precision, then wield the digital brush of software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, or even venture into the realm of Remini—a powerful ally in the quest for enhancement. Keep aspect ratios sacred to avoid distortion, and embrace upscaling techniques to thwart graininess. Craft your online gallery with care, letting each piece tell its story amidst the digital noise. And remember, feedback from fellow travelers can be the compass that guides you to success. Embrace the journey, for with each step, your illustrations will shine brighter and captivate hearts.

Bon voyage, 

Michael Clarke

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