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Putting Your Digitized Art Work on Discount Mugs and More


Are you the kind of person who enjoys doing personalized art work the good old-fashioned way, with paper and pencil? While this is the first way most artists create art, learning how to take it from paper to a screen can provide a whole new set of skills and more ways to sell or promote art work. For example, there are certain products that you just can’t put pencil drawn artwork on, such as coffee mugs, can coolers, and fabric tote bags. In order to brand these types of items, you have to convert your drawing to a digital image.

If you happen to be one of those die-hards who feels like digital images just aren’t the same as your original sketch, just think of the possibilities this digitizing skill could open up for you, especially if you are trying to sell your work. Your market will significantly expand as you begin to produce different types of products that will attract various groups of people. If you haven’t been selling your art work but feel like you could, this would be a great way to get started in the industry. Once you turn your hand-drawn images into digital, or vector, images you can resize them, color them, and make professional graphics print-perfect. You can even use them as digital stamps for things like cards and scrapbook projects. The possibilities are endless.

So how do you get your pencil drawing in a digitized mode that still looks professional? You’ll need a few materials to get started: a pencil and eraser, micron felt-tip pens in black, a scanner, and vector art software like Adobe Illustrator. For the purposes of this article, we will be referencing this software. If you just want to test out vector art and see if you like it before paying for a program, Inkscape is a free vector art software that you can explore and have fun with.

Step 1 – Draw an Image

Now, let’s go through the steps of the digitizing process. Step one is to draw an image. If you don’t have an image on-hand that you want to digitize, sketch one out in pencil.

Step 2 – Ink over the Drawing

Once you’re happy with your sketch, step two is to ink over it with a micron pen. These pens come in several sizes, so make sure you use the thickness you like. Five is the thickest, one is the thinnest. Once you’ve traced over your pencil sketch, erase any pencil marks. This will ensure that you get the cleanest possible trace when you scan it and put it in the vector program.

Step 3 – Scan the Drawing

Step three is to scan your hand-drawn image with a printer or other scanner to make it into a digital file you can work with electronically. This creates a picture of your drawing on the computer that is traceable by software. After you’ve done that, it’s on to step four.

Step 4 – Trace the Image

In this step, you’ll open your file in the vector program to digitally trace your art work. To do that, open the scanned image in Adobe Illustrator and click on the “Trace” button at the top of the screen. That will activate a lengthy drop-down menu with lots of options you can experiment and have fun with. For a simple trace that produces a very clean line, click on “Sketch Art.” Once the trace is complete, select the image again. In Adobe Illustrator, it will be a light blue color and look kind of fuzzy. Don’t worry though, you’ll touch it up in step five.

Step 5 – Clean the Image

The fifth step is the final stage of the process where you make sure everything is exactly the way you want it. First, you need to separate the graphic and erase anything that was traced but isn’t actually part of the image. Sometimes this is the outline of the paper that was scanned, specs of ink, eraser dust, or any other flaw that you don’t want in the final product. Then, with the graphic still selected, click “Object” and select “Expand” in the drop-down. Once you’ve selected that, a box will pop up where you can check what you want to expand. When that comes up, choose to expand both the “Fill” and “Object” by checking their respective boxes and clicking “OK.”

Now “Ungroup” everything. This is very important so that you don’t end up accidentally deleting your graphic. After you’ve done that, select anything you don’t want and hit delete. If you do end up deleting your image, it means things are either still grouped or not expanded, so Undo and go back over those steps to make sure you’ve got them down. 

Once you’ve done all that, you can color it in, resize, move things around, or whatever you want. When everything is exactly how you want it, save the file as .eps or .ai so the lines will stay in the vector format and you can still work with them. For a digital stamp, save your image as a .png file with no background. Then, you can put your electronic image on whatever you want.

Put Your Work on Something Awesome

We at Quick Ship Promotions sell customizable products like discount mugs, thermals, mouse pads, tote bags, and more that you can put your art work on. You can upload your image right to our website and it’ll come back on the product looking great. Acceptable formats of artwork include:

-Adobe Illustrator (save as vector art)


-Corel Draw

-Vector art (eps, ai, cdr)

-JPEG, PNG, etc.

-Black and White camera ready art

-Kindly include any font files or convert all text to outlines or curves

Once you’ve uploaded your artwork and placed it on a product, you’ll have a high-quality display of your talents for life, or an awesome gift—it’s up to you. With the combination of digitized art and our phenomenal products, the possibilities for your artwork are endless.  


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