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Best Scanners To Use For Drawings Of 2023

Brandon Forder
  Dec 7, 2023 10:47 AM

Our list of the top scanners on the market for artists includes options for those who want to scan in linework as well as those who want to capture full-blown graphics.

An interesting conflict zone exists between conventional and digital art forms at the present time due to the scanner's practicality. While many artists and designers prefer to do linework on tablets, others insist that ink outlines are the way to go, which can then be scanned into a computer and colored digitally.

When a designer has to add graphics, pictures, or typography to a digital work to vectorise, a scanner can be essential because the capture is always more accurate than that from a camera's shutter. Fake photos can be off in ways that scans couldn't be if the lighting in the original was poor.

You might even scan a page from a magazine or book that has inspired you specifically so that you can use that color in your digital creation. You could get a portable Pantone Capsure if you wanted to, but a good scanner is often less than half the price of a device of this kind, so it all comes down to your budget.

If you answered yes, then keep reading to learn about the features, software, and hardware considerations, as well as our top picks for scanners on the market, along with a brief description and cost estimate for each.

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Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Hardware vs. Digital Resolution

Selecting the ideal scanner for artwork requires paying close attention to the scanner's native resolution.

We advise getting a scanner with a resolution of at least 4800 by 4800 dots per inch. This grade of scanner will not only be able to produce a near-perfect digital reproduction of a painting or drawing, but will also provide a high enough resolution for further editing in a photo editing program.

Now, you may have noticed that when researching scanners, the native resolution isn't the only resolution listed. Commonly, this is the software-improved answer (often referred to as Interpolated).

Because the software has introduced fictitious data points, we usually ignore this function.

Because of the potential for distortion at such a high resolution, we would never advise scanning at such a high resolution.

Scan Resolution 

Only the most advanced scanners will never compromise image quality. High resolution is always necessary for artists because it enhances details such as color, texture, tones, and hues.

For the best image quality, a scan resolution of around 600 x 600 dpi is recommended. It's possible that this is the highest resolution that may be safely avoided while printing text. On the other hand, the scan resolution is crucial for artists because it determines the final image quality.

Color Depth

In the same way that most modern art scanners can produce picture files with 48 bits of resolution, most can also produce files with 48 bits of color depth. Even with a low-cost model like the CanoScan LiDE 400, this holds true.

Remember that 48-bit color depth is ideal for printing, while 24-bit depth is the industry standard for web use.

Supported Media

It's ideal to have a scanner that can read film so that you can digitize those old family photos or film photography. Art scanners that support film are the way to go unless you know for certain you will never need to scan film negatives, 35mm slides, or medium format film.

Scanning Speed

Speed is less significant than other characteristics, such as color fidelity and sharpness, in my opinion, unless you are scanning artwork in large quantities (hundreds or thousands).

This is due to the fact that there is typically only a few seconds' worth of variation across models when comparing scanning speeds.

Although these seconds will mount up if you have thousands of photographs to process, I wouldn't worry too much about them if you're only scanning a few objects at a time.


The greatest art scanners will always have a cable for linking the gadget to a computer. Scanning and saving artwork requires this feature. Options that link to a computer through a USB cable are now available. This is the most used format, and it is included on many scanners.

In contrast, a high-quality flatbed scanner may have wireless connection options with a PC. In this case, Bluetooth is used to link the gadget to the PC. Keep in mind, though, that wireless ones may be very pricey, so you might not want to shell out a lot of money for them.

Instructions And Customer Service 

Scanners might be complicated to operate at first, so it's a good idea to have some kind of user guide available. If you look around, you should be able to find a manual that will explain how to complete the task more effectively.

Also, if you can't locate a manual, please contact customer service. It is likely that they will be able to send you a PDF version of the manual.


Do most scanners work with a Mac?

It's easy to take this for granted, but before buying a scanner, check to see if it supports MacOS.

Macbook users (i.e., the vast majority of artists and designers) should read the fine language, while Windows users don't have to worry about this. All of the scanners we recommend here are Mac-compatible, either because they come with native support for MacOS or because drivers for that operating system are readily available from the manufacturer's website.

What are good specs for a scanner?

If you want to scan in color, your scanner's optical resolution should be at least 4,800dpi. It may not be immediately apparent at higher levels, but it will be at lower levels.


The best scanner for your design and art needs to feature CCD scanning technology. Charged Coupled Device refers to a type of image sensor that employs a physical lens to focus the scanned picture on the scanner's imaging sensor. All the capture capabilities you'll ever need can be found in this lens, which is typical of older digital cameras; most of our recommendations below are CCD unless otherwise specified.

What is a flatbed scanner?

When scanning shiny or see-through objects, a flatbed scanner's glass bed comes in handy. They are commonly used for scanning fragile artifacts like old books, pictures, and artwork because they do not need moving the item during the scanning process.

The material is pressed down against the glass while the scan head slowly advances across the image in these scanners, which have a hinged lid for this purpose. In addition to their low cost and excellent scan quality, their user-friendliness also contributes to their widespread adoption.

What is a sheetfed scanner?

In appearance and function, a sheetfed scanner is not unlike from a laser printer. You can use them to scan text from documents without worrying about the quality.

The ADF is used to store paper for scanning. After a short trip through the machine's image sensor, it is dumped into an output tray.

In particular, these scanners are lauded for their automated capabilities. They are quick at document scanning and require almost minimal human input. However, you shouldn't use them for anything of high value or delicateness.


Your level of skill in drawing or other visual media is entirely in your hands. The same duty applies to ensuring that it is similarly delivered in digital form. Investing in a high-quality flatbed scanner will be a huge assistance. It will help you save time, money, and energy. Get the greatest one and stop worrying about it. Focus your energy on coming up with something truly original in your artistic pursuits.

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