Speed up Your Sketch Clean-Up Process (Without Photoshop!)

Do you need a way to clean up your sketches faster?

You utilize sketches for these purposes, for example:

  • illustration
  • lettering
  • web design: wireframing, ui sketches
  • maybe you give sketches to the client as a deliverable, but you want them to look more clean and presentable

And…

  • your sketches could be cleaner / don’t photograph well
  • you hate having to pull up Photoshop to clean them up (and like, you are working mainly with Illustrator anyways)
  • you need a way to work faster!!!
  • you don’t have a scanner / hate having to use a scanner

Here, try this!

I’ve adopted a simple solution to speed up my process of going from analog sketch to a cleaner, more usable digital image of the sketch, using 
1) my phone camera and 
2) the Snapseed mobile app
.

This solution is particularly helpful as it helps me clear up sketches just enough so that they’re easier to work off of. And this is great for a sketch-to - illustrator process, but can be used for so many other applications.

But first: download Snapseed from the app store.

  • It’s completely free
  • This app will be useful for editing everyday photos too, but I tend to use it a lot for cleaning sketches!

Step 1: take a photo with your phone

  • hold it up to a window for better lighting
  • avoid creating shadows (like with your hand or your phone. try to keep the edges down)

Step 2: Open the Snapseed app. Through the app, open the file (must give permission to SnapSeed to access your photo library)

Step 3: Make edits using the app’s easy-to-use editing features:

  • With very simple swipes and gestures, you can edit the photo:
  • crop (even has perspective crop, rotate, skewing)
  • This is what I do to almost every sketch:
  • 1: Crop (remove unnecessary parts)
  • 2: Make the image grayscale: Decrease saturation to zero (adjust dial to “Saturation” and then swipe left.
  • 3: Increase contrast: Increase Highlights (swipe right), Intensify Shadows (swipe left to go darker), & Adjust Contrast (swipe right).
  • 4: Then save & export the image! You can “save as” (Snapseed will create a new file), or “save”, which means you write over the original file (Snapseed will ask you for permission to modify the original).

Voila!

So from there, I email the image to myself or save it to Google Drive, then bring the file in to Illustrator, where the digitization begins.