Thinking of sharing your art online, or even sending it off to make some professional quality prints? It’s possible to make money doing what you love – making beautiful works of art – but you need the right tools to accomplish that.
Without the right scanner, it doesn’t matter which medium you’re using; from paint to pastels, your bold and vivid work just won’t come out clearly. How can you expect customers to pay for artwork if it’s not crystal clear and lovely to look at?
It’s no big deal though – here is a list of five scanners you can trust to capture your drawings, paintings, collages, and more, at a range of budgets to suit a variety of customers. Just plug them into your laptop or computer and you’re good to go!
Jump ahead to..
- Best Scanner For Artists Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Scanner For Artists Reviews
Offering 4,800 DPI scanning quality for less than a hundred bucks, Epson’s Perfection V39 is sure to please any artist, offering gorgeous clarity and amazing detail. A high rise, removable lid means you can scan from pretty much anything!
It’s up to you where your art is stored: either scan directly to cloud storage services like Google Drive or onto a computer’s hard drive. Epson’s Easy Photo Scan and Document Capture Pro are also provided to make this even easier.
It’s simple and easy to use, with distinct buttons for all scanning jobs, as well as an integrated, space-saving kickstand, allowing for vertical placement in tight offices. No need to sacrifice good quality art if your studio is on the small side.
Got oversized prints and art that won’t quite fit? No problem! The included ArcSoft Scan n Stitch Deluxe 2 software is included for absolutely free. It might take some getting used to, but you can make your own giant prints with no specialist equipment!
- High quality, 4800 DPI scanning for the detail your art deserves
- Simplistic, straightforward design with removable lid for easy access
- All required software (and more bonus stuff) included for free
- Scans directly to the cloud
- Not that compatible with Mac – only for the main user of the device
- High quality scanning for photos and documents : 4800 dpi optical resolution (1) for amazing clarity and detail
- Preserve priceless memories: Restore, archive and share family photos for generations to come
- Scan to Google Drive and other cloud services (2): Epson Document Capture Pro and Easy Photo Scan software included
- Convenient: Easy to use buttons for scan jobs, plus a space saving built in kickstand for vertical placement
- Scan over sized prints, documents and artwork : ArcSoft Scan n Stitch Deluxe 2 included (3)
Light, low-key, and easily fitting onto the smallest of shelves, the Canon CanoScan Lide 300 is perfect for student artists looking for a decent scanner that creates good quality images at 2400×2400 DPI. Flat and funky, you can put it anywhere you want.
Thanks to a patented, advanced Z-Lid, the scanner can be elevated parallel at up to 21mm away from the plate, so even if you’re scanning a bulky sketchpad, book or stack, the image won’t be distorted and still appears in high quality.
Unique EZ buttons separate all of your tasks, so you can scan documents or photographs with a single touch, usually taking just ten seconds to fully render your art on the screen. Now that’s speedy service!
Powered solely by a USB cable, there’s no need for additional adapter cords – this not only allows the scanner to function but also transfers your images digitally and recreates them on your PC or laptop like magic.
- Compatible with Windows and Mac computers/laptops
- Ten second fast scanning with 2400×2400 DPI for crystal clear images
- Miniscule footprint and impressive technology at an affordable price
- Powered and connected by USB only
- Not as high quality as other scanners on this list
- Scan documents quickly and easily with fast scanning up to 10 seconds
- Digitize documents and images thanks to 2400 x 2400 dpi resolution, and with image enhancements, such as fade correction and dust reduction, your photos will continue to look great
- Enjoy ease of use with 4 'EZ' buttons. With auto scan mode, the Scanner automatically detects what you're scanning; Built in PDF button, easily scans and saves pdf's that are editable and searchable
Got more money to play with? The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i is definitely a higher-end scanner, but boy does that higher price tag give you access to some amazing features, on both PC and Mac desktops or laptops.
Powered either by AC or USB, depending on your preference, it can hold up to ten pages in its automatic document feeder; this allows you to scan up to twelve double sided pages in just one minute!
Scan documents directly to your cloud service of choice, allowing you access to your art no matter where you are. This is compatible with Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox and more, a versatile option that makes an artist’s life way easier.
Its intelligent, automatic image processing includes auto color and paper size detection, as well as de-skew and auto-orientation features. This is all at up to 600 DPI for color pages, providing a crisp and satisfying final image.
- Automatic scanning – does 24 pages in one minute (double sided)
- One button simple operation, simply scan and then save
- Easily stored thanks to compact design
- Can take a variety of paper sizes
- Very expensive, yet several cheaper scanners have a better DPI value
- One touch scanning with Quick Menu options for PC and Mac
- Scan up to 12 double-sided pages per minute - Holds up to 10 pages in the automatic document feeder
- Compact and portable design is USB or AC powered
- Intelligent automatic image processing including auto color detection, paper size detection, de-skew and orientation, and more
- Scan documents directly to the cloud and access them from anywhere - compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and more
Want a scanner you can take with you wherever you go? Check out the Brother DS-650, a mobile device that scans 16 pages a minute, no matter whether you’re working in color or black and white. That’s incredibly quick and saves a lot of effort!
Powered by a standard micro USB 3.0 cable (included with your purchase) you don’t need to be at home to use this scanner – just plug into your PC, laptop or compatible smart device and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Not even a foot long and weighing a little over a pound, this is in no way heavy to carry around with you. It could even fit in your back pocket, depending on how big it was! For artists on the move, this is an incredibly impressive footprint.
Download the free iPrint&Scan application for your computer, allowing you to send art directly to your preferred source, whether that’s your PC, a cloud service, an email and much more. It’s compatible with Mac AND Windows, so no need to stress!
- Small, sleek scanner that fits in your bag, purse or pocket
- Optimizes images for you whilst scanning
- Comes with one year warranty and free lifetime support online
- Free software suite for scanning and editing art
- Only 300DPI – still clear, but not at all the best quality you can get
- FAST SPEEDS - Scans color and black and white documents at blazing speed up to 16ppm. Color scanning won’t slow you down as the color scan speed is the same as the black and white scan speed
- ULTRA COMPACT – At less than 1 foot in length and only about 1.5 pounds in weight you can fit this device virtually anywhere (a bag, a purse, even a pocket)
- READY WHENEVER YOU ARE – The DS-640 mobile scanner is powered via an included micro USB 3.0 cable, allowing you to use it even where there is no outlet available. Plug it into your PC or laptop and you are ready to scan
- WORKS YOUR WAY – Use the Brother free iPrint&Scan desktop app for scanning to multiple “Scan-to” destinations like PC, network, cloud services, Email and OCR. Supports Windows, Mac and Linux and TWAIN/WIA for PC/ICA for Mac/SANE drivers
- OPTIMIZE IMAGES AND TEXT – Automatic color detection/adjustment, image rotation (PC only), bleed through prevention/background removal, text enhancement, color drop to enhance scans. Software suite includes document management and OCR software
Last but not least, we have another option for portable scanning with the Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi scanner. This baby might cost double the Brother scanner, but it also has double the DPI, and you don’t even need a computer to scan with it.
All you need to do is insert your (flat) art into its mouth and the Doxie does everything else for you, scanning full color pages in just 8 seconds; on one charge, it can scan up to 400 pages and it will store 4,000 before needing to sync and delete.
Being a teeny tiny unit, you can scan your art, documents or photos wherever you go, tucking it into a bag or a drawer when not in use so it doesn’t take up unnecessary room. No office space or art studio? No problem!
Thanks to their Mac and PC compatible software, the Doxie allows you to sync your scanned art using either USB or Wifi, so you can organize and create searchable PDFs using their award-winning technology. Plus, you can even sync to the cloud!
- Fully protected by one year DoxieCare comprehensive warranty and customer service
- Scan anywhere with no computer or laptop – just the Doxie and your art!
- Ultra portable, with all the software you need
- Makes automatic image adjustments so your art is the highest possible quality
- Can only scan completely flat artworks – size of scanning plate cannot be altered
- 【Go Paperless】Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi delivers smarter portable scanning that you can take and sync anywhere – no computer required.
- 【Easy Wireless Scanning】Doxie's rechargeable battery, included memory, integrated Wi-Fi, and included Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad apps make it easy (and fun!) to go paperless. Simply insert your paper to scan full-color pages in just 8 seconds at up to 600 dpi. Scan up to 400 pages per charge, store up to 4,000 pages before needing to sync.
- 【Tiny and Battery Powered】Doxie is tiny – the size of a rolled up magazine – which makes it easy to tuck it in your bag or a drawer when you're done scanning. Whether you’re scanning at your desk or on the go, Doxie gives you instant access to your scans wherever you are.
- 【Amazing Software and OCR】Doxie's included Mac and PC apps let you sync scans via USB or Wi-Fi to your desktop to organize and create searchable multi-page PDFs with award-winning ABBYY OCR technology. Save scans to your desktop, local apps, or your favorite cloud services — like Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote, and iCloud Drive. Or, sync scans to your iPhone or iPad with Doxie's iOS app to save and share your scans wherever you are.
- 【Protected by DoxieCare】Every new Doxie includes a comprehensive 1-year manufacturer warranty. Complete with access to the best support in the scanner industry to help you scan, organize, or just provide tips on the best ways to scan your paper.
CCD VS CIS Scanners – What Are They & Which Is Best?
CCD or charge coupled device scanners are reliant on refraction, using carefully positioned mirrors to bounce light at a sensor. This might sound confusing, but it’s essentially the same process a digital camera undertakes.
CIS or Content Imaging Sensor scanners are slightly more simple to understand – whatever you’re using to scan must press directly against the machine, hence darkness filling any gaps in the final image.
So long as you’re only going to be producing flat work sized A4 and smaller, you’ll be fine with a CIS scanner, which is budget friendly and more than capable of capturing crisp, clear images of whatever you make.
However, if you’ve got a little more money to spend, then you can opt for a CCD scanner, as these are fantastic at picking up the textures of alternative materials like paints and pencils. Even if it’s not totally flat, the image should still come out great.
Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A Scanner
Size & Weight
Depending on the size of your artwork typically, as well as the area you intend to store the scanner, you really need to think about its size! They aren’t especially big, especially the flatbed and portable options, so you shouldn’t need to worry.
That being said, it’s worth measuring your desk area and double checking the scanner you want will definitely fit. Of course, if you’re opting for a Doxie or another portable device, you don’t even need to think about this – it fits basically anywhere!
DPI or Dots Per Inches is a very important measurement when it comes to scanning your art to reproduce it digitally. It sounds complex, but it basically refers to the number of pixels it is capable of detecting and recreating – the more, the better.
This is important: for a decent quality that will be sellable, you want at least 300DPI, if not 600DPI from your scanner minimum, and aiming higher is only going to improve the overall clarity and precision of your digitally rendered art.
Put it this way – if you’re scanning an A4 artwork and you want to sell A3 prints of it, you’ll only be able to stretch it out larger if you have met this minimum requirement. Otherwise, it’s going to be blurry and embarrassing!
If you work mostly or only in color, in an ideal world, you want to aim for 4,800 DPI, though this can set you back a pretty penny. More than this and the difference is barely noticeable, but less than this is obvious to anyone who looks closely.
Unfortunately for Apple fans, the majority of scanners are designed to be used with PCs running Windows (or user-generated OS like Linux) but not necessarily compatible with your precious iMac or Macbook Air.
Always, always double check that the scanner comes with or can receive a MacOS driver before you buy it! Depending on the model, you may have to download and install it separately, but the manufacturer’s site should clearly state if this is possible.
Likewise, you should also try to get a scanner that comes with the software you need to actually scan and edit your art. You can find free to use software online, of course but it’s not the best, and anything of a decent standard requires additional payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to scan or photograph artwork?
That depends! If you don’t have either a decent camera or a scanner, then the latter is going to cost you much less to pick up, requires zero additional accessories and essentially takes your work from physical to digital in just one easy step.
If your art tends to stay on the page and is usually A3, A4 or smaller, you’ll be fine with a simple flatbed scanner; if you’re an artist that tends to think and work in 3D or even 4D, then a camera might be easier to use, so you can fully capture the piece!
Quality isn’t really debatable between the two – scanning actually prevents things like light, shadows or other distortions from your movement from impacting the final image. A camera might create a more HD image, but it’ll be way harder to achieve it!
Which is better quality, JPEG or PNG?
PNG images are compressed and reproduced in a higher resolution, but at a cost! They take longer to upload and download, so if you’re working with a lot of files at once, you might want to decide if the slight increase in quality is worth it.
JPEG images aren’t necessarily poorer in quality, they’re just less compressed, which means they’re quicker to load and send. When you’re only using small file sizes, JPEG should be absolutely fine – for large files, it’s worth the wait for PNG.
What do you do if you don’t have a scanner?
If you have a smartphone, it’s possible that it has a scanning feature – most Samsung Galaxy phones above the S8 do, for instance – and this uses your phone’s camera like a scanner to capture only your art and none of the surroundings.
You could also use your phone or a camera to take a close up photograph of your art and then crop it down for the sake of printmaking, though this might affect the quality depending on how many megapixels your camera has.
Your local library or copy shop will also probably be able to provide access to a scanning or copying device – usually one far more expensive than you’d be able to afford. You might have to pay to use it, but it’s probably only a few cents a pop.
Similarly, if you’re a college student your local campus buildings or libraries might have some of the facilities you’re looking for. It’s worth checking out what equipment they have, especially in the art department, as it might be free to use for students.
Can I take a picture of my art instead of scanning it?
You can, yes, but it might not come out as well! Although you can definitely get cameras that create images as clear as a scanner would, those tend to cost quite a lot of money, so unless you already have one, it will be more expensive to get.
A scanner does all the work for you, so the image is never shaky or blurred. Photography requires skill – you need to be able to capture your image without being affected by unwanted lights and shadows and then crop it without affecting quality.
When you’ve got a decent camera to hand – some smartphones might work for this, depending on which one you have and if it has a scanning function – you’ll be able to get away with photographing your work for sure.
That being said, if you’re looking to make prints of your art, you’ll definitely be able to tell the difference between those made from a scanned image and those from a photograph, especially if you’re going to alter the size at all.
If your only choice is to use a camera, try to give yourself an inch of room around the actual art itself, so you have space to crop it perfectly. You should also take a bunch of different photos, so you can choose between several and pick out the best one.