How to convert a hand-drawn illustration into a digital graphic

A short, 11-minute class, using free software, to do exactly what it says on the tin. It’s free for the last week of January. Once you enrol in the class it’s free for life. In February it will be switched to premium. Premium access to Skillshare costs as little as $0.99 for the first 3 months and gives you access to thousands of classes on everything from writing characters, social media and watercolour painting.

Course Link:

Le blurb:

I am a prolific doodle. I love doodling. On the list of everything, I do in life, doodling ranks quite highly. There’s something about doodling. It helps me relax, focus, create new characters and honestly, I’m a simple man, I don’t own much stuff, so doodling gives me something to do at home other than watch the telly and play on my smartphone.

Now every so often I doodle up a new monster that I want to use in one of my Little Fears projects. It could be an art print a Threadless t-shirt or a Colour Collective portrait on Twitter. So I take my doodles into the free graphics software program, GIMP, and turn them into high resolutions .pngs that I can mix up into whatever project I happen to have that week.

Do you doodle as well? Have you ever drawn a simple image and thought, man, if that were tidied up a bit, I’d love that as a website banner? But do your eyes glaze over when someone mentions raster vs vector? If that sounds like you, this course may be of help.

You’ll need to download GIMP for this class which you can download here:

Course Link:



22 thoughts on “How to convert a hand-drawn illustration into a digital graphic”

    1. You’re welcome. Can take some planning when you have 20+ colours on a page, but it works and doesn’t require Photoshop and a degree in digital art heh.


  1. Here’s the process I’ve used.

    Sketch out the cartoon in pencil, clean it up with felt tip pen, erase the pencil and scan it to a .png.

    I open the .png in Roxio PhotoSuite and adjust the contrast up to make sure the background is white (no gray pixels) and save it.

    Then I open it up in MS Paint, clean it up and color it. Then back to PhotoSuite for additional tweaking, cropping and resizing.

    GIMP is pretty good, it’s not user friendly for the novice, but at least it’s free.


    1. JASC Animation Shop is fun if you want to play with .gif animation. It’s got a lot of built-in morphs and effects, is easy to use. It can be time-consuming if you’re trying to do something fancy. Look around for a free download.


      1. Funny thing, I can’t get my head into Photoshop. I’ve always found GIMP quite intuitive. It feels like the MSPaints and cheap art packages I grew up with if that makes sense?


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