View Full Version : Blueline Artwork?

09-17-2016, 07:43 PM
Hello, like many I've always struggled with the he fustration of inking over my original pencils and then completely ruining the artwork whenever I screw up in some way. I noticed recently that what a lot of artists do is scan their pencils and convert them into blueline to ink over it without ruining the original pencils. This got me interested in the process but I don't know how to do this myself. Does anyone know how to convert your pencils into blueline and then print it onto a Bristol board?


Lee Nordling
09-17-2016, 09:43 PM
Hey, Nat.

It's easier than you think it is, but it's a process.

First, scan your original art as a grayscale; the dpi doesn't have to be too high, but 300dpi (or ppi for you purists) is probably good, at 100% original size (or whatever size you want to ink the art at). You'll need to play with this and print and practice on samples to see how much resolution you prefer.

Now comes the "tricky" parts: clean up and conversion to cyan.

Open the document in Photoshop, and play with the contrast and levels to determine what you want printed in blue.

Now, somebody out there will have a really good suggestion for how to use channels to do this...but I'm not that guy; this is just what I figured out for myself.

Select the wand tool, With a REALLY large tolerance (try 80) select one of the darker lines.

Select SIMILAR under the SELECT heading.

If all your lines are now selected, great.

If not, increase your tolerance and repeat this process until all the lines you want to print are selected.

Under the SELECT header, choose INVERSE.

Now everything you didn't want to print is selected. Hit DELETE. This wipes out every smudge you don't want to see printed on your bristol board.

Under the SELECT header, choose INVERSE again, and everything you want to print is selected again.

Make sure Anti-aliasing is unchecked.

Go to the EDIT header and select FILL.

In this mode, you can fill the selection with whatever color you want.

If you pre-selected the foreground color as CYAN (whatever percentage you want to ink over, though I suggest something like 50%, as long as experiments show you can see what you want to see), then fill with the foreground (or make the color in the FILL part of the function and fill with that.

Now you have a "non-photo blue" art file.

Print it (presumably on a printer that's large enough to hold and print your bristol), and practice on the samples and the percentage of the CYAN to get something you're comfortable with.

Others will likely have other processes, but this is what I figured out, and it's really pretty simple.

Have fun!

09-17-2016, 10:11 PM
In Photoshop click image select Mode- grayscale click Image again then select duotone a window opens with color choices just pic a light blue for each part of the duotone and voila. Save as PSD. Need a large format printer to print full size otherwise may have to print overlapping images on 2 sheets of 8.5"x11" bristol. a lot of inkjet printers will accept the bristol as long as it isn't really thick 4 ply strathmore or thicker.
https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14362467_1050120481750325_2505063696364813584_o.jp g

https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14324583_1050120478416992_4413863084096084006_o.jp g

https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14372314_1050120485083658_2954060614086585662_o.jp g

Lee Nordling
09-17-2016, 11:33 PM

I wrote somebody would offer another process!

And it looks a LOT quicker.

Just don't use any of the magenta used in the color, because it will scan as black, and you don't want a production guy changing the levels on your files to eliminate "dirt," which is how the red could scan. Will it at 4%? Probably not, but there's no good reason to use it.

Thanks, Justice41!

09-18-2016, 02:08 AM
I print them very light barely visible. But i print a full sized gray of the pencils to use as guides. I suggest printing out a few really small tests to make sure the blue you pick is the blue that prints. You can pick any shade of blue for either color or you can click the duotone button and switch to monotone and i believe Tritone and Quadtone. But i either use duo or mono. Can also show a step by stepper of how to set up the B/W image for coloring using channels

Lee Nordling
09-18-2016, 08:39 AM
For those who don't know: the reason we're discussing "blue" as the color to print and ink over is because the RIGHT blue (cyan, actually), with little to no magenta, yellow, or black, does not traditionally show when you scan the artwork, which means it doesn't have to be erased, like pencil (unless the pencil is non-photo blue).

Since you're likely to do the scan of your art after inking, I recommend testing everything through the process before spending your time inking something. Justice41's small tests is a great way to do that.

So, if you're happy with the blue you choose to print your pencils with, and you've scanned the printed blue to confirm it doesn't show in the scan, and if your okay with the quality of your inking over the printed blue...you're set.

09-18-2016, 09:29 PM
Here, another process:
Go to Photoshop.
Scan the page in grayscale. Open Image> switch to Mode RGB color.
Go to Image> Adjust> HUE SATURATION.
Click on COLORIZE. Set HUE: 195, SATURATION:100
Print the image

09-19-2016, 02:01 AM
You can turn art to blue line through:
0) scan the pencil art into a layer.
1) set color to cyan (hue=180 if memory serves, not at my computer now).
2) add a layer with foreground color (cyan) on top of the pencil art, and turn the mode of that layer to 'screen' (I think. Could also be 'multiply' or 'overlay', not at my computer now).
3) in order to be able to filter out the blue art later on, soften it: white layer behind the art, and decrease opacity of pencil art layer.
4) print out, ink, scan in full color.

Now, to remove the blue art:

5) turn it into black and white in Photoshop. In the dialog, move the 'cyan' slider to remove the blue art entirely. The black inked art will magically remain.
6) I also usually adjust 'Levels' so white is really white and black is really black.

Above suggestion to try it out first is a good one. Try it out on uninked pages even first. The whole approach hinges on you being able to filter out the blue art in the end.

09-19-2016, 10:04 AM
No need to worry about the blue being scanned in if the person doing the colors is a pro they will handle that. Keep it simple folks, keep it simple.

Ink Gasket
09-21-2016, 07:35 PM
Here's what I do. Wish I could say I thought of it, but I just found it on Google while trawling for tips to help me make a living.

First, "select all" and "copy." Then, hit delete so you have an empty page. Don't panic, after all, it's on the clipboard. Convert your image to CMYK. Open the Channels pallet, select the cyan channel, and paste into that. Now just adjust the opacity down to 20% or whatever works for you and print onto 11" x 17" bristol. Works great for me.