I draw illustrations by hand on paper, scan in and then wish to use as artwork or edit further. One way I've done so way to trace hand drawn work using the pen tool in Illustrator, creating vector work.

I've found I now want to retain the hand-drawn quality of work, but still use online and print. I wonder what the best way to do this is? And how would someone like Laurène Boglio retain the quality of her work online and in publication–I think she uses ink on paper, and they don't look like they've been vectorised, particularly the work at the bottom of the page of her portfolio here: https://www.boglio.com/gifs

Thank you!


2 Answers 2


Perhaps think about using a pressure sensitive graphics tablet and stylus, such as a Wacom. You could use it in Illustrator to ink over the top of a scanned sketch.

That's certainly one way to achieve that slightly wonky hand drawn look, and I suspect that is how she may have made some of these, although many also look like normal vector work easily achievable with a mouse.

Another possible option is to ink your sketch with black pen on paper, and erase any pencil lines. Scan it, then auto trace the bitmap image in Illustrator.

Also there's nothing to stop you from using actual scanned hand-drawn work on the web or in print either. You could scan it at 300dpi (or higher), and clean it up a bit using raster image editing software such as Photoshop/GIMP etc.

  • Lovely Billy, thank you ! I didn't think 300dpi scanned images could ever look good on web, perhaps I was wrong!
    – Molly
    Jun 8, 2020 at 15:55
  • DPI is ignored in web browsers. It will be a big image, but you could easily resample (resize) a copy smaller for use on the web in Photoshop or GIMP.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 8, 2020 at 16:09

Tight, clean, pen and ink drawings.


Trace in Illustrator.


There are tools such as DynamicSketch that make actual drawing, by hand, with a tablet, possible in Illustrator. Using these it's very easy to retain the overall "randomness" and line vocabulary of hand drawing.

I'll point out.... You don't need Dynamic Sketch to draw in Illustrator. It's not "required" by any means. Illustrator has tools (Brushes) which allow you to draw in a more freestyle manner. Dynamic Sketch just makes it so much easier and better, especially if you are seeking a more "natural" feel. I'd suggest experimenting the Brushes in Illustrator first. And then perhaps try the free trail of Dynamic Sketch if you are finding brushes too limiting in some respect.

A drawing tablet is kind of required though... you can try with a mouse/trackpad/etc and AI brushes. However, in my experience it's exceptionally difficult to get any sort of "natural looking" drawing done with those tools unless you spend twice as much time refining after you've created strokes/paths. But in all fairness, there are those that can draw with a mouse exceptionally well. I'm simply not one of them. :).

Adobe's Draw app for tablets is also a possibility. It mimics much of what you can do on a desktop with Illustrator brushes.... but you get the benefit of the touch and "finger drawing". I, personally, don't like it for how I draw.... but you might try experimenting with that if you have an iPad/tablet. It saves vector files you can then open in Illustrator.

Everything in that last link has been "vectorized" in my opinion. The first link is behind a login wall. I know it's odd, but not everyone uses Instagram or finds a need for an account there.

  • Sorry, course I thought you could normally see a fair amount on Instagram before the login wall.
    – Molly
    Jun 8, 2020 at 13:17
  • Would I need Dynamic Sketch to draw straight into Illustrator with a tablet?
    – Molly
    Jun 8, 2020 at 13:18
  • @Molly I've edited this answer considering your question...
    – Scott
    Jun 8, 2020 at 13:42
  • Perfect, thank you very much!
    – Molly
    Jun 8, 2020 at 14:12

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