I like to doodle with pencil and paper. I'd like to scan it, or take a picture with my phone, then have as much of it converted to vectors as possible.

Ideally, my crooked lines would become straight vectors and circles and ellipses would replaced with the real thing. Can this be done through any combination of tools?

4 Answers 4


Most vector illustration programs (Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Corel Draw, etc.) have auto-trace features that allow you to bring in your raster scan to have converted.

Will it convert things into geometric shapes? Probably not.


Vectorizing can be a fairly labor-intensive task. As mentioned there is an auto trace feature in Illustrator, but that itself usually requires some tweaking once it does the trace. You'd achieve the best results by using your sketch as a background image that you trace using the conventional tools. The trace function may give you a starting point. It won't however do any sort of correction.


A good tip when scanning line drawings is to increase both the brightness and contrast. That'll remove a lot of extra scribbles and erase marks, leaving just the heaviest lines.


I snap a shot with an iPhone and then rebuild it in Illustrator. (I seldom get the results I want with auto trace -- unless you are going for that rough look).

I'm usually going for a pixel perfect look (iconography etc.) so in the amount of time it would take me to clean up the autotrace, I can manually trace it much more precisely.... I can also add nuances that I was otherwise unable by hand.... Something I did a few years back note using the above mentioned method:

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