I have scanned a pen and ink drawing and I'm trying get rid of the variations in ink color. The black ink appears as black and different shades of grey, the blue as different shades of blue etc. How do I turn each field of ink into a single solid color?

enter image description here

  • 1
    "Pen and ink" generally refers to a 1 color piece. Are you wanting to separate blue from black or simply solidify each independent color? Or make everything the same color? A sample image, or portion of one, would be beneficial.
    – Scott
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:01
  • here's an example: pictify.com/583807/meanwhile-in-salem i'm talking about solidifying colors. the floor in the picture especially. i want it to have an even color, no variations in shade Oct 24, 2013 at 19:05
  • Oh that's not pen and ink in my opinion, that's an illustration. You'd be better served by scanning a drawing of the outline, then coloring digitally. To smooth those colors, you'll need to grab a brush and start painting.
    – Scott
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:11
  • Do you have Illustrator? You could try using Live Trace with a preset of Color 6. Looks like you have about 6 colors there.
    – ckpepper02
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:51

2 Answers 2


In this particular case, it is fairly easy to make things better. Since the colors are fairly far apart from each other it is easy to isolate them and make changes to even them out. If this were a photo (for example) this method would not work.

  • apply a "smart blur" to the image to smooth out the color fields
  • choose "selective color" (under image > adjust) and then add yellow to "yellows (drop down item", blue and yellow to "greens (drop down item)", and magenta to "magenta drop down item"
  • adjust the saturation by lower saturation slightly and raising lightness slightly to bring the colors back in line with the original scan.
  • make a new blank layer on top
  • use "select > color range", pick the black, slide the "fuzziness" to max
  • with the selection enabled, flood fill on the new layer with black, deselect
  • make new "select > color range" selection using black and about 60 or so fuzziness
  • with selection enabled, apply a layer mask to the top layer (this knocks out some of the greys)

This takes longer to type than to do.

enter image description here

(NOTE: In the future, you might look into a photo stand and use a digital camera, photo lights, and a polarizing filter to cut glare.)


The easiest way, I think, is to fiddle with the contrast and/or levels a bit (both under the Image menu item). If that doesn't get you the desired result, using the bucket tool might also help to get solid colors.

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