I had to do a lot of scanning again this Saturday. Scanning of my Big Ink drawings. In looking back over my old blog posts I can see it was two years ago, in 2019, that I first scanned in a bunch of my big ink drawings. I wrote about it here. http://radiantcomics.com/art-writing-big-scans/. At least this time it didn’t take me by surprise how much physical energy it took to scan in all my big ink drawings. I was ready for it.

I started at 7:45 AM one Saturday morning. I had been putting off doing the task of scanning in all my 22×30 inch ink drawings for months. I had 32 of them to scan. Most of them had been drawn in the last year and a couple of months. It seems I took a break from making big ink drawings back in 2019 after I scanned my firat batch in.

I scanned until 9:00 AM and then went out for my bike ride. I resumed scanning at 10:00 AM and continued until 12:00 PM and then took a half hour break for lunch. I resumed scanning at 12:30 PM and then finished at about 1:00 PM. A good solid four and a half hours of scanning. Since I had to scan each drawing in four parts that was 128 scans.

Usually it’s easy for me to scan stuff in. I have a scanner right next to my computer so I put the art on the scanner an away we go. But these Big Ink Drawings are a lot larger than, not only my scanner, but the area where my scanner sits. I have to go get a spare drawing table, set it up in front of my computer, and move my scanner to that table. That’s not really a ton of effort but it’s enough to make me put off scanning. That and the physical nature of scanning such large works.

I’m in pretty good shape for a person over fifty. I cycle five times a week, do pushups five times a week, and watch my weight. But making those Big Ink scans is still tiring. There is just a lot of moving around as I do them. Grabbing one big piece of paper, setting it on the scanner, moving it three times on the scanner, putting the paper away, and then grabbing the next one. None of it individually is very hard but the cumulative effect is tough. I made sure to take five minute breaks every half hour or so. That helped.

A funny thing happened after I finished. I made my 128 scans, moved the scanner back to its usual place, put away the table, and then sat down to contemplate the rest of my Saturday. I guess since I was scanning big art pieces I decided to look through my big old portfolio cases to see what was in there. I looked and found a few things that I thought I should scan in.

I really should have done this before I put my scanner back in its usual place. The portfolio I was looking through had some of my old student work, on paper about 20×30 inches, from the mid 1980s in it. Most of my student work, like most students, isn’t very good. I threw out the vast majority of it decades ago. But I kept some of the better pieces. It’s mostly stuff from life drawing class. I never draw like that anymore so it’s fun to see that old stuff.

I didn’t end up scanning in any of my old life drawings but there was also some old art posters from my college days in there. Since I was at an art school back then there were always a lot of posters hung around campus advertising various art shows, theatre shows, and artistic things in general. I guess in my last semester in school I got nostalgic for them and kept a few of them. Also in the portfolio were a few pieces of art by fellow students that I bought at various fund raising actions. I decided to scan in some of that stuff.

My 11×17 inch scanner in it’s usual place has a computer on its left and walls on its right and top. There is enough room that if I have to scan in something that’s about 16×20 inches I can turn the paper horizontally and scan it in two pieces. The 20 inch side of the paper can slide under my computer and lay flat on the scanner. So I had no trouble scanning in the 16×20 inch posters but some of this stuff was a little but bigger.

I don’t like smushing stuff as I scan it in. By that I mean bending the parts of the paper that stick out because they’re bigger than the scanner and have no where to go because of the wall. They also might not lay flat on the scanner because they have to be bent. That’s especially true with thick paper. That’s why I have to move the scanner to accommodate my Big Ink drawings. But luckily the drawings from my school days were on thin paper. I could bend those ones over without damaging them and they’d mostly stay flat.

So after scanning in my Big Ink drawings all morning I spent from about 2PM until 4PM scanning in a bunch of old posters, prints and drawings. Most of them I was able to scan in two pieces but one big drawing took four scans. In total it was three posters, one drawing, and two prints. That’s not a lot but sorting through the stuff took time.

One last thing about scanning things in parts. Photoshop has an automatic command “Photomerge” that stitches together anything scanned in multiple parts as long as there is overlap. I Photomerged the scans of posters into a whole image but not the Big Ink drawings. I posted the posters on my college Facebook group but, so far, have found no use for my Big Ink scans except to archive them. Usually I post photos of my Big Ink drawings online and not the scans. That’s because with photos I can convey the scale of the drawings better than with the scans. Someday I’ll find a use for the scans but just not today.