Scanning, Re-Sizing, Resolution, & Pixels in Photoshop

Getting the size and resolution right in Photoshop

This is mostly for beginners but a valid subject.

Scan your art or sketch and work in Photoshop to finish, paint or add color.

For those who sketch or start their artwork on paper but like to work in Photoshop

This is a question that we still get a LOT, so we want to address it.

Step by Step 

Scan your sketch or artwork into Photoshop at 150-300 pixels per inch.

Make sure Constrain Proportions is checked

Make sure Resample image is checked.

Set your pixels per inch to 300 pixels per inch.

Decide what size you want the printed piece to be and set your size. I.E. 8”x10”

There are a few things to be aware of when sizing a piece in Photoshop.

Get your Height, Width and Resolution right.

Get it into Photoshop and go to image then image size and just look at it.

Go down to Resolution in the Document Size area and see what you’ve got. If it says 150 pixels per inch, then that is how many pixels equals 1 inch in the resolution of your painting. Above the RESOLUTION there are the two Width and Height boxes, you want those in inches not pixels, so change that if you need.

Above that there are the Pixel Dimensions, this is the total number of pixels, not pixels per inch but per the entire piece. Set your width and Height to Pixels.

Make sure Scale to Style, Constrain Proportions and Re-sample Image are all checked. Like so.

Pixel Dimensions

Width      [big number]           Pixels

Height     [big number]           Pixels

Document Size

Width         [     8.5     ]            Inches

Height        [    11       ]            Inches

Resolution  [    300     ]          Pixels/Inch (Pixels per Inch)

[ x ] Scale Style

[ x ] Constrain Proportions

[ x ] Resample Image

Printers and publishers usually want everything to be at 300 pixels per inch.

They also want it to be so many inches, like 8×10″ for example.

You want your illustrations to look good. So…

Increasing the Resolution does not increase your resolution.


Set the parameters and get the scale right in Photoshop

Now that you are working on your sketch in Photoshop, you want to set the parameters and get the scale right.

Screen resolutions is about 72 dpi, (Dots Per Inch, or Pixels Per Inch)

There is nothing you can do to increase the actual information that you have. If you take a small picture scanned in at say 75 DPI and blow it up, it won’t give you ANY more detail. Like a projector, if you back it up and make the image on the wall bigger, the image will not be any more clear, just bigger. So Ideally, when you work, you want your finished piece to be big and clear, you can always make it smaller. Don’t go too big it takes longer for your computer to render.

If you have an 8×10 piece scanned in at 150 and you just change your Resolution to 300, it doesn’t actually change the resolution of your work and leave all the other parameters the same. It will decrease the size of your piece.

The reason I set my scanner at 150 instead of 300 is because I don’t need too much detail to go from a sketch to a finished piece, so I scan it in at 150 then change it to 300, then I work in 300 dpi so my finished piece will be acceptable for the printers, and it will have the detail and clarity that it needs for the size that it will be printed.

So you want your width to be the right size for the printer, say 8 by 10”.

You want your resolution to be 300.

Now you can zoom in on your work and zoom out without changing the end size or resolution.

Make sure Constrain Proportions is checked. 

[ x ] Constrain Proportions wants to be checked so that if you change the width, the height will change proportionally and vise versa. If you want the width wider but want the height to stay the same, if you just change the width, it will skew your art, so it would be better to keep your proportions, so you should just size it bigger and cut some off.


MAKE SURE resample image IS CHECKED.

[ x ] Resample Image is important so that if you change your work from 150 pixels per inch to 300, it will boost your actual pixels per inch as well. Otherwise, with Resample image unchecked, you could change your work from 150 to 300 Pixels per inch and  size of your work will drop to compensate for the change. Now when you go to ship that finished work to the printer, your 8 by 10” piece will be more like 4 by 5”, and that is not good. You Cannot just make it bigger with out making it all pixilated and blurry and crappy.

What a publisher wants

Most publishers want your work to be at least 100% of what they want to printed piece to be. 8-9” by 10-11” and at 300 pixels per inch.

 Have fun with it, explore. 

Fool around with some of these and see what happens to your image and the other perameters when you make changes with Constrain Proportions and Resample image checked and unchecked.

The danger is that you can be working along and not realize that your pixels per inch or your resolution or your document size is way too small until you are finished. And that is a painful lesson. Ouch!


for more info on this same thing, watch this video by Will Terry.

an Artist’s 6 Steps to Illustrate a Concept

How would you Illustrate, Early?

If you were given a “carte blanche” assignment to illustrate the word, EARLY, what would you come up with. They say that if you give a thousand people the same task, they would come up with a thousand different ways to do that task. I would say that the same thing goes for ARTISTS. If you give a thousand artists the same assignment, (i.e. word or phrase to illustrate) you would get a thousand different ideas and portrayals.

Most illustrators use a step by step process

early birds Now that I have posted this pic of bi

Submitting and sizing your art for children’s book publishing

Know about SCBWI. Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

If you are new to publishing Female artist at drawing boardand you want to get into it. And you don’t know much about it but you are willing to learn… “So you want to be a children’s author or book illustrator?” You really should look into SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators It is the largest organization for children’s book writers and illustrators. It is a great connection for authors
and illustrators. If you are looking to do your own self publishing, they aren’t that helpful and they are just starting to get involved with e-publishing, but for the most part, SCBWI is the place to be if you are getting started or if you are already started in traditional publishing for picture book writers and illustrators. They have chapters in every major area in the US and they are abroad as well.

There are over 20,000 members, (I believe) and you should be a part of it for your own good. Just Google it for your area and start being a part of it and getting in touch with the group in your area and start attending their conferences and learning from them. That is the organization that you want to be a part of.

When it comes picture book illustrations, SIZE  MATTERS!

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What size or format should you create your art for submitting it to publishers.
If you are a writer illustrator or if you are just an illustrator and you want to submit some of your stuff to publishers to be considered, you may be asking yourself what size and shape should you make your artwork. I would say, follow standard guidelines. Your basic 8.5” x 11” format is fine. When you are hired or commissioned to do a book, the publisher will usually decide what proportion the book should be. Very few are square or odd shaped.

Don’t write and illustrate the whole book!

A lot of writer artists want to finish the whole book and submit that.
The publisher doesn’t care to receive the whole finished book, and that would be a waste of time and effort anyway. It doesn’t make any sense to fret over getting the whole thing right and perfected. They don’t want it all done, they would rather see a good “book dummy”. They have professional art directors and editors and people that know the science of making or helping that book succeed. So when they choose your book, they will want to set the parameters and THEN have you do what you do best, illustrate.
Many would say that there is a right way and a wrong way, but there are rarely any hard fast perfect, right way, rules. For example if you go to a SCBWI conference you may hear one editor say, “I prefer a mock up book in the mail” or “I like to get a PDF so I don’t have to worry about losing it or whatever, it’s quicker”, and others who like other stuff, etc”.

Put your best foot forward, Presentation matters.

Cow poke 7So you should make a book, DUMMY! I don’t mean to call you a dummy, I mean a “book dummy”. I may have said that there aren’t any right or wrong ways to submit your picture book but really there are a LOT of WRONG ways… For example, a sloppy demo would be a wrong way, presentation does matter. Let it show that you care, that you are creative. A nice, clean, clear presentation would be a RIGHT way. I personally like to use a PDF, It is fast, easy, clean, neat, accurate and inexpensive. If it gets lost in the (e)mail, send it again, it’s free and easy.
So send a book dummy with your sketches, and a few “finished” pieces. That way, they know what you are doing. They understand the idea and they can see from the one or two finished pieces convey your ability to paint and bring those sketches to a finished illustration.
Put your best foot foreword. You should spend some time on this mockup or book dummy, this is your sales pitch and it is a competitive world out there. You need to be willing to spend some time on that dummy so that it gets their attention and holds on to it.

Self Publishers should get the facts first.

For self publishers… Talk to the printer that you will be hiring, ask a few questions.
Paper costs money and it comes in certain sizes and when they print, there are better ways to lay it out to maximize your paper per book ratio. That is why there are tipically 32 pages long, it’s because they print it on the BIG paper, fold it, bind it and cut it. Multiples of four. So work with the printer to determine the best size and shape and number of pages so you can maximize your pages per dollar.

There is no Perfect answer to the size and lay out for apps and e-books question.

What about sizing for my apps and e-book? That is a GOOD question, the sad truth is, there is NO magic answer for that question. There are so many different sizes AND proportions for each different devise. So there will be extra space or you can stretch your image. All of these are bad solutions. So on one device the image will fit flush or a full bleed.

One universal solution could be to make your artwork big enough to crop for every other device BUT that will cost you a ton. That would be a programming night mare. You got kindle and nook, devised to be held vertically, not horizontal, not quite right for a picture book.

My advice would be to make it for the i-Pad.

The i-Pad is the nicest looking device and the most popular for digital picture books and apps. (at present) So it may be advantageous to just create for the i-Pad.

One more last plug for SCBWI.

You really should consider becoming a part of the SCBWI.

More SCBWI people are published than non SCBWI goers. If you were to poll 1000 people who attend SCBWI conference attenders who submit to publishers, and 1000 who don’t attend SCBWI, but submit, I believe you would discover that a lot more of the SCBWI goers are being chosen and published than the non SCBWI folk.
I feel like the artist’s rep is a dying bread. Because of the internet, and the immediacy and quick ability to look through your portfolio and see your style, the publisher and the artist, just doesn’t need the artist’s rep any more.
The Righter on the other hand, can still benefit by having an Agent, (the rep for the writer). The publisher can’t just glance through your work and get the jest of it where they can with your artwork.


Good luck and enjoy life. Relax, draw, paint, Life is good.


Just Thumbing through my sketch book.

Back when I was designing characters for Nasty Bugs. 

A page or two from my sketch book 

Here is a little image of a page or two from my sketch book.
Takes me back, I had just finished an e-book, (self published) called Tickle Bugs. Back off, it was for kids. Any way, when I got this buggy job from Dutton. I just had to design and draw a bunch of cute little bugs again. Fun huh.

Nasty Bugs, by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Author) , Will Terry (Illustrator)

nasty-bugs a children's book
These sketches are characters that made their debut in a book called Nasty Bugs. It’s a really fun book and I couldn’t wait to start painting it as soon as all my sketches were finally approved.
I remember I was still trying to figure out how to draw with my Wacom tablet at the time, I could paint with it but I still wasn’t able to get the sensitivity I get with pencil and paper. Perhaps it was the lack of texture provided by the tablet – or the disconnect between my hand, eye, and computer monitor, maybe I’m just stupe. Anyway, I would continue to force myself to practice it until frustration would eventually win and I would hit print and finish it on paper. That practice has paid off by the way.
A page from Nasty Bugs
Love how this one project turned out. Painting in Photoshop makes it so much more do-able to paint in the stink, undo it if it isn’t just right, do it over and adjust the transparency and color til it looks like stink. Or smoke or steam. (there is now steam tool in a Photoshop plug in by the way. That was an April fool’s prank. Sorry.  :(
if you missed that one you really need to check out our April 1, 2014 blog post. It is still fun to share to unsuspecting artists and artist wannabes for a good prank.

Drawing & Painting on iPad Demo using Procreate & Speed Painting

Artist Demo on iPad using Procreate and a Cheap Stylus

Working From General to Specific I start by Roughing it in

Rat with an Orange Peal Umbrella

Last week I mentioned that I “found the perfect Stylus” and I showed you a few steps and told you to work from general to specific, as I was taught by my friend and mentor, Robert Barrett. AKA Bob Barrett.

This was a little 2 hr drawing, of a Rat character that I did in Procreate. I had this Idea to draw a little rat that made made an umbrella out of an orange peal and a tooth pick.

Video below for Artists who hate to read

If you are like me and you don’t like to read. I get a lot of questions about my process so I thought I’d do a little demo, in fact if you scroll to the bottom you can just watch the video. It’s a speed painting but I talk it through.

Start your drawing by blocking in your sketch

000 Wet Rat 02 000 Wet Rat 03

I always start by blocking in the basic shapes. I’m on my iPad right here, if you saw last weeks post, you may remember that I use a real cheap Targus stylus pen, stylus that you can get for about $12.00 at Target or Walmart. I like the blunt tip, as I like to block in the basics to start.

But what about detail? Keep reading.

Add Detail with a blunt tip by Zooming In

000 Wet Rat 05 000 Wet Rat 06

What you won’t see in these pics or the video below, is that I am zooming in to add detail. If you get the basic shapes in first, you don’t need to worry about ruining it by adding detail too soon. Plus, zooming in to add eyelashes and fur and stuff and I am putting it in the right places as the basic shapes are there. So when I zoom in, I still know where I am.

Work the entire picture as you go for a constant look.

000 Wet Rat 07 000 Wet Rat 08I don’t work one spot to completion but rather, I go over the entire picture over and over again. As I add fur, I do it all over then add a little more, then work something else, like more fur, shade etc. Bringing the entire sketch, slowly to a more finished look. Not staying in one place too long. This also helps you get a consistent feel throughout the entire painting. This way I am happy with it before I dive into the detail. General to specific I tell you. Bob knows his stuff.

I use a few layers but not a lot.

000 Wet Rat 09I used three or four layers on this drawing. Then I flatten them down. And maybe add another layer, so I can edit new stuff before I flatten it down again. I like to use a new layer when I start on another area. That way you can edit as you go. After I get the drawing complete, more or less, I can add color. Note how I add color to the whole piece 000 Wet Rat 01then move to some more color. Once the value and basic color is in place, I work some more color. Shadows and highlights.

This is not how I usually Paint, but… 

Warning! there will be a few adds here and links our website store. 

On my children’s books and bigger illustrations, I work differently. I might get started on my iPad then move it to my desk top and use my Cintiq monitor or Wacom tablet and Photoshop. I would add the color there and add the detail later. Probably because of the size of the full spread files and what not. I am finishing this one in Procreate for demo purposes. One of the cool things with Procreate is that you can export your video, going into tools while in your drawing, export it, like to Drop Box and it sends out a little MP4 file. There I can work faster, esp with the Cintiq monitor. Plus I can get the texture that I really want. I like the Progreate tools but I prefer the Cintiq monitor or Wacom tablet for adding the detail and color.

When I Illustrate Children’s Books, I Use my Cingiq Monitor.

If you want to see more on that, you can find tutorials on FolioAcademy. There are a lot of digital video courses, like for Photoshop, How to illustrate children’s books, how to design a drawing and a lot more. Here is where you can find my courses and you can also choose from a lot of other artist instructors.

iPad Speed painting Demo Video using Procreate & a cheap stylus



Painting a Hobbit Home or Gnome Home in a Tree

Pencil Sketch & Digital Painting of a Hobbit Home

Before and After pictures of a hobbit home, sketched then painted in Photoshop

Gnome home, a door in a tree


Here is a Before and after set of pictures of a basic drawing or sketch and what it looks like once it’s been scanned in and painted over via photo shop with the digital painting techniques taught in our beginning PS course, Painting in Photoshop and our Advanced Digi Painting in Photoshop art courses at




soft back light and the soft edges of the tree and background flowers

digital artwork of a Hobbit home or gnome home


I love the soft back light and the soft edges of the tree and background flowers. I like the porch light being on too, In real life I hate any of my lights left on when it’s not necessary, but it works well in paintings and photography. I also like the arbitrary almost, cool, light on the door and the stepping stones. They didn’t over due it with color either so the little violet pot and green plant just kind of pop. Note how the artist crisped up the lines and edges on the door and plant, to direct and focus our attention on the door knocker and the potted plant. The sketch above also has some of that soft line quality that was later used in the final piece.

You may also want to notice the cool colors in the very warm painting. Especially on the left side of the tree trunk. Warm light, cool shadows.  Nice huh?

Have a blessed day :)

I Found the PERFECT Stylus For Drawing and Painting on iPad – Procreate App

Finaly! The Perfect Stylus For Doing Your Art on iPad

ARtist, Will Terry used to use His finger to create art on his iPad

Will Terry displays his favorite stylus

I use a fat bulbous stylus

I have found the perfect stylus for drawing and painting and doing all that digital artwork on my iPad. Using a Procreate drawing app. I used to use my finger, in Photoshop and in Procreate. As you know, the best stylus is the one you have with you and you should always have your fingers, or at least one of your fingers with
you. I have changed my mind since I’v found this. See the pictures.

How can this bulbous pointed thing be a good stylus?

000 Stylus 02But when you draw with something blunt like this, you are less likely to get that into detail too soon. Like if you are painting, William Whitaker says you should go for the biggest brush you dare to use and then grab one a little bigger.

So with this bulbous, fat, blunt stylus, I just start drawing.

Artist Will Terry displays a few sketches on his iPad

See sketches there to the right.

I first come up with a few sketches, doing all my initial design for my images with the fat stylus right on my iPad or on my Cintiq monitor.




I turn my design into a composition.

Composition on an iPad

My Simple Composition

Just like when you paint in Photoshop, you want to start with huge clunky brushes. All the realy great Photoshop artists use a big brush in Photoshop.




Then Work the Composition into a Painting

Digital Painting by Will Terry

The comp there, became THIS Painting which I just finished on my cintiq monitor. You may remember it from a previous post. See it here on my Cintiq monitor as well.

000 Stylus 06So when you are painting, Start with a big brush and when you are painting digitally, start with a big stylus like the one I use now instead of my finger.



This Fish King Painting was done with the fat Stylus

King FishThis Fish King Painting was done with this stylus that I displayed above. You may remember it from a previous post.

You can spend over $100 on a stylus

I am asked here at FolioAcademy,  ALL THE TIME, Will, What stylus should I get? What is the best one for me? Which one are you using? Should I get the one that has a little plastic tip? Or one with pressure sensitivity or virtual pressure sensitivity. (I don’t know about that, because it may be for you if your painting style requires some of that, and that could be a good one).

OK it may not be the very best Stylus, but it’s the best for me. 

000 Stylus 08

OK I admit I said I found the best stylus but I have to admit that it may not be the best for you. It probably is, however, you may be light years ahead of me and using one of those artsy, schmancy, pressure sensitive, new fangled,  expensive, high falutin types.

For me, the $12.00, blunt tipped, stylus you can get at Target or the basic store. I think I spent $12.00 on mine. And if and when it wares out or gets lost, I am not out a whole lot of money.

 Paint and Draw from General to Specific, Digitally and Traditionally

So to recap, you should know this already but if you don’t, you should start rough, and work from general to specific. That was drilled into us at BYU by the Dean of the Illustration Department, Robert Barrett, and he was right. After you get your painting blocked in, or your drawing roughed in, then you can go in and start picking out, or putting in, the detail. So many paintings are ruined because the artist starts noodling it to death and working on detail when the basic shapes and design are still not worked out or defined. In a word, use a fat stylus.

I will post a demo next week of a sketch to a nearly finished piece.





Photoshop Speed Painting of a Damsel in a Tower

Fairy Tale, Digital SpeedPainting of a Beautiful Girl in a Tower

Video looks better with the right music


This little speed painting is set to a Tori Amos tune that makes this little digital speed painting look a lot nicer. It’s funny how the audio can make the picture that much nicer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this again with out the sound. Notice when you are watching a movie trailer or preview, the sound makes you want to watch the movie. try watching a few previews with the sound off, you will see what your not hearing. It isn’t as pretty.

Painting (with Photoshop) Just for Because!!!

I love my work and I love the projects I’m working on but sometimes I get an urge to create something different and that feeling will gnaw at me until I stuff it with a free painting day.This was a sketch I did while in church (of course I was listening – shut up and just don’t ask what the sermon was about) and I thought it would be fun to record it and set it to music – I was right. I’ve always loved this Tori Amos song too and it makes the speed painting look a lot nicer. I’m still loving Photoshop… but it made me want a bigger, badder, meaner, stronger, faster, (six million dollar) computer… and a Cintique. Which by the way, I now have. And I am loving that too. And since it is for my (art) business, it’s tax deductible. (I am not a tax pro and this is not tax advice, please contact your tax professional for any tax deductions of which, you may be entitled. And there are a lot. I think) That being said, be self employed, it’s worth it, I guarantee it. (that is not a guarantee)

Your friend Will Terry of Folioacademy, art lessons online.

So Many Art Teachers Just don’t Teach Art

Why Do So Many ART Teachers Refuse To Teach ART?

(50% off, ‘How to Design a Drawing’, details below.)

A boy reading in the wilderness with animals around him


Many Artists learn more from ‘online art courses than in college

I can’t tell you how many artists have told me via Facebook, twitter, YouTube, this blog, email, Skype, etc that they have learned more from online classes like FolioAcademy, SVS and otheres, than they did in four years of Art School at 500 x the price! As much as I’d like to pat myself on the back I won’t. I won’t pretend that I’m doing more than any art teacher should be doing.

How can Artists & illustrators be learning more online than in school?
An owl, a fox, a bear and a moose.
How can this be happening? My theory is that art was never treated as a serious subject in K-12 and as a result students enter college completely unaware of what they need to learn in a visual arts program. “But Will, I had A Few great art teachers in high school” It happens, but quite often, in fact more often, art teachers spend most of their time managing students that were dumped in their classrooms from the counseling dept. – I know – I taught High School art and I was in High School Art.  I believe that a lot of art teachers that don’t teach either never became accomplished in their own work and never learned the rules, or perhaps they’ve simply become lazy and willing to take advantage of the system -a system that pays them just as much for being a great teacher as it pays for being a lousy one. It could also be that they are afraid that they will create clones of themselves who will take away their work – pure nonsense and scarcity thinking. Or maybe they spend too much time babysitting and policing those students that are only there to screw off and cause trouble. Like I say, I was there.

Drama majors, English majors, Music majors, and Dance majors come to college with much more experience than illustration or art majors.

Three Quailis

They come with more experience because in Drama, English, Music, and Dance they are taught rules. You can’t have a school play if the actors are taught to act their “feelings”. Obviously you can’t write a story without learning rules about plots, sub plots, climbing action, climax, falling action, resolution. Not to mention, Language, spelling and of course grammar. You can’t make music if everyone is doing their own “interpretation” of the song and you can’t be an effective dancer without learning “moves” moves that were developed by other dancers.

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