scanning old illustrations

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scanning old illustrations

Hi guys - I'm new here and thought it would be the perfect place to get feedback.

I'm in the process of gutting some old books, in this specific case a collection of "book club" books or something that came with a housewifely magazine 1916-22 as I can guess. Nothing of literary quality, papers have the grains the wrong way (wrinkled), but the covers would be great for making little notebooks all the same size.

I thought I would scan the illustrations, however, for a lark. They are raster images, a bit finer than newsprint but not awesome - they come out sharp and crisp at a high resolution however. Turning on the raster filter on my scanner blurs them somewhat, I haven't checked whether I can photoshop them better than the sharp ones, so here's my question: In the long run, which version would you find more useful?! There are about 100 pages, so, groan.... But if I have to, I guess I'll do both.

The artwork is by two contemporary artists, I checked and they died 1923 and 1933 respectively. The rule here (Denmark) is that copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the artist. Also, poor quality prints, I'm assuming I'm in the clear. So, not victorian, which seems to be the most popular style for scrapbooking etc, but they amuse me because the style is recognisable to me even though I wasn't alive at the time, the styles of clothing depicted as "historical" which are accurate as such but perhaps not for the time described in the novel, humourous (to me) scenes depicting "tacky" romance stories etc. I even entertained the notion of mixing them all up into one large comic book with some crazy new tale to go along.

Anyway, enough rambling, any scanning advice?


Here's a sample btw (made smaller- I scan at 600 dpi). As you can see the paper is very thin with the opposite facing text showing through - I hope I can clean that up. If not, I guess I wasted my morning, LOL!


I think whatever is sharp and clear is best!

Try putting a piece of black paper behind the illustration. That should prevent most of the backside of the paper from showing through.

Thanks Jen, I'll give that a whirl next time scanner is out of hiding!


I have run into similar problems with some projects I was working on and found that sometimes it is helpful to photograph them instead of scanning. This certainly isn't as fast as dropping a stack in the scanner but sometimes the quality is much better. Good luck with this. It looks like a fun project. smiley