draw free style - graphic editor?

Mar 08, 2011

In an effort to create a simple explanation for my audience.  I jumped into a free style picture format as suggested by Tom Kuhlaman's blog below

Simple Ways to Create Hand-Drawn Objects

I get a lot of questions about how to create them.  Here are a few ideas.

Take out a piece of paper and draw what you want.  Then put it in a scanner to make a digital copy.  At that point you can take the scanned image into a graphics editor and convert it to a usable image.  If you feel like you have no drawing skills then at least try tracing something.  Take pictures of people and then trace them on the paper.  You don’t need all of the details to create some simple line drawings.

When Tom says - "graphics editor and convert it to a usable image"  - How exactly is this accomplished?  I receive a PDF scan and I'm not really sure how to convert it to a PNG.  Any quick tips?  Thank you!

5 Replies
Robert Kennedy

Hi Kathy,

Your scanner should be able to scan to other formats besides pdf.  Most are able to do so.  What brand of scanner do you have?  Otherwise, you should be able to convert using a basic graphics program.  

I did a quick search also for PDF to PNG convertors and this is one of the links I found: http://pdf.my-addr.com/free-online-pdf-to-png-convert.php

Leah Hemeon

Hi Katie,

Something I've done in the past is take the PDF and use the "Snapshot" tool on the Tools menu in Adobe Acrobat Reader. It takes a screen capture of the area of the PDF you select and puts in on your clipboard. I then paste that into PowerPoint, adjust as needed and save it out as a PNG. You could also do a simple "PrintScreen" and get a similar effect.

The one drawback of this is that you do lose some quality in the image. If it's a pretty good quality to begin with then it's usually not such a big deal for us.

Good luck!


Tom Kuhlmann

As Robert said, most scanners will let you save to other formats.  I'd save to .gif since the drawing is a single color and could use transparency.  PNG also works.

Then bring it into a graphics editor like Paint.net, Photoshop, etc.  You can play with the contrast and some of the equalization settings ot get rid of the scanning artifacts.  They usually have some sort of "do it all" button.  Picasa even works.

Then crop the image and save to whatever format you need.

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