Scan Art

floral scan art by Brent Blackwood

“Spring Arrangement” by Me

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of obscure types of art. Obviously my favorite is graffiti and other forms of street art, but lately it seems like people are discovering more and more ways of expressing themselves creatively. You can practically make art out of anything. Some artistic methods that seem to be growing in popularity are: finger painting (check out these paintings by Iris Scott), egg shell carvings, perspective chalk art (3d optical illusions), artsy food, and a virtual smorgasbord of inspirational craft ideas from sites like Pinterest where you never know what sort of little projects you’re going to find.

As the unofficial greatest web designer in the world, my main medium is the internet. Code is my paint. I also indulge myself in the occasional street art, although that’s more for fun than anything and I’m still kind of a noob (graffiti artists call noobs “toys”). Years ago however I discovered a pretty cool form of art. I had mostly forgotten how much fun scanner art can be until I dug out some of my old art.

Scan art, sometimes also referred to as “scanography”, is fun and easy. The only supplies you’ll really need are:

  • Your computer
  • Access to a scanner
  • A dark place to scan your subjects or a box that will cover your whole scanner
  • Some kind of clear plastic to protect the scanner (I use plastic wrap from the kitchen)
  • Something cool to scan
rust flowers scan art by Brent Blackwood

“Rust Flowers” by Yours Truly

First, put the plastic down on top of the scanner glass. Make sure it’s nice and taut so there is no distortion when you scan the image in. Next, place the item(s) you want to scan on top of the plastic and arrange them in a way you think looks cool. This is the best part of the whole thing because you can really get crazy with your ideas and have a lot of fun experimenting with various arrangements. The last thing you need to do is make sure it’s dark enough to capture your subject matter without over exposing. I find it best to do scan art in a pitch black room with no cover on the scanner. If you can’t find a dark place to scan then you might be able to get away with placing a box or something over the scanner to keep the light out. The box method is a little tricky though, as most scanners are still able to pick up some faint traces of the box in the background. I used the box method to produce these two images but I had to take them in to Photoshop later and erase the box from the background.

These were some of my first attempts at scan art. I don’t think I’ll really pursue this form of art much further than I have, but I thought I’d share so people can see what even an amateur scan artist can produce. Maybe if you’re one of the -7 people that read my shitty blog you can produce something better and share it in the comments.