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10 Best Scanners for Artwork in 2023 Used by 20 Artists 🧑‍🎨 👨‍🎨

Iva Mikles
10 Best Scanners for Artwork in 2023 Used by 20 Artists 🧑‍🎨 👨‍🎨

Hey there, welcome to my list of the best scanners for artwork and artists.

I am a working artist, and I’ve tried different scanners to digitize my watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paintings. I’ve also collected suggestions from my artist friends and from YouTube videos where other artists share experiences with their art scanners.

This is how I created this list of 10 art scanners that artists really love.

I hope it helps you get the right one for your art, too!

💡 By the way, #1, #3, and #5 are the most popular art scanners among the artists, and #6 is a “steal”!

By the way, don’t worry If you get confused by all the DPI, CCD vs. CIS scanning technology, 48-bit color depth, and optical density. I got you with a short guide here: Main criteria for choosing an art scanner »

My Scanner for ArtistsEpson V600
Canon Budget Art ScannerCanon LiDE
Epson Budget Scanner for ArtistsEpson V39
CCD Budget Scanner for ArtistsEpson V370
Best A3 Art ScannerPlustek OpticPro
Budget A3 Art ScannerPlustek OpticSlim
Professional Scanner for ArtistsEpson XL

Overview: The 10 Best Scanners for Artists

Below you can see a quick overview of the top 10 art scanners. Scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each scanner.

Best Value & My Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because I have it and it's the most popular scanner among the artists (6/20 artists have used it). Overall, the artists view the Epson V600 as the best scanner for art due to its combination of high scanning quality, reliability, affordable price, and its popularity among other artists.
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CCD Scanning technology
    • Max 6400 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Optical Density: 3.4 Dmax
Alternative
  • Why should you get it?:
    Epson V550 is a newer model and you may consider it if you can't get V600. 3/20 artists have used it. Overall, the artists value the Epson V550 because it can scan artworks in very high detail and texture, and it has a lot of adjustable settings so it's flexible to use.
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CCD Scanning technology
    • Max 6400 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Optical Density: 3.4 Dmax
Budget Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because it's the best budget art scanner you can get under ±$100 and it almost matches more expensive scanners when it comes to scan quality. 3/20 artists have used it and they appreciate its portability and how it can capture all colors and details clearly.
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CIS Scanning technology
    • Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Portable size and weight
    • USB-C
Alternative
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you can't get Canon LIDE 400 or you want to save even more money on your art scanner. 2/20 artists have used this scanner and they are satisfied with the scan quality.
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CIS Scanning technology
    • Max 2400 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Portable size and weight
Epson Budget Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because it's a quite popular scanner for artists. 4/20 artists have used this scanner for their artworks. It's especially popular among digital nomad artists.
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CIS Scanning technology
    • Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
    • Portable size and weight
Budget CCD Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you want CCD scanner for the best price. This is an excellent scanner for watercolors, acrylics, oils and drawings!
  • Highlights:
    • A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
    • CCD Scanning technology
    • Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Optical density: 3.2 Dmax
A3 Large Format Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you create large format artworks (A3+) and you don't enjoy stitching them after scanning. Plustek brand is not much known among artists, but this scanner has a great price, uses CCD technology and has sufficient DPI and depth required for high quality art scans.
  • Highlights:
    • A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
    • CCD Scanning technology
    • Max 1600 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Budget A3 Large Format Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you create large format black and white artworks (A3+) and you don't want to stitch them after scanning. Artists praise it for it's price, large A3 scanning area, and customizable options for page size and color modes.
  • Highlights:
    • A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
    • CIS Scanning technology
    • Max 1200 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Alternative
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you want a A3 scanner with great specs and you could use a printer for your art business, too.
  • Highlights:
    • A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
    • CIS Scanning technology
    • Max 1200 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Professional Pick
  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you are a professional artist and you need a large format scanner for your art studio. You are not limited by budget, so you can get the best professional art scanner for your needs!
  • Highlights:
    • A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
    • CCD Scanning technology
    • Max 2400 DPI optical resolution
    • Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
    • Optical density: 3.8 Dmax
Best Value & My Pick
Description:

My Pick and Best Value Art Scanner for Artists (Watercolors, Oil, Acrylics, Gouache and Mixed-Media)

Why should you get it?:
Because I have it and it's the most popular scanner among the artists (6/20 artists have used it). Overall, the artists view the Epson V600 as the best scanner for art due to its combination of high scanning quality, reliability, affordable price, and its popularity among other artists.
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CCD Scanning technology
• Max 6400 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Optical Density: 3.4 Dmax
Alternative
Description:

An alternative option if you can't get Epson Perfection V600 above because they have the same specs

Why should you get it?:
Epson V550 is a newer model and you may consider it if you can't get V600. 3/20 artists have used it. Overall, the artists value the Epson V550 because it can scan artworks in very high detail and texture, and it has a lot of adjustable settings so it's flexible to use.
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CCD Scanning technology
• Max 6400 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Optical Density: 3.4 Dmax
Budget Pick
Description:

Best Budget Scanner for Artists

Why should you get it?:
Because it's the best budget art scanner you can get under ±$100 and it almost matches more expensive scanners when it comes to scan quality. 3/20 artists have used it and they appreciate its portability and how it can capture all colors and details clearly.
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CIS Scanning technology
• Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Portable size and weight
• USB-C
Alternative
Description:

Alternative to Canon LIDE 400 above - cheaper, but also less powerful

Why should you get it?:
Because you can't get Canon LIDE 400 or you want to save even more money on your art scanner. 2/20 artists have used this scanner and they are satisfied with the scan quality.
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CIS Scanning technology
• Max 2400 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Portable size and weight
Epson Budget Pick
Description:

Best Epson Budget Scanner for Art

Why should you get it?:
Because it's a quite popular scanner for artists. 4/20 artists have used this scanner for their artworks. It's especially popular among digital nomad artists.
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CIS Scanning technology
• Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
• Portable size and weight
Budget CCD Pick
Description:

Best Budget CCD Flatbed Scanner for Artwork

Why should you get it?:
Because you want CCD scanner for the best price. This is an excellent scanner for watercolors, acrylics, oils and drawings!
Highlights:
• A4/8.5″x11″ Scan area size
• CCD Scanning technology
• Max 4800 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Optical density: 3.2 Dmax
A3 Large Format Pick
Description:

Best Value A3 Large Format Flatbed Scanner for Artwork

Why should you get it?:
Because you create large format artworks (A3+) and you don't enjoy stitching them after scanning. Plustek brand is not much known among artists, but this scanner has a great price, uses CCD technology and has sufficient DPI and depth required for high quality art scans.
Highlights:
• A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
• CCD Scanning technology
• Max 1600 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Budget A3 Large Format Pick
Description:

Best Budget A3 Large Format Art Scanner for Artists

Why should you get it?:
Because you create large format black and white artworks (A3+) and you don't want to stitch them after scanning. Artists praise it for it's price, large A3 scanning area, and customizable options for page size and color modes.
Highlights:
• A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
• CIS Scanning technology
• Max 1200 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Alternative
Description:

Best Scanner for Artists if you also need a printer

Why should you get it?:
Because you want a A3 scanner with great specs and you could use a printer for your art business, too.
Highlights:
• A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
• CIS Scanning technology
• Max 1200 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/24-bit external
Professional Pick
Description:

Best Professional A3 Large Format Art Scanner for Artists

Why should you get it?:
Because you are a professional artist and you need a large format scanner for your art studio. You are not limited by budget, so you can get the best professional art scanner for your needs!
Highlights:
• A3/12″x17″ Scan area size
• CCD Scanning technology
• Max 2400 DPI optical resolution
• Color Bit Depth: 48-bit internal/external
• Optical density: 3.8 Dmax

#1 My Pick & Best Value: Epson Perfection V600

My Pick & Best Value
Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo Scanner

Best Value Art Scanner for Artists (Watercolors, Oil, Acrylics, Gouache, and Mixed-Media)

A4/8.5″x11″ Flatbed color photo scanner || CCD scanning technology || 6400 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/external color bit depth || 2009 model

6/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Epson Perfection V600 is the most popular and appreciated scanner by watecolor artists. They appreciate its reliability, durability, and high-quality scans that capture the colors and details accurately. These qualities in combination with its price make Epson V600 the best value scaner for digitizing artworks.

Pros Cons
➕ Price ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ CCD scanning technology ➖ Not portable
➕ 6400 DPI optical resolution
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth
➕ Dependable and durable
➕ Consistent high-quality artwork scans
➕ Popular among artists

Specs

What do the artists think?

Watercolor artist Sandra Eide uses Epson Perfection V600 to digitize her watercolor illustrations.

She has used basic printer scanners before, and the Epson V600 scanner provides much clearer and more accurate color reproduction in her artworks.

Sandra recommends Epson Perfection V600 as an art scanner for artists wanting to sell their traditionally created artwork and achieve clear, high-quality scans. She describes the Epson V600 as an amazing scanner that reproduces vibrant colors and maintains the original painting’s light and shadow details.

The scanner has been a game-changer for Sandra’s workflow, allowing her to create printable artwork for sale on Etsy and her own shop.

Shehe has also used Epson V600 for scanning work for her illustration portfolio.

Artists who also use this scanner are Amanda Kirstyn, Cathy from Easy Sunday Club, Lottie Louise, and others.

#2 Alternative: Epson Perfection V550

Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo Scanner

An alternative option if you can't get Epson Perfection V600 above because they have the same specs

3/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Epson Perfection V550 is a “newer twin” of Epson V600 above. They are almost identical albeit a couple of small design differences. Get it if you are not able to get V600.

Pros Cons
➕ CCD scanning technology ➖ Price
➕ 6400 DPI optical resolution ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth ➖ Not portable
➕ Reliable and durable

Specs

What do the artists think?

Watercolor artist Katie, also known as Hidden Fauna, uses Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner for digitizing her traditional artwork, specifically, the beautiful watercolor paintings she sells as prints in her Etsy shop.

She mentions she appreciates the ability to adjust the Epson V550 settings, such as setting the image type to 48-bit color for better image quality and setting a resolution of 600 dpi for higher quality prints. She also utilizes features like auto exposure, unsharp mask, and dust removal.

In the video, she shares that Epson V550 successfully captures the detailed fur of her skunk painting, and she achieves accurate color representation in her scanned images.

Artists who also use this scanner are mixed-media artist Matt Moloney and others.

#3 Budget Pick: Canon CanoScan LIDE 400

Budget Pick
Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner

Best Budget Scanner for Artists

A4/8.5″x11″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 4800 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/external color bit depth || 2018 model

3/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Canon LIDE 400 is one of the most popular scanner for artists who are on a budget. With its price below ±$100 it’s extremly affordable, but at the same time provides artists with high-quality scans.

Pros Cons
➕ Price ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ 4800 DPI optical resolution ➖ CIS scanning technology
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth
➕ Portable size and weight (great for digital nomads)
➕ Lid with hinges to accommodate sketchbooks
➕ USB-C connection
➕ Popular among artists

Specs

What do the artists think?

Urban sketching artist Teoh, also known as Parkablogs, shares his review of Canon LIDE 400.

Teoh likes that Canon LIDE 400 is very accurate in capturing the colors of the original artwork.

He mentions that colors are very closely matched to the original, with some slight differences in the representation of white areas, where the scanner appeared to render them as whiter and less warm compared to the actual off-white, warm tone of the paper in his sketchbook.

However, the accuracy of the color capture extended to individual colors within the watercolor mix, the granulation of the watercolor, and how the colors blend together.

He emphasized that the Canon LIDE 400 was able to capture all these details clearly, likening the detail level to using a magnifying glass over the sketch.

Artists who also use this scanner are illustrator Asia Orlando, paint markers artist Angela Pan and others.

#4 Alternative: Canon CanoScan LIDE 300

Canon CanoScan Lide 300 Scanner

Alternative to Canon LIDE 400 above - cheaper, but also less powerful

A4/8.5″x11″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 2400 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/external color bit depth || 2018 model

2/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Canon LIDE 300 is a less powerful alternative to Canon LIDE 400 above. It’s a still very solid scanner for digitizing artworks which is praised by professional printers, too!

Pros Cons
➕ Price ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ 2400 DPI optical resolution ➖ CIS scanning technology
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth
➕ Portable size and weight (great for digital nomads)

Specs

What do the artists think?

Pet portraits and wildlife artist, Shannon Mullin, shares how she scans her beautiful artworks on a budget.

She mentions she chose Canon LIDE 300 because it offers a good quality scan, despite its budget-friendly price.

She decided to scan her artworks herself because getting a digital copy of an artwork made at her local fine art printers costs around 50 pounds which is quite expensive. And that’s just to have a copy made and before including additional costs for services like color matching and editing.

She is quite happy with Canon LIDE 300 because when she brings her own digital copies to her printer, made with the method she describes, they comment on the high quality of her scans, suggesting that her method is an effective and cost-efficient alternative to professional scanning services.

Artists who also use this scanner are Minnie Small and others.

#5 Epson Budget Pick: Epson Perfection V39

Epson Budget Pick
Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo Scanner

Best Epson Budget Scanner for Art

A4/8.5″x11″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 4800 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth || 2015 model

4/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Epson Perfection V39 is the most popular art scanner among artists who are digital nomads or who use it a secondary scanner while they travel. It provides high-quality and color accurate scans at a very affordable price!

Pros Cons
➕ Price ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ 4800 DPI optical resolution ➖ CIS scanning technology
➕ Portable size and weight (great for digital nomads) ➖ 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth
➕ Removable scanner lid
➕ Popular among artists

Specs

What do the artists think?

A digital nomad graphic designer and illustrator, Claudia Orengo, is very satisfied with the Epson V39 scanner, along with her positive experience with other Epson scanners she has used.

She emphasizes that it’s not necessary to have an expensive scanner to sell artwork online, and starting with a scanner that is accessible and provides sufficient quality is more important.

What she appreciates the most on Epson V39 scanner is that it’s portable and travel-friendly because it’s so lightweight. It’s suitable for smaller as well as bigger artwork (with use of the stitching software). And it provides her with good-quality scans capturing the details and colors of her handmade watercolor paintings, allowing her to edit them in Photoshop.

She also appreciates the simplicity of the Epson scanner’s settings, mentioning that it offers enough options to customize the scanning process according to her preferences. She found it user-friendly and easy to set up.

Other artists who have used this scanner are Cat Coq, Teoh, a.k.a Parkablogs, and David Finch.

#6 Budget CCD Pick: Epson Perfection V370

Budget CCD Scanner
Epson Perfection V370 Scanner

Best Budget CCD Flatbed Scanner for Artwork

A4/8.5″x11″ Flatbed color photo scanner || CCD scanning technology || 4800 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/external color bit depth || 2014 model

1/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Epson Perfection V370 is the choice of artists who are on a budget but want to use the CCD scanning technology. All the budget scanners above use CIS scanning technology which is decent, but inferor to CCD. Epson V370 combines great price, high-quality and color accurate scans, so it’s also a great pick!

Pros Cons
➕ Price ➖ A4/8.5″x11″ scan area size
➕ CCD scanning technology ➖ Not portable
➕ 4800 DPI optical resolution
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth

Specs

What do the artists think?

The urban sketching and watercolors artist Giacomo Sardelli shares his experience with the Epson V370 Photo scanner. He describes the scanner as an essential tool for publishing high-quality scans of his artworks, particularly drawings and watercolor paintings.

He purchased the Epson V370 for its CCD sensor, explaining that CCD sensors offer better color quality and depth of field compared to CIS sensors, making it the best choice for scanning cold-pressed or rough watercolor paper, and sketchbooks that lift from the scanner surface. He also appreciates the scanner’s maximum optical resolution of 4800 DPI and its adjustable lid that can be opened 180° for scanning thick sketchbooks.

Giacomo thinks that the Epson Perfection V370 Photo is an excellent scanner for drawings and watercolors, praising its quality and affordability.

#7 Best Value A3 Large Format Pick: Plustek OpticPro A320L

A3 Large Format Pick
Plustek OpticPro A320L A3 Large Format Scanner

Best Value A3 Large Format Flatbed Scanner for Artwork

A3/12″x17″ Flatbed color image scanner || CCD scanning technology || 1600 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth || 2017 model

1/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Plustek OpticPro A320L is the best value A3 art scanner (or large format art scanner) because compared to high end Epson and Canon A3 scanners it has affordable price, decent technical specifications and based on artists’ experience it produces high-quality scans with accurate color reproduction.

Pros Cons
➕ Price (compared to professional A3 scanners) ➖ 1600 DPI optical resolution
➕ A3/12″x17″ scan area size ➖ 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth
➕ CCD scanning technology ➖ Not portable
➕ Manageable size and weight
➕ Well built

Specs

What do the artists think?

A mixed-media markers and pencils artist, Priscila Flores, shares her experience with Plustek OpticPro A320E, which is a less powerful model compared to OpticPro A320L.

The main difference between Plustek OpticPro A320E and A320 L is that A320E has a maximum optical resolution of 800DPI, and A320L has 1600DPI, so a double.

Priscila chose the Plustek OpticPro A320E scanner because of its large scanning area. She explains that she needed a scanner that could accommodate her big paintings and illustrations. Plustek’s scan area size allows her to capture the details and textures of her artwork very well.

Priscila shows her satisfaction with the Plustek OpticPro A320E scanner, as it allows her to scan her artwork with good quality and speed. She believes it is a valuable tool for artists who want to capture the details and textures of their artwork and incorporate high-resolution images into their creative projects.

#8 Budget A3 Large Format Pick: Plustek OpticSlim OS1180

Budget A3 Scanner
Plustek A3 Large Format Flatbed Scanner OS 1180

Best Budget A3 Large Format Flatbed Scanner for Artwork

A3/12″x17″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 1200 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth || 2020 model

1/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

Plustek OS1180 is THE budget A3 scanner for artists because compared to other large format scanners it’s very affordable while at the same time delivering decent quality scans with accurate enough color reproduction.

Pros Cons
➕ Price (compared to professional A3 scanners) ➖ 1200 DPI optical resolution
➕ A3/12″x17″ scan area size ➖ CIS scanning technology
➕ Lightweight considering it’s A3 scanner ➖ 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth
➕ Well built ➖ Not portable

Specs

What do the artists think?

A comic book artist, EldenDraws shares his experience with scanning his art using the Plustek OpticSlim 1180 scanner.

He mainly scans his black-and-white comic pages using the Plustek OS1180 scanner because he things the color accuracy is not perfect.

Elden mentions the ease of setting up the scanner and using the scanner software and its options for working with the scans. He highlights the ability to edit scanned images within the software, such as applying denoise to reduce background smudging.

He also appreciates the option to customize the page size, the options for color mode (black and white, grayscale, color) and how different modes produce different results.

Overall, Elden is quite satisfied with the Plustek OS1180 scanner because it meets his requirements for scanning black-and-white comic pages, offers a large scanning area, and provides customizable options for page size and color modes.

#9 Alternative: Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 All-in-one Printer Scanner

A3 Art Scanner Printer
Epson Workforce Pro WF-7820 Wireless All-in-One Wide-Format Printer

Alternative All-in-one Printer Scanner for Artists

A3/12″x17″ Flatbed color image scanner || CIS scanning technology || 1200 DPI optical resolution || 4800x2400 DPI print resolution || 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth || 2020 model

My Summary

   

Epson WF-7820 is an “orange among the apples” because it’s not a dedicated scanner, but rather an all-in-one printer, scanner and copier. It has similar specs as Plustek OS1180 above but at approximately the same price you are also getting a decent printer.

Pros Cons
➕ Price (compared to professional A3 scanners) ➖ 1200 DPI optical resolution
➕ A3/12″x17″ scan area size ➖ CIS scanning technology
➕ Printer is an added bonus ➖ 48-bit internal/24-bit external color bit depth

Specs

What do the artists think?

A professional watercolor artist Ness shares her experience with the Epson WF-7820 scanner.

Ness previously used a small, low-quality discontinued Canon scanner which was not good for scanning her watercolor paintings. She needed a larger and higher-quality scanner.

She found Epson WF-7820 to stand out due to its size and affordability. It’s primarily an all-in-one printer, scanner, and copier, but she mainly got it for its scanner.

The flatbed scanner of the Epson WF 7820 is large, approximately 12×18 inches, making it ideal for scanning larger format pieces. The scanning software provided, Epson Scan Smart, offers manual adjustment options and a preview scan feature.

Ness made scan tests at 600 dpi and was pleased with the results. She notes that the scans captured the subtle colors and textures of her watercolor paintings accurately. In comparison to her old scans, the Epson scanner produced less washed-out colors and preserved more details, even in paler colors.

She recommends WF-7820 as a cost-effective option for artists who need a larger scanning area and desire good-quality scans of their traditional artwork.

#10 Professional Pick: Epson Expression 12000XL A3 Large Format Scanner

Professional Pick
Epson Expression 12000XL-GA Flatbed Scanner

Best Professional A3 Large Format Art Scanner for Artists

A3/12″x17″ Flatbed color photo scanner || CCD scanning technology || 2400 DPI optical resolution || 48-bit internal/external color bit depth || 2017 model

1/20 artists have used this scanner to digitize their art

My Summary

   

At its price, Epson Epxression 12000XL is an art scanner for professional artists and for art studios. Professional artists appreciate its large scanning area size so it streamlines their workflow and consistently delivers color accurate and hiqh-quality scans!

Pros Cons
➕ A3/12″x17″ scan area size ➖ Price suitable only for professional artists and studios
➕ CCD scanning technology ➖ Huge size and weight
➕ 2400 DPI optical resolution
➕ 48-bit internal/external color bit depth

Specs

What do the artists think?

A comic book artist David Finch shares his experience using the Epson Expression 12000XL scanner for scanning his comics.

David primarily uses the Epson Expression 12000XL scanner, which is a double-size scanner capable of scanning entire sheets of 11×17 artwork in one go. This scanner provides high-quality scans suitable for printing.

His experience with Epson 12000XL has been very positive.

David appreciates the larger scanning area, which is convenient for scanning larger artworks without the need to scan them in multiple sections and stitch them together later. Epson Expression 12000XL has streamlined his scanning process. He doesn’t have to adjust his painting format or scan multiple sections, saving time and effort in the scanning and editing process.

The scanner also provides consistent, high-quality scans suitable for printing. It captures the details and colors of his artwork accurately, allowing for a faithful reproduction of his original pieces.

Overall it’s an amazing studio scanner for professional artists like David!

Main Criteria for Choosing an Art Scanner

OK, so in this part, I’ll explain all the criteria and technical features you should consider when getting an art scanner for digitizing your artworks.

There are many different scanners available, but the scanning process for an artist is very different from what many others do, so we need to focus on the best scanner for artwork and artists, not just another document scanner.

All of the scanners on my list meet the below criteria!

Scan Quality or Optical Resolution in DPI

The optical resolution of a scanner is the true, physical resolution at which it can capture an image. It’s determined by the precision of the scanner’s optics and mechanics.

This value, measured in dots per inch (DPI), represents the maximum amount of distinct pixels the scanner can physically distinguish in a linear inch. In the case of the Epson V600, the maximum optical resolution is 6400 dpi, which means it can capture 6400 distinct dots in a single inch

The rule of thumb is “the higher the DPI, the more details the scanner can capture,” and so it will be more color accurate.

However, unless you work for an art museum or an art institute where you need to digitize artworks in the highest quality possible, you will not need to scan your artworks in higher DPI than 600 DPI. This is usually sufficient if you’re planning to reproduce your artwork at its original size.

600 DPI is also the resolution that almost all artists mentioned when they shared how they scan their artworks to sell as prints or include in their portfolios.

If you plan to enlarge the reproductions, a higher DPI (1200 DPI or 2400 DPI) would be beneficial.

Color Accuracy

The scanner for artwork needs to reproduce the colors in your artwork accurately.

This can be subjective and harder to quantify.

So, in order to determine if the scanner will be able to capture your artworks’ colors accurately, you can look for the following technical features:

CCD vs. CIS Scanning Technology

CCD (Charged Coupled Device) and CIS (Contact Image Sensor) are the two main types of scan technology used in scanners.

If you want the best color accuracy and the highest quality of your scan, aim to get a scanner with CCD scanning technology. If you need a more affordable, compact, portable, and energy-efficient scanner and are willing to compromise slightly on scan quality, go for a CIS scanner.

Why is that?

CCD (Charged Coupled Device) scanner:

CCD is a technology traditionally used in high-end scanners and professional digital cameras.

CCD sensors are highly sensitive and provide high-quality scans with superior color accuracy and depth.

They work using a complex system of mirrors and lenses that direct light reflected from the document to the CCD array. Due to the need for more internal space to accommodate the optical system, CCD scanners tend to be larger and more expensive than their CIS counterparts.

CIS (Contact Image Sensor) scanner:

CIS is a relatively newer scanning technology and is generally used in cheaper, smaller, portable scanners.

These sensors use a series of red, green, and blue LEDs to produce light, which is then reflected off the document and read by an array of sensors that are placed directly below the glass on which the document rests.

This technology eliminates the need for a complex optical system, allowing for more compact and energy-efficient scanners.

However, the downside is that the scan quality may not be as high as that produced by CCD scanners, especially when it comes to scanning three-dimensional or uneven objects. CIS scanners also often have less depth of field and color accuracy compared to CCD scanners.

Color Bit Depth

In the context of scanners, “bit depth” refers to the amount of color information that the scanner can capture and process.

This will be shown in the specs as 48-bit internal/external or 48-bit internal/24-bit external.

You want to aim for 48-bit internal/external color bit depth.

Why? What does it mean?

Color Hardware Bit Depth 48-bit internal/external: this means that the scanner can process 48 bits of color information for every pixel it scans.

Because there are three color channels (red, green, and blue), this means it can capture 16 bits of information per channel, which equates to 65,536 levels of color per channel, or over 281 trillion possible colors.

The “internal/external” label signifies that the scanner retains this bit depth both during the internal scanning process (internal bit depth) and in the final output file (external bit depth).

In other words, the “internal” bit depth refers to the amount of data captured by the scanner itself when scanning an image, and the “external” bit depth refers to the amount of data that is actually stored in the image file that the scanner produces.

Optical Density

Optical Density, represented by the term “Dmax,” refers to a scanner’s ability to capture a wide range of tones (from light to dark). It essentially tells us the maximum density or the darkest tone a scanner can capture.

The Optical Density (Dmax) value is crucial for scanning any type of artwork, not just film.

When you’re scanning traditional artworks like watercolors, oils, acrylics, gouache, drawings, etc., the scanner’s ability to capture a wide range of tones is critical. It helps to ensure that the digital reproduction of the artwork accurately represents the range of colors and tones in the original piece.

A higher Dmax means that the scanner can reproduce both very dark and very bright colors more accurately, preserving the contrast and details of the artwork. This becomes particularly important when dealing with works that have a lot of contrast or subtle shifts in color and tone.

So, a scanner like the Epson V600, with its high Dmax value, would be well-suited to scanning a variety of artwork types, capturing the full range of tones and colors present in the originals.

Scan Area Size

Typical scanners suitable for home and studio use and or digitizing artworks come with A4 or 8.5 x 11″ and A3 or 12″ x 17″ scan area sizes.

A3 art scanners (large format art scanners)

If you often work on larger canvases or use larger paper for your art, an A3 scanner with a larger scan area would be beneficial. This is because a larger scanning bed will allow you to scan your artwork in one go, which is faster and often produces a better-quality image.

If your artwork is larger than the A4 scanner’s bed, you will have to scan your artwork in sections and then digitally stitch these sections together to form the complete image.

This process can be time-consuming and may require additional software to accomplish. Additionally, stitching scans together could potentially result in inconsistencies in color, lighting, and alignment in the final image, which may degrade the overall image quality.

Another consideration is the scanner’s ability to handle the thickness of your artwork. If you work with materials that add texture and dimension to your work, like heavy paint applications or collage elements, you’ll want to make sure your scanner can accommodate these as well.

Type of Scanner

For us artists, the most recommended type of scanner is typically a flatbed scanner due to its flexibility and capability to handle a wide variety of media types and sizes.

Unlike handheld or sheet-fed scanners, flatbed scanners have a flat, glass surface where you place the artwork to be scanned.

This design is beneficial for artists because it allows delicate or bulky items, such as sketchbooks or canvases, to be scanned without risk of damage, which could occur in the rollers of a sheet-fed scanner.

Another particularly important feature for artists to consider is a flatbed scanner with a detachable lid.

This allows the scanner to scan thicker items, such as bound sketchbooks, textbooks, or small canvas boards.

By removing the lid, the scanner can also handle objects that may not lie completely flat against the scanner glass. This is advantageous because it preserves the quality and clarity of the scanned image. If a piece of artwork or a page in a sketchbook cannot lie flat, parts of the image may be out of focus in the scanned image.

Of course, when the lid is attached, a flatbed scanner can also effectively scan loose sheets of artwork, photographs, and even delicate materials that require a gentle scanning process.

FAQs – Best Scanner for Artwork

What scanner is the best for artwork?

Based on my experience, the Epson Perfection V600 scanner is the best for artwork – watercolors, acrylics, gouache, oils, drawings, and mixed media.

What is the best A3 scanner for artwork?

The best A3 scanner for artwork is Plustek OpticPro A320E because it combines great price, DPI resolution, and CCD scanning technology, all super important for artists. If you are getting an art scanner for your art studio, and you are not limited by budget, also consider Epson Expression 12000XL!

What is the best scanner for scanning paintings?

The best scanner for scanning paintings is the Epson Perfection V600 scanner because it makes high-quality scans thanks to high DPI, CCD scanning technology, and a large depth field.

What scanners do illustrators use?

Illustrators use the following scanners: Epson Perfection V600, Epson Perfection V39, and Canon CanoScan LIDE 400.

Summary: Best Scanner To Digitize Your Artworks

I choose the Epson Perfection V600 color photo scanner as the best art scanner for artists because it consistently provides me with high-quality scans with accurate color reproduction, and it’s the most popular scanner among artists who digitize their artworks.

For other use cases, here is the full list of the best art scanners for artists today:

Other articles in the Printers and Scanners series:

Lis cet article en français 🇫🇷 Le meilleur scanner pour le dessin, A3 et l’illustration

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »