Scanning large artwork

As a new publisher working on my first children’s book, I was shocked at how expensive it is to have large pieces of art scanned. I’m not talking about heavy duty paintings, just simple 18X24 watercolor paintings.

I found a high quality art scanning company in Houston. They charge $11 per square foot to scan art on their extremely high quality art scanners. That was going to run me about $500 to have the art scanned for The Tiniest Tree. I was feeling a bit shocked at that number, considering that I need about $800 next month for my first print order of the book.

I decided to see if I could purchase a scanner. My wonderful illustrator, Sandra Burnett, took me to Fry’s near Galveston to check out the scanners. We found one that said 18X22 on the box, and it was marked down from $400 to $250. We split the cost and planned to keep the scanner at Sandra’s place in Texas City since I’m running out of room in my little house in Alexandria, LA.

Once we opened the scanner at Sandra’s, we were upset to find that the 18X22 referred to the size of the scanner itself. The screen size this massive machine was only capable of scanning a legal sized sheet of paper. That will never do. There is no way I was about to scan all of those paintings four times and try to piece them together in Photoshop. I’m sure it is doable, but it would put me behind on my schedule by several weeks. I would rather go to the $500 expensive art scanning place downtown H-Town.

I decided to Facebook some friends and ask for any suggestions. A couple of them said Kinkos, which turned out to be a much better option for what I was trying to accomplish. I called Kinkos and the woman quoted me a simple $87. Wow. I’ll take it!

Later that day, I drove about 45 minutes across town and dropped of the art. The very nice lady behind the counter began to process the order. “Uh oh…” She began. “What did I quote you on the phone?”

“$87,” I reminded her.

“Oh, well, I was about $100 off. How did I do that?” She really was very nice. I was willing to pay the $187. It was still cheaper than the fancy art scanning place. To my relief, she ended up making the order for the amount she quoted me for. Yes, it was a happy day.

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