Leaf Scan Art

For those of you who haven't seen Julia and my recent art post please check it out here--each original print and drawing is now available for purchase in our Etsy shop!  As you will have read in that post, I was making photograms of leaves after Hurricane Sandy.  What I neglected to mention was that I was also making scans of them as well.

If you've never scanned a physical object before I highly recommend trying it out; the results are quite exciting.  Almost everyone has some kind of access to a scanner... a darkroom may be a bit more more difficult to find, which makes this fun scanning process much more DIY friendly than the photograms.

Here's how it's done:
Choose an object with no sharp or hard edges, so you don't scratch (and permanently damage) the glass of your scanner bed.  Make sure you set your scanner to make a high resolution image, preferably 300 ppi or higher, so when you the pictures they will be crisp and detailed.  A 300 ppi scan will yield a 1:1 scale image, while an image with an even higher resolution will be able to be printed at a much larger size than the original object.  I also made some minor edits to my scans in Photoshop, but you can play around and see what works best with yours.

The brown lines reminded me of chinese characters.

For this mini scan project I used many of the same leaves as with my photogram project.  Most of these were quite colorful and had interesting characteristics.

Japanese maple leaf

This Japanese maple leaf came from a tree outside our building that was badly damaged in the storm after another larger tree fell atop it, breaking a good portion of its limbs to the ground. It was a beautiful tree, so it was sad to lose a big part of it to the storm.

Ravaged Leaf

This particularly damaged leaf was still wet from the storm when I scanned it, which yielded a shimmering quality to the final product.

Oooh shiny!

This leaf was also still wet -- I just can't get over how the moisture turned out.  When you scan a wet object the light from the scanner bounces around a bit more than it would without the wetness.

I really like the photograms of this leaf; the little crack has so much detail, and the shape is nice, but I wasn't a huge fan of the scan.  Until...

I decided to rescan it after several days of drying, and I was very happy with the result.  After a few days of drying the leaves had curled, and they didn't lay completely flat on the scanner.  The scanner works photographically similar to a camera set on a very wide aperture.  For those of you who are not as knowledgable about the photographic process this means that the plane of focus (the area of space that is in focus) is very thin / small.  So the more raised the leaf is off of the glass, the less in focus it will be, and due to how the light is bouncing around there will be more shadows, too.

Another dried leaf

I hope you enjoyed my little show of scans!
And enjoy autumn while it lasts.  The cold is coming... it actually snowed here last night, so we may already be out of luck on that front.

What do you think of this art project?  Which one is your favorite?  Would you try scanning leaves or other objects? Can you think of anything really cool we should try scanning?

Also... we're currently at 99 followers on Blogger, and we're quite excited to hit the big 100! Who's it going to be??


  1. Sorry, already following. :)
    Those leaves are so cool! What a great idea. I don't think I'll be able to resist putting all sorts of things in my scanner today.

  2. I am already a follower :) but have to say love the idea of scanning leaves. We have a scanner for hubbys bus so I am so going to try this!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...