How to digitize hand lettering using your phone

I will be sharing a tutorial on how to digitize the hand lettering you made without scanning it and just using your phone. (This tutorial for lazy people like me.)

You will need

  • Pen (any pen)
  • Paper (as much as possible the plain one)
  • Smartphone

You will also need these apps

  • CamScanner
  • Afterlight
  • PicsArt
  • NegativeMe

This post was also inspired by Cecile Moore of The Paper Curator but I kinda tweeked some parts of it and added another tip.

First of all, you have to write the word/phrase/sentence/object or whatever you want to digitize. I wrote down “How to digitize hand lettering using your phone”.

It looks like thisOpen the app CamScanner. (I always thought this app was only used for school purposes. Haha!) You can either take a photo of your lettering before you open this app or just use this app to take the photo. In my case, I took the photo using the app.

When you open the app, there will be a camera icon at the bottom. Click the icon and this will appear. Angle your camera at the top so you can have a better shot of your lettering. When you finish taking a photo, you then crop the image to the words you want to scan. Then press the check mark.

You will then see this in your screen. You can adjust the settings on how you want your photo to look like. You may use the setting Auto on top so that the phone will adjust automatically. You can change the brightness and contrast if you want the words to be darker or lighter. In this case, I used Magic Color. Whenever you are satisfied, you can press the check mark again and save to your album.
My final work looks like this. (The black border doesn’t really exist. I just placed that so you can see the dimensions of the photo.)
I want my photo to be square so I used AfterLight to square my photo. You can actually different app to square your photo such as Squaready and the likes but I like to use AfterLight. So open afterlight and click the button on the right side to open a photo from your album. When you open the photo, click the right most icon that’s shaped like a square with a circle inside. Then click original and tap on the third icon like the photo below to square your photo. You can adjust if you want to have a border or not.
And voilà! Your photo is now square!
Now I’m gonna share to you another tip on how to overlay your hand lettering on another photo.
 Open AfterLight and choose a photo you wanna use as a background. I chose a photo I took when I was in Manila.
Next, go to the crop icon (which is the second to the last icon shown at the top photo) and choose the right most icon that looks like two floating papers. These are actually called layers. When you click that icon, you can choose from these effects you want below.
So I just chose darken since I just want the words on my photo. When your photo has black text and white background, you may choose from either darken or multiply option to remove the white background. This is how it looks like now.
If you want the black text to become white, open NegativeMe and click start and choose the photo you want to change and then save. (Pay attention since there is an add before you save the file. It asks you to pay premium to remove the ads but you can just say no.)
With the white text and black background, this is how my photo looks like now.
You can now open AfterLight and do the same process with what you did awhile ago. When you have a black background and white text, you may use the screen or lighten option to remove the black background.
And this is how the final photo looks like.
 The downside with using AfterLight (aside from it’s not free) is that you can’t freely adjust the text on where you want to put it.
But do not despair, I have another way! You may use the app called PicsArt for this.
Just like awhile ago, open the app and choose your background. Now you may click the Add Photo option and choose the photo with the text. It will then look like this…
You then click the arrow down beside the word Normal to change the blending option. Just like in AfterLight, with white background and black text, you choose darken or multiply, while with black background and white text, you can choose lighten or screen
With PicsArt, you will be able to adjust the photo if you want it to be bigger or smaller or drag it anywhere you want the words to be. This is my final photo.

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

You can just actually play with all the blending options on how you want your photo to look like. Change the opacity and everything else to make it your own style.
I hope this tutorial was helpful! Thanks for taking your time to read everything all the way here! :))

10 thoughts on “How to digitize hand lettering using your phone

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this tip!
    I just installed the Afterlight,and found that there’s no layers icon! Do you know if this is exclusive to iPhone users only? 😦 I couldn’t find NegativeMe app too in the Play Store.

    1. You’re welcome! With Android, I’m not so sure with the layers icon in AfterLight. Maybe you can try using PicsArt instead? 🙂 for the NegativeMe app, I will look for another alternative and update this soon. 🙂

      1. PicsArt is awesome! Thank you 🙂
        By the way if it helps, I’m using an app called Easy Image Negative to convert the text to white. It doesn’t allow you to edit anything though, so after I convert it, I have to adjust the contrast, brightness etc. Does the job, though.

        Thanks again for this tutorial I had a lot of fun digitizing my letterings 🙂

    This is super timely because my Illustrator CS5 suddenly stopped working (yan ang napapala ng kaka-torrent) so I will download these apps FIRST THING when I get home.

    Thank you super for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (di naman halatang eggzoited akiz)

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