Instagram magic


After more than five years of having the same mobile phone, I finally bought a new one that’s more up to speed with technology. It’s decent and has a decent camera, which means I can now play around with a lot of apps and take photos that don’t suffer with photo grain (from 3MP to 12MP, it definitely makes a difference). Anyways! I wanted to demystify the world of Instagram. And then add an Instagram feed to my Illustrations section. I thought since I wanted a setup that was simple and easy to repeat, there were a few things I needed to find out.

The first thing I wanted to do was to have a lightbox for those times I want a good shot. Now I backed something called Scanbox on Kickstarter around 2012 and never used it until now. What is super nice about Scanbox is that it can flatpack down so it’s a lightbox that is also portable. It was the Plus version so it also had an LED strip at the top which makes it easier to take a photo just about any time of the day as well. I would have otherwise been tasked with creating my own version, which probably wouldn’t be portable. I made a makeshift layer/plate out of cardboard for adjustment. It makes rotating and shifting the sketches a lot easier, as the flutes show how straight the paper is. On this layer I may also use an A4 paper for sketches that do not reach all the way to the edge of the shots after I zoomed in using the camera.

Scanbox setup

The best reason I wanted a simple setup was because I want to post as effortlessly as possible to be able to focus on creating content instead. The alternative method was to scan each drawing, make adjustments in an image editor and upload it as a gallery to this blog. It would take a lot more time, effort and Instagram also has people who have eyes that may want to see my sketches. So in the spirit of keeping the process simple, when I take a photo in the best light possible, I found that the Juno filter and the default Lux setting work very well with my pencil drawings. I may consider using contrast on images that are faint, though only if it’s absolutely necessary.

One of the last things I wanted to figure out were hashtags. At first I thought I knew how they worked. As my first post was a sketch I made 2012 I thought that you could search tags on profiles and went with #2012. I was wrong. Turns out searching on Instagram is really not like searching on something like Twitter. Eventually, and after some reading up about common courtesies like commenting your less popular hashtags after you post and putting the popular ones first, I went with #illustration #sketch #sketchjam2012. I think three is a good, modest number. From what I have seen people go with about seven to twenty, and a maximum of thirty. I’m not that comfortable with it yet it seems.

All in all, I had a rather interesting experience with figuring all this out.

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