Inkscape is a free, multi-platform drawing application for creating illustrations and graphics. It is vector-based, so drawings can be easily modified. Inkscape features drawing pens, brushes, shapes and sculpting tools. With Inkscape, you can import, use and save a wide variety of vector formats.
When Inkscape launches, it automatically opens a new document. Modify the art board size by selecting "File" and "Document Properties." Choose from standard formats in the "Page size" menu, or set a "Custom size." The art board updates automatically as you make the changes.
Pens and Paintbrushes
Pens and paintbrushes are tools you can use to paint or draw freehand. Click the "Draw freehand lines" tool button and scribble on the art board. In the lower left corner of the screen, click the color block next to "Stroke" to open the "Fill and Stroke" panel. On this panel, change the line color (the "Wheel" tab is the easiest color picker to use). Click the "Stroke style" tab and experiment with the stroke style properties.
Click the "Draw calligraphic or brush strokes" tool in the Tool Box. Note the new Tool Controls tool bar appeared above the art board. This tool bar allows you to set various paintbrush settings, such as width, thinning, tremor and wiggle. Scribble on the art board, change one of the settings and scribble some more to see how the different values change the stroke. On the "Fill and Stroke" panel, change the Blur under the "Stroke style" tab to give the stroke a painterly effect.
Click the "Create rectangles and squares" tool, and click-and-drag on the art board to draw a rectangle. Repeat with the "Create 3D boxes," "Create circles, ellipses, and arc," "Create stars and polygons," and "Create spirals" tools. Each of these tools has a Tool Controls tool bar above the art board that changes the individual shape settings. Experiment with the settings to see how changing each changes the appearance of the shape. Use the "Fill and Stroke" panel to change the colors and stroke style.
The "Tweak objects by sculpting or painting" lets you reshape an object (a path or shape) by nudging, pulling or painting the object. Activate an object by clicking the "Select and transform objects" tool, then clicking on an object. Click on the "Tweak tool." The selection box around the object will disappear so it does not obscure your view. Click-and-drag in a motion like you are pushing against the object to change the shape of the object. Try the different modes and other settings on the Tool Control tool bar to see how these settings change the behavior of the tool.
Inkscape is a powerful drawing application with many more features and tools. Click "Help" and "Inkscape Manual" to go to the online manual for Inkscape. On the site, you can download a PDF version of the manual or purchase a printed copy. In Inkscape, click "Help" and "Tutorials" to access several built-in, hands-on tutorials.
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