A Crash Course in Inkscape – Version 0.91


A crash course into Inkscape version 0.91 image header

On January 30, 2015, Inkscape Version 0.91 was released to the world. That means new and updated features, plus an updated crash course. Much like the previous version of A Crash Course In Inkscape (version 0.48), this 0.91 version is geared to get you up and creating vector art with this free, open-source program. That means you’ll learn the basics and some other useful techniques in Inkscape.

Given the size and scope that this guide, I had to have a table of contents of sorts. If you want to focus solely on one aspect of Inkscape, you have that option. I want to get you up and running, not bogged down in text. Here’s a break-down of my crash course:

Prologue: What’s New in Version 0.91?

This release has been in the works for quite some time. Cosmetically, you won’t notice any major changes in the interface (aside from the addition of the Measurement Tool). The vast majority of the changes and additions are under the hood. For example Inkscape now utilizes Cairo rendering, which is a free and open-source 2D graphics library that specializes in taking advantage of your device’s hardware acceleration for rendering vectors. In a nutshell, this means Inkscape will display your graphics faster.

The most notable changes that users will see include:

  • Text Tool that now operates more like the Text Tool in Adobe Illustrator, making it way easier for users.
  • The addition of the Measure Tool to Inkscape’s Main Bar.
  • The tool control bar that displays while using the Node Tool now has a new drop down menu that will add new nodes onto the most extreme points of your curves.
  • The Gradient Tool has some new features.
  • You can now import and export WMF and EMF files.
  • Better support for Corel Draw documents.
  • A native 64-bit build for Windows users.
  • A major revamp of the Preferences Window.
  • Now can export to Flash XML Graphics (FXG).
  • HTML5 Canvas export format.
  • A grayscale display mode.
  • Bug fixes!

What is Inkscape?

Inkscape is a free, open-source 2-D vector art program. Because it is both free and open-source, it is supported by donations from its users. Inkscape is one of the most robust and useful Adobe Illustrator alternatives that the open-source community has ever created. Compared to other open-source vector drawing programs that I’ve played with, there is no comparison. Inkscape can be used on all major computer operating systems (Linux, Mac, and Windows), and can import and export to many major file formats. (SVG, AI, EPS, PDF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.) Given the fact that as a once-budding graphic designer, I was raised on Adobe products, it took me quite a while to figure out and to get used to Inkscape. (And it was by no means easy.)

Inkscape’s Interface

To get an understanding of Inkscape, we need to get to know Inkscape’s interface. Let’s take a look:

Inkscape's interface overview

Click to enlarge

Menu Bar: If you’re a Windows or Linux user, this’ll be quite familiar. If you’re a Mac lover, this will be your Menu Bar. This is where the majority of your options are.

Main Tools: This is the bar where your basic tools are located. (Selector, Node Tool, Zoom Tool, etc.)

Tool Settings: Where you’ll adjust the settings for your main tools.

Rulers: Most CG artists are familiar with rulers. A click-drag from either ruler will let you create a guide. Double-clicking on a guide will bring up a window that will allow you to adjust the guide’s parameters.

Canvas: The area that contains your page. This is also the area where you’ll create your paths, objects, and raster art.

Page: The area that will hold your artwork whenever you export or print your documents. Any objects outside the page will not print or be exported.

Dock: This will store your palettes to adjust different settings.

Command Bar: Contains shortcuts/buttons to many of the items/settings within the menus.

Snap Bar: To adjust or set what snaps to what.

Color Pallet: One of the places to select your colors. You can use your scroll wheel to scroll through your color palette back and forth. (You can also use the Fill and Stroke palette to select your colors, located inside the Command Bar.)

Status Bar: This has gobs of stuff all in one glance. The Status Bar tells you the color an object’s using. You can adjust the opacity of an object or path. You can lock, hide/show, and change layers. The Status Bar also provides useful tips. It tells you your cursor’s coordinates. You can also adjust the zoom.

Getting Around Inkscape

Let’s go over some useful keystrokes and mousing to help us move around Inkscape:

Panning and Zooming

      • To pan or maneuver around the canvas — Click-hold-middle mouse button/scroll wheel and drag or Alt/Option-left mouse button and drag
      • Zoom in: + (plus) key, Control-Right-Click
      • Zoom out: (minus) key, Shift-Right-Click
      • You can also zoom in and out using Control-Mouse Wheel

Zoom Presets

      • Zoom 1:1 — 1 key
      • Zoom 1:2 — 2 key
      • Zoom to selection — 3 key
      • Zoom to drawing — 4 key
      • Zoom to page — 5 key
      • Zoom to page width — 6 key

Moving and Manipulating Objects Around in Inkscape

      • Contextual menu to copy, cut, paste, and some advance options. — Right-Click
      • To prevent Apple’s X11 environment from rasterizing your vector objects, go into your Menu Bar, click X11 menu >> Preferences… >> Pasteboard button >> uncheck Enable syncing. Doing this will allow you to Copy, Cut, and Paste your vector objects and have them remain as vectors.
      • If you want to duplicate any vector object use Control-D.
      • To move any vector object or path between layers, go to the Layers menu or use keystroke Shift-Page Up to move a selection to a layer above.
      • Shift-Page Down to move a selection to a layer below.
      • To bring up the Selector — Spacebar
      • To move a selection to the layer above, Ctrl-Page Up button.
      • To move a selection down a layer, Ctrl-Page Down button.
      • To raise a selection to up the stack, Page Up button.
      • To lower a selection to down the stack, Page Down button.
      • To raise a selection to the top, Home button.
      • To lower a selection to the bottom, End button.
      • Ctrl key to restrict movement of a selection to horizontally or vertically.
      • Shift key to disable snapping while dragging around a selection.
      • Arrow keys can be used to nudge a selection.
      • Left-Clicking a selection will give you handles to resize it. Clicking that same selection again gives you handles to rotate and skew.

For more information on keystrokes, check out Inkscape keyboard and mouse reference.

Inkscape’s Main Bar

Here is Inkscape’s Main Bar containing your core set of tools:

Inkscape tools

      • Selector Tool: (S or Spacebar) Of course you can select objects with the Selector. But you can also use the Selector tool to resize your vector object. With a second click, you can rotate and skew the selection.
      • Node Tool: (N) The Node Tool in Inkscape is pretty versatile. It lets you select nodes and adjust their handles to adjust the paths. Click and dragging a section between nodes also adjusts the curve and brings out the node’s handles. Shift-C will let you adjust the node’s handles independently of each other. If your path or object has a gradient, either within the fill or stroke, the Node tool is also capable of adjusting the gradient handles without the need to switch to the Gradient Tool.
      • Tweak Tool: (W) The tweak tool actually has quite a few tricks. You can push and pull paths and objects, shrink, roughen, shift the object’s color, and blur the object.
      • Zoom Tool: (Z) This is self-explanatory for most of you. The Zoom Tool lets you zoom in and out (while holding the shift key) of your drawing area. You can also use the (minus) and + (plus) keys to zoom.
      • Measure Tool: (M) The Measure Tool is the lone new addition to the Main Bar. If you’re used to Adobe’s Ruler Tool, this will seem like an odd cat. But it works in a similar fashion. With the Measure Tool you simply click and drag anywhere on the canvas to measure things. It also has an extra addition that will remind you of a pie chart. This addition allows you to also measure angles. Pressing the Shift key will move the red side (where your angle starts) of the angle to where your cursor is.
      • Rectangle Tool: (R) The Rectangle tool lets you create rectangles and squares. When you create your rectangle, it isn’t quite a path yet. When a rectangle is selected, you’ll see some handles at three of the corners. The squares let you resize your rectangle. The circle in the upper right-hand corner will split into two circles, but they will allow you to adjust the roundness of the rectangle’s corners when dragged. Drag it far enough and your rectangle turns into an ellipse. To convert your rectangle into an editable path, go to the menu bar, select Path, then Object to Path. (Shift-Control-C)

        An Inkscape rectangle. Click to enlarge.

        An Inkscape rectangle. Click to enlarge.

      • 3D Box Tool: (X) This tool will let you create live 3D boxes in Inkscape. When you create your first 3D box, you’ll find handles for all three vanishing points; X, Y, and Z. The 3D box tool is great for perspective drawing.
      • Ellipse/Arc Tool: (E) The Ellipse/Arc Tool is for all of your elliptical needs. When you first create an ellipse, you’ll find a circle handle on the right-hand side of your object. That handle will separate into two circle handles that can be used to partition off how much of the ellipse you’ll want to use for an arc or curve. Dragging either handle inside the ellipse will maintain the fill within the parameter of the object up to the two circle handles. Dragging either of the circle handles outside of the ellipse will cause the ellipse’s fill to cut straight into the center, like a pie chart. Just like the Rectangle Tool, your ellipse/arc is not a path yet. To convert it into a path, go to the menu bar, select Path, then Object to Path. (Shift-Control-C)
      • Star Tool: (*) The Star tool creates objects that can be formed into stars or polygons. You’ll find two handles on your newly created objects, one to adjust the points, the other to adjust the inside corners. The settings, under the menu bar, let you change the number of corners, the roundness of the corners, and there’s a setting that will  let you turn your polygon into wacky abstractions.
      • Spiral Tool: (i) For all of your spiral creation needs. You’ll find two different handles on your new spiral. One handle to control the end in the inside of the spiral, and the other for the end on the outside.
      • Freehand Tool: (P) The Freehand Tool lets you create editable paths. This is probably best used with a graphics tablet.
      • Bezier Tool: (b) For creating bezier curves and straight lines. The Bezier Tool reminds me a lot of Freehand’s bezier tool. You have to click and drag to pull out a node’s handle. In Illustrator, you can adjust handles on the fly. This isn’t the case in Inkscape. (Or I haven’t found a way to do this yet.)
      • Calligraphy Tool: (C) The Calligraphy tool lets you create lines with varying widths. The end result isn’t a skeletal stroke, but a newly created object with just a fill. The Calligraphy Tool can be used with a graphics tablet to paint, ink, and draw with, but my experiences so far haven’t been particularly great. As a warning, this tool will require some patience. It has different presets that create different effects as you draw, but for inking, I recommend using the Brush preset, set both Tremor and Wiggle set to 0. Play around with the rest of the settings until you get a more desired result. Your new stroke will also be loaded with nodes. I also recommend to click the Path menu, and select Simplify (Ctrl-L) to reduce your nodes and smooth out your strokes.
      • Text Tool: (T) With the Text tool you can click in a spot and start typing. You can also click and drag to create a text box reminiscent of your favorite page layout software. In this version of Inkscape, all of the necessary settings to manipulate and adjust your text are located within the Tool Settings.
      • Spray Tool: (A) The Spray Tool’s an interesting toy. What the Spray Tool does is duplicates the last selected object in clusters as you drag your cursor across the canvas. The Spray Tool also has options that scatter and rotate your duplicates.
      • Eraser Tool: (E) The Eraser Tool comes in handy for those times when you get a little sloppy. The Eraser Tool works in one of two ways, either it’ll create a temporary path that will delete any object beneath it. Or the Eraser Tool will create a new object, much like the Calligraphy Tool, and with the new object, use it to cut into the object under it. So it’ll look like you’ve just erased a part of an object.
      • Paint Bucket Tool: (U) The Paint Bucket Tool works like any other paint bucket tool, it floods areas with color. The Paint Bucket Tool also works much like its equivalent in Illustrator. It can flood-fill in between objects, creating new objects. The Paint Bucket Tool is also sensitive to bitmap areas or raster objects. It’s smart enough to flood-fill in an area of a raster object and create a new object based on that area. The Paint Bucket Tool can also be applied to vector objects, creating duplicates with a different color.
      • Gradient Tool: (G) The Gradient Tool can be used to apply gradients to your objects, but I think it truly shines as a tool to adjusting the gradient within your object. Based on the type of gradient you’re using, you’ll find some handles. You can use the handles to position where you want you color to begin. The handles can also be used to let you determine what color you want to use in that end of the gradient and the transparency with the Fill and Stroke Pallet. Most of the gradients settings have been moved up to the Tool Settings.
      • Dropper Tool: (D) The Dropper works just like any other dropper tool in the sense that it can pick-up color anywhere in your canvas, but with a twist. If you have another object selected while using the Dropper Tool, it’ll change the fill of that color. And it doesn’t have to be another object’s fill color. You can apply one object’s stroke color to another’s fill. To apply a color to a stroke, you’ll need to hold down the Shift key.
      • Connector Tool: (O) The Connector Tool is not something I have used until writing this article. This tool is great for people who create diagrams. Basically the Connector Tool’s sole use is to let you create lines that connect to your objects. Once those lines are created, they’ll remain attached to your objects. If you have two squares linked together, and you can choose to move one of them, the line will stretch/squash, and follow your square.

For more information on the tools from the Main Bar, check out Inkscape keyboard and mouse reference.

Useful Tools in the Inkscape’s Command Bar

Next up in our fun-filled Crash Course in Inkscape, we’re going to learn about many of the useful palettes that you will be using on a daily basis. And when I say useful, I mean important. These palettes can be accessed in Inkscape’s Command Bar. The Command Bar also has some buttons for redundant actions like Save, Copy, Cut, etc. If you’re unable to guess the keystrokes, you can find those commands within Inkscape’s File and Edit menus.

Fill and Stroke Palette

Inkscape's Fill and Stroke palletInkscape's Fill and Stroke buttonYou will be using the Fill and Stroke Palette constantly. It’s structured much like any other color palette in a vector program. For both the Fill and Stroke, you can choose no color, a flat color, a linear gradient, a radial gradient, pattern fill, do a swatch fill, or make it undefined. (I’m not sure what exactly that means yet.) The Fill and Stroke palette gives you tabs for all of the major color spectrums, plus a color wheel (which I love). Along with color, the palette lets you change the transparency of your fill and/or stroke with the Alpha Slider. Inkscape also has an Opacity Slider, which controls the opacity of the entire object. Objects can be easily blurred with the Blur Slider.

In the upper right-hand corner of the Fill and Stroke palette, you’ll notice two strange buttons, the icons look like hearts. Both of these buttons let you chose which Fill-Rule you want to use.

The heart shape with the hole in it (on the left-hand side) will apply the Even-odd Fill-Rule to your object. What this means is that if your object has a path that overlaps itself, the areas where it overlaps will be a hole or empty space.

The solid-looking heart, on the right-hand side, uses the Non-zero Rule. What this means is that in order to have space or gaps with in an object, that space has to be created with a sub-path. The sub-path has to create a space that Inkscape considers “outside” the path. You’re using the sub-path to poke a hole into your vector object. It’s what happens when you overlap two objects and apply Difference or Exclusion to them. For slightly better explanation, you can read up on the Stroke and Fill palette’s Fill-Rule Attribute.

The Stroke Style tab is almost identical to any other stroke style palette in any vector program. The only major difference that I can think of is Illustrator let’s you set the size of the gaps and dashes in its Stroke Style palette. Inkscape only gives you an option to off-set the pattern. But Inkscape has a large array of pattern presets, so this may not be a huge deal-breaker.

Inkscape’s Layers Palette

Inkscape's Layers Pallet buttonYes, Inkscape does have layers. You can toggle between them in ether the Status Bar or within the Layers Palette. The Layers Pallet does a few other major functions that most of us would expect from any serious graphics program: creation and deletion of layers, name layers, lock, hide, Blend Modes, and Opacity. You can also move layers up and down the stack. You can use the arrow buttons in the Layers Palette to move layers around, or you can drag and drop layers much like in any Adobe program. You can also nest a layer within a layer by dragging and directly dropping it onto of another layer. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many layers can be nested, but if there is, it’s probably more then you’ll ever use.

But there are keystrokes to move layers up and down the stack. (Which can also be found in the Layers menu.):

      • To move a layer up, Ctrl-Shift-Page Up
      • To move a layer down, Ctrl-Shift-Page Down
      • To move a layer to the top of the stack, Ctrl-Shift-Home
      • To move a layer to the bottom of the stack, Ctrl-Shift-End

Much like in PhotoShop, Inkscape has keystrokes to toggle between layers. (Which can also be found in the Layers menu):

      • Ctrl-Page Up: to move up a layer.
      • Ctrl-Page Down: to move down a layer

You can easily copy, cut, and paste paths and objects between layers in Inkscape. But you can just as easily move selections between layers. Those options can be found in the Layer menu > Move Selection to Layer Above (Shift-Page Up) and Layer menu > Move Selection to Layer Below (Shift-Page Down).

Text and Font Panel

Button Inkscape's for Text and Font windowThe Text and Font Panel was originally in a window in the previous incarnation of Inkscape. It is basically another way of manipulating your text in Inkscape. (Personally speaking, in this current version of Inkscape, this panel should had been phased out.) All of the settings that are located within the Text and Font Panel can be found inside the Tool Settings. The only exception is the Style portion of the Font tab, which allows you to apply CSS or Cascading Style Sheets to your text.

A style sheet is a collection of font/text settings that can be applied and when adjusted, will automatically change the text that the style sheet is linked to. For example, let’s say you’re working on a 100+ page document in a page layout program like Scribus. You create a style sheet for all of your main headers, which happen to be liberally sprinkled all throughout your document. If you hadn’t created that style sheet and applied it to all of your headers, and if you happened to need to enlarge all of those headers, you would have to of made those changes to each and everyone of your headers, one at a time. This could easily kill an entire day! If you were smart and created a style sheet that was linked to all of those headers, a change would had taken you a minute’s time.

Text and Font Panel has two tabs. The Font tab covers all of the basics: Font Family, Style, Size, Layout, Path Offset, and Line Spacing. When you click the Text tab, you’ll see text in a plain, stripped-down fashion, much like a plain text editor.

Align and Distribute Palette

The New Align and Distribute Panel

Inkscape’s Align and Distribute Palette is much like any other similar align and distribute palette. But in Inkscape you’ll find it to be much more robust. If you happen to be a seasoned user of the previous version, you’ll find quite a few changes.

The Align Section

Within the Align section of the Align and Distribute Palette, you can align your object relative to the last selected, first selected, biggest object, smallest object, the page, the drawing, and the selection. Inkscape even gives you the option to treat multiple selections as a group.

You can align along the most extreme of a specific edge. For example, if you have a group of three squares, and you click on the Align left edges of objects to the right edge of the anchor, Inkscape will align all of the square’s left edges along the object with the most extreme right edge.

Allow me to visually demonstrate what I’m taking about:

Inkscape squares before Align left edges of objects to the right edge of the anchor

Inkscape squares before clicking Align left edges of objects to the right edge of the anchor.

Inkscape squares after Align left edges of objects to the right edge of the anchor

Inkscape squares after clicking Align left edges of objects to the right edge of the anchor

Inkscape’s Align and Distribute Pallet also works with text baselines. This can be extremely beneficial if you feel the need to align separate pieces of text by hand.

Distribute Section

The Distribute Section of the Align and Distribute palette specializes in spacing. It allows Inkscape to space your selections based on specific edges, the objects’ centers, or you can space the gaps between objects equally. Text also can also have their baselines distributed.



The Rearrange section of this panel was formally the Connector Network Layout. In version 0.48, it only had one button, Nicely arrange selected connector network. It is a ridiculously long name, but this button performs as advertised. When you select a group of overlapping objects and click the button, Inkscape will spread them out and evenly space your selections. Here’s an example of what it’s capable of:

The result of the Nicely arrange selected connector network button.

The result of the Nicely arrange selected connector network button.


Exchange Positions of Selected Objects – Selection Order is one of the new additions to the Align and Distribute panel. This button swaps vectors around based on the order of selection. See the examples below:


1, 2, and 3 are the order of my selections. When the Exchange Positions of Selected Objects – Selection Order button gets clicked, objects exchange positions based on the order of my selections.

The next button known as Exchanging positions of selected objects – stacking order works in a similar fashion to the one that works based on selection order. As advertised, this button exchanges positions of your selections based on the stacking order of your objects. If you study the example below, you’ll notice how the magenta circle at the bottom of the stack exchanges spots with the green circle on top. The top green circle simply trades places with the blue oval. Click the button again, and all of the object exchange spots in a similar fashion.

An example of how you can use stacking order to swap positions.

Exchanging positions of selected objects – clockwise rotation specializes in swapping objects that are in a circular layout. The exchange is done in a clockwise order. See the example below:

An example of squares exchanging positions in a clockwise order

The last two buttons were formerly located within Distribute section of the Align and Distribute Palette. Both of these buttons modify the distribution of objects in a non-uniformed way. Let’s go over them:

The button labeled as Randomize centers in both dimensions causes selected objects to be randomly placed or distributed. The distribution is limited to the relative perimeter of the selection. That means your objects won’t jump around all over the canvas.

An example of randomizing centers in both directions

A demonstration of randomizing centers in both dimensions done four times over. Due to the fact that the randomizing is restricted to the perimeter of the selection, the grouping tightens up.

The Distribute refugee labeled as Unclump objects. What this button does is position your selections based on of the average distance between objects’ edges. The more you click the Unclump objects button the more equalized the distance between edges. Below is a visual of what the Unclump objects button is capable of:

A visual of objects after Unclump objects button is click in Inkscape

A visual of objects after Unclump objects button is clicked.

Remove Overlaps

I think this is a useful section of the Align and Distribute Pallet. You’ll find numeric fields, one for the minimum horizontal gap between objects (represented by H), and another for the minimum vertical gap between objects (represented by V). Both of the numbers are in units of pixels. The button to the right of these numeric fields will space your selections based on what you entered in the numeric fields.


Other Things to Know

Now I’m going to go over some commonly used and necessary tips.

Grouping Objects

Grouping and ungrouping vector objects is pretty commonly done in most vector programs. To group selections, click in the menu bar >> Object >> Group, or you can use the keystroke Ctrl-G. To Ungroup a collection of objects click in the menu bar >> Object >> Ungroup, or you can use the keystroke Shift-Ctrl-G.

Object to Path

By this point, you’ll already know about specific objects you can create in Inkscape, and that they can be filled and stroked like paths. (ie – squares, circles, stars, 3D boxes, spirals, text, etc.) Eventually you’ll want to manipulate these objects further or merge them with other paths or objects. To convert any object into an edible path, click in the menu bar >> Path >> Object to Path. Or you can use the keystroke Shift-Ctrl-C.

Stroke to Path

Stroke to Path is another common action in most vector programs that allows you to convert any path with a stroke into a path itself. You can find this in the Menu Bar >> Path >> Stroke to Path. Or you can use the keystroke Ctrl-Atl-C.

Boolean Operations

Boolean operations are common actions used in most vector programs to manipulate vector objects. You can find these in the Menu Bar >> Path.


      • Union: Ctrl +
      • Difference: Ctrl –
      • Intersection: Ctrl *
      • Exclusion: Ctrl ^
      • Division: Ctrl /
      • Cut Path: Ctrl Alt /

Manipulating Objects

        • Tap the Spacebar while dragging a selection to duplicate it. Holding down the Spacebar while dragging a selection will create an effect similar to the Spray Tool.
        • To add Nodes to any path while using the Node Tool, just double-click on a path.
        • To delete a Node, select a node and tap the Delete key.
        • To make Node Handles work independently of each other, use the keystroke Shift C
        • To duplicate any path, use keystroke Ctrl D.
        • To create a clipping path, select two paths, and go into the Menu Bar >> Object >> Clip >> Set.
        • To release a clipping path, go into the Menu Bar >> Object >> Clip >> Release.

Exporting to Other Applications

In Inkscape, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is the file format used by Inkscape. By default, Inkscape uses its own variation of the SVG format, Inkscape SVG. Inkscape SVG files contains data specific to Inkscape and it’s features. Inkscape does export to standard SVG (Plain SVG) format and compressed variations of SVG.

Art created in Inkscape can be saved in numerous other file formats, including pdf, eps, and ps (PostScript). If you plan to go back and forth between Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator, I recommend using Inkscape’s default SVG format. Even though I get a bunch of errors dialogs while opening Inkscape SVG files in Illustrator 10, I get the least trouble this way. Plus Inkscape’s layers are preserved. I’ll go into this deeper in a future Inkscape tutorial. But that’s what’s currently working for me.

Now if you have plans to export your work into Adobe PhotoShop or GIMP for further work, that’s not so straight forward. Inkscape can export to GIMP’s native file format XCF, but you must have a copy of GIMP installed first. Inkscape needs to access certain libraries that GIMP possesses to translate what you have into a XCF file. To learn how to enable this ability, read How to Enable Saving to XCF in Inkscape. There’s also a version for enabling XCF for Windows 8.1 users.

There is a SVG plugin for PhotoShop, but it takes a while for it to decrypt your SVG file. The other downside is that it won’t recognize your Inkscape layers. Also it’ll create a layer for every single object and path that’s in your SVG file. So if you’re working on a piece that uses a ton of paths, then it’s not even worth it.

If you’re not so worried about your layers, you can easily export to a PNG file. The downside to that is that you’ll be working with a flatten, rasterized version of your image with some transparency. (If you haven’t created any background in your image yet.) When I was working on the header for the State of the Site post, I came to the decision to treat it like line art in Photoshop, and set the blend mode to Multiply. I was able to quickly color it. For the webbing, I duplicated the layer, set the blend to normal, locked the transparent pixels, and colored the webbing with the Brush tool in PhotoShop.

Cursor Issues for OS X

This has been an issue for me from the start of my adventures in Inkscape. I’m pretty sure this is an issue for other Mac OS X users. On the Mac, Inkscape is incapable of running natively. So it has to be operated within the X11 Environment (a.k.a. ~ the X11 app).  It’s not the end of the world just as long as you remember to use the Control key instead of the Command key for most of your keystrokes.

For whatever reason, in X11, Inkscape doesn’t instantly recognize your mouse. This basically means you won’t be able to draw anything. To remedy this open the Input Devices panel/window by going into Inkscape’s Main Menu (not your Mac’s main menu) and select Edit >> Input Devices… Within this control panel, on the left-hand side highlight xquarts virtual pointer. To the right, under the words xquarts virtual pointer, you’ll find a pop-up menu. Select Screen.

The reason why I have you select Screen  instead of Window is due to the simple fact that Inkscape will function properly when working with its many tools. The Window option will cause Inkscape to act buggy. In my experience, clicking the Save button will do nothing to preserve this setting. This has been the case in version 0.91 and the previous version. Make sure that this is the first thing you do after opening Inkscape.

 Errors or Whatever…

I noticed throughout this update there were a few errors that I overlooked while writing and proofing the previous version of this crash course. (Hell, I’ll proof this again after being posted) If you happen to notice anything glaring, please feel free to let me know. Thanks in advance!



  • Feb 14, 2015 – Revamped for official 0.91 release.
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