en:How-to do an illustration with Inkscape from A to Z.

françaisIl y a aussi une version française.



The object of this tutorial is to analyse a method to draw a freehand illustration with Inkscape. With classical occidental method: sketching, inking, coloring.

Rough or sketch

That’s always better to do a first sketch or constructed sketch to have a really clean drawing.

Two good means for that are to draw on paper with pencil, then scan and import in inkscape the bitmap, or to drawing it directly, with a good graphic tablet training, or a very high mouse skill ;).

crayonné bière

The default layer is named « Layer 1 » in Inkscape, as written at the left bottom of main window, just at the right of the eye and lock. That’s not a bad idea to rename it for example sketch or rough or wathever you want. As french, I named it « crayonné » meaning done using pencil (crayon in french). For rename it do in menu Layer=>Rename Layer

In this case, I choose to draw the sketch on Inkscape, on the draw, I keep construction strokes.

For example, for a cylender :

  • One vertical stroke (centre)
  • Two parallel stroke at equal distance from the centre (sides)
  • Two horizontal strokes, at top and bottom.
  • One ellipse by horizontal stroke that look like the hole at top of the glass, and it’s bottom
  • Reuse this kind of method to do the other parts, lot of tutorials on drawing already exists on the web, or libraries.

Do the cleaned drawing (inking)

On most of drawing, (sketch + ink + color), the inking step follow.

Create a new layer is not a bad habit for each step. There are some easy help on managing object that are on same layers, as (CTRL+A) that select all object onn only one layer, this can help to change style (color/and other) for every objects on a layer.

We already have the sketching layer, that I named « crayonné ». We add « Ink » layer (I named it in french, « Encrage » (that is a term used specificly to describe the step to add ink on a pencil sketch).

layer gadgets

  • Menu Layer=>Add layer...
  • Enter the name (« Ink » for example).
  • The new layer is selected as seen in the bottom of Inkscape main window, lookin like the right picture.

inked bier

I prefer the calligraphique tool « calligraphy tool » (CTRL+F6) for this step, giving a more living stroke, with varying stroke width. This is really good with graphic tablet support, and pressure/tilt informations. freehand tool « draw freeand »(F6) is good too for drawing fixed stroke size, as a tubular pen.

With selected tool, draw on top of the sketch, when the sketch was done, I change the style from black to gray, like onionskin technique in animation. Thís enhance the vísibility of the final drawing. The result is the picture at the right.

Inking is done, you can disable sketch layer visibility by selecting it, at the bottom of the main Inkscape window, and clicking on the eye, that will invisible layerclose as layer become invisible..

We can kept the drawing like this, or color it….

(sorry to write this kind of stupid and evident statement ;) )

Adding color

As in previous step, add a new layer (Menu Layer=>Add layer...), we can name it « color », I named it « Coloriage » (action of adding color in french).

This layer must be at the buttom of layer stack, for seeing the whole ink drawing (eventually under the sketch).

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