Book Review: The Book of Inkscape

Book Review: The Book of Inkscape

Dmitry Kirsanov

No Starch Press, 2009

The Book of Inkscape isn't a text written by some recent convert to free illustration. It was written by one of Inkscape's core developers. He takes you through all of the key components of creating graphics. You will learn how to navigate your canvas, customize your workspace and create and transform objects. You will work with gradients, patterns, filters and paths. You will become adept at managing layers effectively. You will see how your graphics can be exported in various formats.

Working with vector graphics can be both difficult, frustrating and time consuming if you don't have the right mind set and you don't fully understand the tool that you are using. In 18 chapters and 6 tutorials -- all well illustrated with hundreds of examples -- plus 4 appendices, this book will help you master the skills needed to create impressive graphics with relative ease.

Here's a rundown on the chapters:

  1. Inkscape and the World -- an introduction to vector graphics and Inkscape
  2. An Inkscape Primer -- installing and basic operations
  3. Setting Up and Moving Around -- preferences, views, zooming, etc.
  4. Objects -- objects, object properties, cutting and pasting, layers
  5. Selecting -- looking at many selection tools
  6. Transforming -- moving, scaling, flipping, etc.
  7. Snapping and Arranging -- guidelines, grids and alignment
  8. Styling -- styles, colors, sampling etc.
  9. Stroke and Markers -- stroker width, joins, markers etc.
  10. Gradients and Patterns -- The gradient tool, handles, creating patterns
  11. Shapes -- using the various shape tools
  12. Editing Paths -- everything you need to know about working with paths
  13. Path Effects and Extensions -- Special effects and paths
  14. Drawing -- using penci, pan andbucket
  15. Text -- editing and text layout
  16. Clones -- creating and transforming clones (linked copies of objects that change with the original)
  17. Filters -- blurring, blending, etc.
  18. Bitmaps -- importing, retouching, etc.
  19. Tutorial 1 -- Desinging a Business Card
  20. Tutorial 2 -- Creating an Animation
  21. Tutorial 3 -- Drawing a 3D-Correct Cartoon
  22. Tutorial 4 -- Artistic Drawing
  23. Tutorial 5 -- Technical Drawing
  24. Tutorial 6 -- The Rose


  • App A -- An SVG Primer
  • App B -- Import and Export
  • App C -- The Command Line
  • App D -- Keyboard Shortcuts

You can get Inkscape from and spend lots of time exploring it, but this book will open your eyes to how the tool can be most effectively used. If you read this book and follow the examples, you will not be able to avoid becoming adept in the use of this excellent tool. Highly recommended, well written and full of practical examples and insights, this excellent text can make you a pro at using Inkscape.

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