Gradients, Alignment, and Cool Stuff Like That

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use a few more tools in Inkscape.  I’ll draw an illustration of a key and add a simple linear gradient to give it dimension. I’ll also use the Align and Distribute Box to help out during the drawing process.

 Create a circle using the circle tool on the Tool Box Bar. Select a dark grey Fill color in the Fill and Stroke Box.   Path>Object to PathRight Click>Duplicate.  Set the extra circle aside.

illustration of 1st step in tutorial, two circles

Create a small oval or circle in a contrasting color. Path>Object to Path.

step 2 of tutorial, illustration of small oval

Stack the small circle on one of the large circles near the top.  Select the large and small circles together.  Click on the  align and distribute icon on the Command Bar at the top of your screen to open the Align and Distribute box.  Click on the center horizontally iconto center the two circles horizontally. Make sure both circles are selected. Path>Difference.

Use the rectangle tool on the Tool Box Bar to create a rounded rectangle.  Drag the handles to adjust the radius of the corners.  Path>Object to Path.

step 4 for tutorial, illustration of rounded rectangle

Stack the rounded rectangle on the circle portion of the key as shown.  Select both and use the previous method to center horizontally. Make sure they are still selected. Path>Union.

step 5 of tutorial, image of circle with rectangle stacked on it and selected

Use the freehand drawing tool on the Tool Box Bar to draw the cut portion of the key as shown.  Make sure you end the drawing where it started so that it is closed. Path>Object to Path. You’ll probably need to reduce the nodes to smooth it out a bit. To do this, make sure it is selected and click Path>Simplify.

step 6 of tutorial, illustration of freehand sketch of cut portion of keySelect both parts. Path>Union. If you are not happy with the shape, you can still use the node tool icon (node tool) on the Tool Box Bar to edit the nodes. Right Click>Duplicate.  Set extra key aside.

Select circle that was set aside earlier.  In Fill and Stoke Box, turn off Fill, set Stroke to contrasting color, and set Stroke width to 2 px. Stack circle on key and center. You can use previous method to center horizontally. Select both. Path>Difference.

Draw a rounded rectangle with a contrasting color. Path>Object to Path. Stack rectangle on top of key as shown. Path>Difference.

Right Click>Duplicate.  In Fill and Stroke Box, change color of duplicate to white or light grey and click onicon of linear gradient tool(linear gradient). If you’d like to change the direction, etc. of the gradient, click on icon of gradient tool on the Tool Box Bar and use the handles to adjust it. You might want to manually offset the gradient image slightly to show more dimension.  Select both. Right Click>Group.

step 10 of tutorial, illustration of key with gradient layer applied

Stack on top of key shape that was set aside. Use Page Up or Page Down on keyboard if needed to stack it correctly.  Offset slightly to show dimension. Select and Right Click>Group.

step 11 for tutorial, finished key with bottom layer offset to show dimension

3 Replies to “Gradients, Alignment, and Cool Stuff Like That”

  1. Thank you for another wonderful tutorial. You make drawing looks so easy and I appreciate the easy to follow instructions. You will never make an artist out of me but I feel I can achieve more. My daughter will be amazed if I stop drawing cats using the figure 8 with triangle ears.

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