Inkscape: Go from Beginner to Expert for Free
In the world of open source graphics tools, GIMP gets a great deal of attention, and there are many free online resources available for it, but if you're looking for a free drawing and illustration tool that can compete with Adobe Illustrator and is increasingly used by web designers for effects, logos and still graphics, give Inkscape a try. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and is well-known as a powerful and flexible drawing and vector editing application. In this post, you'll find our newly updated collection of outstanding free resources for getting familiar with Inkscape's capabilities, and they'll help you get going quickly with the application.
Bethany Hiitola is the author of a popular book on Inkscape that is used by many web designers, and she has a very useful tutorial on the progam posted at the Packt site. It covers how vector graphics program works, walks through the many essential tools that Inkscape provides and more. It's a good first start if you're new to the program.
What can I do with Inkscape? Inkscape's site presents many galleries and screenshots showing what kinds of tasks it is good at. The Inkscape Tutorials blog also has an outstanding collection of videos and posts illustrating what the program is capable of.
Getting up to speed. You can find several types of documentation for Inkscape here, including a free online book with individual chapters posted as links, here. There is also a keyboard and mouse reference here, and an Inkscape User Manual in progress here.
Seeing it in action. As is true for Photoshop and many other graphics tools, YouTube is rich with instructional videos on using Inkscape, including many videos that present the steps for executing targeted tasks. Here is one that shows how to create a slick logo, and here is a whole collection of beginner's videos.
Our recommended guide. While the manuals referenced just above are more exhaustive, FLOSSManuals has by far the most accessible introduction to Inkscape's main features, found here. It begins with an introduction of the application's capabilities and moves on to individual discussions of how all the major tools in Inkscape work. You'll find links to the discussions of the tools running down the left rail of the online guide, and there are annotated screenshots to learn from, like the one seen below. Beginners can also get a lot out of this basic tutorial.
Inkscape is very useful, good for eye-catching graphics, and a lot of fun. If you haven't worked with it already, give it a try.