Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, July 16, 2021 at 21:58

 This is the fifth of Inkscape For Students the series after we learned about mastering text before, now we will learn about basics of drawing and coloring. It is easy peasy to practice like below. Let's start.

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Fill and Stroke
  • Color bar
  • Color swatches
  • Select Tool (S)
  • Rectangle Tool (R)
  • Node Tool (N)
  • Transforming objects (move, flip, resize, rotate)



Drawing is basically about two tools, Select and Rectangle. We will play around these two with colors. 


Click the black arrow. Or,

Press S. Or,

Press Esc. 

These gestures are all you need to access Black Arrow (Select) tool.


Making Rectangle

Click the rectangle button. Or,

Press R.

Then pointer changes into rectangle.

Click, hold, and move your mouse.

You got a rectangle.

Making Square

Use Rectangle tool.

Hold Ctrl and Shift, click, hold, move your mouse.

You got a square. 

Making Circle

Use Rectangle tool. 

Create a square.

There is a small white circle on one corner of the square.

Use Select tool.

Drag that circle downward to its maximum.

You got a perfect circle.

Resize Shape 

Use Select tool. 

Click a rectangle.

Eighth points of compass will surround it.

Click one point, hold, and move your mouse to resize it.

Hold Ctrl, click one point, hold click, and move to resize it proportionally.

Hold Shift, click one point, resize it by either vertically or horizontally.

Hold Ctrl and Shift, move the point to resize it proportionally by central axis of it.

Move Shape

Use Select tool. 

Click a rectangle, hold, move your cursor. 

Click a circle, hold, move your cursor. 

Or, use keyboard's arrow keys instead to move them.

Shift + Arrows to move roughly.

Alt + Arrows to move finely.

Objects moved.

Picture below shows moving rectangle from left to right.

Rotate Shape

Create a square. 

Use Select tool.

Double click the square.

Eight points of compass turn into circulars around it.

Move a point. Or,

Ctrl + Move a point.

It rotates. 

Rotate Shape II

Use Select tool. 

Shift + Rotate. 

It rotates, by the opposed axis.

Shift + Rotate top-left axis, it rotates by bottom-left axis, and so on.


Manipulate Shape I

Click arrow below the Black Arrow. Or, 

Press N. Or,

Use Node tool.

Click a rectangle. 

There are two little circles, two little boxes around it. 

Move the little circle, it rounds up. 

Move the little box, it resizes up.

Manipulate Shape II

Use Node tool. 

Click a rectangle. 

Press Ctrl+Shift+C. Or,

Click menu Path > Object To Path. 

Rectangle changes into path, then four little boxes surround it.

Move each little boxes freely.

Rectangle changes into shape you want.


Select a Rectangle. 

Click red color. 

Click yellow.

Click green.

Click blue.

Click black.

It changes color accordingly.

Coloring II

Select a Rectangle. 

Shift + click red.

Shift + click yellow. 

Shift + click green. 

Shift + click blue. 

Shift + click black. 

It changes outline color accordingly.

The difference between Coloring I and II is between Fill and Stroke, respectively. Fill is the content color, and stroke is the outline color.



Finally, the exercise. Create 10 shapes below with with the tools Rectangle, Select, and Node. Additional tools you may use are colors, Ctrl+D to duplicate, Rotate, and Flip tools on the toolbar.

See you in the sixth part...

About Inkscape

Inkscape (formerly Sodipodi) is a computer free software classified as vector image editor which is available for all major operating systems. It is developed collaboratively worldwide in a way it is called open source. These two means Inkscape is unlimited to use commercially and for any other purposes. Technically Inkscape works with RGB colorspaces, world class SVG image format, and is capable to open and edit other software formats too. You can get Inkscape for your computer from its official website You can donate to help funding Inkscape development.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.