Urban Design Tutorial in Inkscape

Inkscape tutorial for a simple urban design using circles, swirls and clouds.

I am still sorting through my designs and repacking stuff to make things available at our new website. But I did find some time to explain how I created an Urban design, so a new tutorial for Inkscape is published too. Cool circles, fancy clouds and flourishing swirls in trendy colours. It is available, as usual, on verysimpledesigns.com. I also made the resulting illustration available in eps format, free for personal use.

My mate Dakka made a cool set of photoshop brushes, the set is called Affects. He uses them to add cool neon coloured flying objects to his art work, but I use them quite differently. I use them to create cool feathers, fluffy fur, flower petals. They are awesome, and I figured you may want to know about them too.

The rest of the week will be a bit quiet, as someone figured we should have a fancy dress party with the Wild Wild West as theme. Now we figured to go as cowboy and indian, but when we looked around for costumes I was a bit shocked. As it is a party amongst friends you dont want to spend heaps on it, and at the same time you don’t want to look like horrible. But the costumes around here are made from bad materials, and do not even come close to something a native american would ever have worn. Now, I am not an expert in subject matter, but I thought I should at least get some things right. So I did a bit of research and I came across this beautiful online exhibition Identity by Design which gave me all basic information I needed. How the dresses evolved over time, how they were constructed, what symbols were used, beautiful beadworks and so on. With great respect to the ladies that made these dresses a long time ago, I decided to create my costume based on a beautiful Cheyenne three-hide dress. And whilst I used a cheap suedine fabric for the work, and replaced the beautiful beading by just a simple bias band, at least it looks like something traditional. The dress reaches over the calves, the ladies were very modest, and they would wear high mocassins so no bare skin is visible. Of course my dress is no where near so beautiful as the real thing, but it looks like traditional wear.

Sneak preview

I have done some further doodling with RealDraw today. I have created a few hand-draw elements and will use those for a 2 column WordPress template. Sneak preview:

Sneak preview of elements for WordPress template
Sneak preview of elements for WordPress template

Study in blue

Today I have given Real Draw Pro a testdrive, and it is a program with a lot of good and unique things. Unfortunately, there are some things that irritate me utterly in this program too.

What I like:

  • Creating 3D-like elements with ease.
  • Built-in library with styles, click and apply
  • Boolean operators to make complex shapes from primitives
  • Natural Paint styles (NPR).. applying illustration styles with ease.
  • Push-back option: easy weave one object through another, such as a paperclip over a piece of paper.

What I hate:

  • No align and distribute option. Aligning objects is possible but quirky. Group 2 objects and try to align that group with another object… oops.. objects in group got treated as ungrouped items. Equal distribution of objects, for example equal spaces between 3 objects: not possible. The grid brings some relieve but this is a major missing item in my book.
  • No snapping to objects. Very hard to make objects the same size, or stretch to a specific edge of another object. Exact dimensions can be inputted in a dimension box, but that is slow. Only way to work around it is to make use of grid or guidlines, but I find that method quite restricting.
  • Follow path. Great function, allows objects and text to follow path. I do not like the deformation of the orginal object to ‘fit the path’. It would be way better to have a setting that either allows or disallows it. Example: a sphere to follow a square to get a nice pearly edging. What happened: in the corners the sphere became oval or deformed.
  • Gradients: I have thus far been unsuccessful in applying a gradient area vertically. Horizontally is done with ease, but applying such fill rotated 90 deg seems to be impossible. I use heaps of gradients in my vectors, and having the option to apply direction is a dire miss.

The creators of Real Draw Pro are very well aware of the limitations of the product, and in their FAQ they clearly write that Real Draw Pro is not aimed to be a replacement of any other vector or bitmap editor program out there, but that it complements such programs very well. Real Draw Pro offers some unique solutions and approaches to creating graphics intended mainly for the web. And this is exactly what I believe it should be, an addition to my toolbox. Real Draw Pro is VERY cheap, and a trial version is available for a test drive.

Example of a simple vector pencil created with RealDraw Pro, and 3 NPR styles applied to it.
Vector Pencil made in RealDraw Pro and 3 NPR styles applied