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The Book of Inkscape: The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor [Paperback]

Dmitry Kirsanov
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 9, 2009 1593271816 978-1593271817 1

This is it. The complete and definitive guide to Inkscape, the free, vector-based graphics editor that competes with expensive drawing programs like Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW.

In The Book of Inkscape, core Inkscape developer Dmitry Kirsanov shares his design experience and knowledge of Inkscape's inner workings as he walks you through the basics of using the program: drawing, working with objects, transformations and styling, adding text and shapes, and more. Kirsanov couples his detailed explanations with step-by-step tutorials that show you how to create business cards, animations, and technical and artistic drawings.

In addition to the basics, Kirsanov teaches you how to:

  • Navigate the canvas and customize your workspace and views
  • Create new objects and then transform, style, clone, and combine them
  • Use drawing tools, strokes, and Bézier curves
  • Use gradients, patterns, filters, and path effects to liven up your work
  • Use the XML Editor to view and manipulate the structure of your artwork
  • Work with layers, groups, object order, and locks to control your images
  • Export your artwork to various formats

This practical guide will show you how to harness Inkscape's powerful features to produce anything from a child's doodle to high-end, professional design projects. Now go ahead and draw something fun.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dmitry Kirsanov is a developer and a graphic designer, specializing in website and logo design. His articles about Inkscape have appeared in Linux Format in the UK and on Kirsanov also writes the "Design Lab" column teaching creative fundamentals of web design (, and is the author of Dmitry Kirsanov's Web Design Book (in Russian). Tim Daniels, one of the founders of the Inkscape project, is the book's technical reviewer.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (October 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271817
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Reference and Tutorial Book December 18, 2009
One of the most significant barriers to using open source software that I hear from many home users (as wall as others) is the lack of adequate documentation and training materials. So, the publication of The Book of Inkscape makes the Inkscape open source vector graphics application much more accessible to the artist community as well as the general public. It is a rare developer who can provide clear insights into the nuts and bolts of the workings of the features of their software application in language for the non-developer. The author, Dmitry Kersanov, is able to do just that and in clear and complete explanations. The book contains 18 chapters packed with program information followed by six separate tutorial chapters to help you apply your newly acquired talents. There are four appendices: An SVG Primer, Import and Export, The Command Line (for those who must), and Keyboard Shortcuts.

The Inkscape program first caught my attention over two years ago when I was looking for an open source vector draw program. I had been quite proficient in CorelDraw when it was in version 5, but that was many, many versions and years ago. Just jumping back in was not an option, a total retrain would be required. So, here was a perfect opportunity to move over to open source software. However, finding documentation to guide me through the learning process was unavailable at that time. I decided to work on other projects and check back later. Once again, I'm in need of a vector draw program and The Book of Inkscape is just the reference and tutorial that I need.

The book begins with a little groundwork on what vector graphics is and the situations in which the format excels, as well as the limitations.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to Master Inkscape? You Need This Book January 4, 2010
As a computer geek, I'm always looking for great FREE software that lets me get my work done faster and more efficiently. I also look for the fun stuff as well. And for those that have been around, Inkscape really does provide both. On the one hand, you've got a lightening quick app that is intuitive from the first time you open it, so you can get your work done. AND, it also screams "have some fun!" as well. But, the problem for a long time was that there was no good tutorial/reference style books for the software. This, I'm happy to say, has been fixed.

But before you wonder if The Book Of Inkscape is just an "intro" to a series of books, fear not: it isn't. Not only that but it strives to turn you into an Inkscape Master by the end of it.

The book itself starts off with a bit of history regarding the program, graphics in general and the SVG format in particular. You'll also get a gentle intro to the workspace and how you can customize it to work for you. Indeed, Inkscape can be customized to you and the book goes into this in detail.

The Book of Inkscape also goes through each interface element all the while using examples. This is important and is something a lot of other books miss. It is one thing to tell your readers about a particular feature. It is another to tell and then SHOW them as this will help you get inspired as to what you can do.

And lest you think that it is just a reference tome, The Book Of Inkscape also comes with tutorials that allow you to put your knowledge to practice. And these tutorials are done going from basic (setting up a business card) to more advanced (drawing the rose you see on the front cover).

Now, one key thing that needs to be addressed is writing style.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise & resourceful October 19, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Books about Inkscape are scarce (as opposed to Adobe Illustrator), so I patiently waited for this "definitive guide" (as the title page tells us) to appear.
As a reviewer of Dmitry Kirsanov's book about "XSLT 2.0 Web Development (Charles F. Goldfarb Definitive XML Series)" remarked already, Kirsanov's style is lucid & compact and he shoves a lot of information into the hungry reader's mouth.

As a core Inkscape developer and distinguished russian webdesigner he knows his baby well and offers lots of "hands-on" advice, lots of illustrations (mainly in B&W with a 4 page color insert) as well as in the appendix: an SVG Primer, keyboard shortcuts and examples of command lines (for those who'd like to use the program in a production pipeline).

One important issue in selecting a "definitive guide"-book for me has always been the thoroughness of its index: with 22 pages (prepared by his loving & knowledgeable wife :) ....) it leaves nothing to be desired.

So why did I rate this wonderful accomplishment not with five stars ? -
I missed a webpage with sample images and the python scripts he used in his tutorial:"Creating an animation" as well as some hints about scripting the Inkscape engine with Python (just google for IXML, if you are curious), though he offers at least some results of this tutorial on his webpage.

If all goes well I hope to see some scripting examples & a little more support on the Web with the 2nd edition to raise my rating gladly to five stars, Dmitry :) ....

And I ordered his XSLT Webdesignbook a day after I received his Inkscape book: the man knows his trade too damn well ;-P....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference
Rarely have I found such a comprehensive, but easy to read reference on any of my open source software addictions. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Kurt Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is the best companion for program
Being a complete novice using Inkscape, I am using this book page by page. It walks you through every aspect of the program. Read more
Published 1 month ago by amuse1468
5.0 out of 5 stars In Depth! Easy to understand
This book is awesome! It strikes the perfect balance between providing in-depth info and the beginning concepts. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ebme
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Inkscape that I know of
As far as I know it is the most complete book on Inkscape, it has very good detail as to how the program works. Read more
Published 7 months ago by B. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Comes in handy.
Sometimes it's useful to have a print copy of the information you can find elsewhere. This is one of those times. Very useful text.
Published 11 months ago by Ray716
5.0 out of 5 stars Best way to learn Inkscape.
I was determined to learn Inksacpe....and I did. Believe me, this is the best book out there if you are serious about learning vector design with Inksacpe!
Published 11 months ago by Jay Olson
4.0 out of 5 stars All info you need
Book has all the info you need to learn vector graphics. An more comprehensive overview at the beginning would have helped.
Published 13 months ago by Oxcart
5.0 out of 5 stars Inkscape
The book is fine, but way above MY knowledge. I don't know if it will be of benefit to me. It uses specific graphic terms. It's probably best for someone who's had a course. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MC
5.0 out of 5 stars Kirsanov on Inkscape
This book is very readable and detailed. Well illustrated, with just enough to get you started exploring on your own. No "fluff".
Published 14 months ago by Rochesterton
5.0 out of 5 stars I picked a good one
Books like this one will help place Inkscape into front runner position in the software wars (er, competition). Read more
Published 16 months ago by Litek
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