Before following this tutorial you should be comfortable enough with Inkscape to:
- Draw and edit a path
- Adjust Fill and Stroke settings
Tracing a design in Inkscape is simple, but what if you want to outline something clearly? Tracing all the way around one side and then the other can be time-consuming, especially if it is a complicated design—and your lines will usually end up uneven. As I worked on a complicated design, I kept thinking “there has to be a faster way.”
For example, the pink path below is slightly off, and the space between the path varies. If you are working with a detailed design, those lines can show up looking sloppy or even hand-drawn (which they are, in a way...) I knew I wanted my design as precise as possible and I spent a lot of time tweaking my lines to try and make them even.
Then I found it! The Stroke-to-Path tool. This little button can save you the hassle I experienced and produce cleaner path lines. The steps are quite easy:
- Draw your path
- Edit stroke width
- Use the Stroke-to-Path button
Draw your Path. Below you can see the green path and node handles; use these to tweak your path until it is exactly centered within the design you want to outline.
Edit stroke width. Under Object --> Fill and Stroke… you will find this menu. Adjust the Width of your Stroke Style so that it matches your object. In my case, the width was 35px.
Note: you may wish to adjust the thickened path to make sure it looks exactly like you want your finished outline.
Use the Stroke-to-Path button. After choosing the Edit Paths tool, click the Stroke-to-Path button.
When you hover over a button, Inkscape will tell you what that button does.
Now you will see that the path has changed; it is outlining the stroke you created. You can now edit the fill as stroke as you desire.
For comparison, you can see the difference between a hand-traced path and a Stroke-to-Path.
Using this tool, especially with a more complicated design, will save tons of time and create more precise outlines. Happy designing!
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