The Book of Inkscape

Reviewed by Major Keary

The Book of Inkscape carries a sub-title, The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor, which is a fair description; it is comprehensive, detailed, and supported by annotated illustrations. The typographic design is pleasing, and the reader does not become bogged down in tech-speak. Discussions of other vector-based applications (PostScript, PDF, Adobe AI, CorelDRAW, etc.) are interesting and informative. It is a pity that there is no supporting website where one can find updates, errata, source code for the examples and tutorials, and links to further resources.

The main body of content is followed by six tutorials (designing a business card; create an animation; drawing a 3-D cartoon; artistic drawing; technical drawing; and replicating the illustration on the book's cover).

There are four appendices:

  • An SVG Primer;
  • import/export (includes PDF, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, EMF, WMF, CMG, DXF, JavaFX, POV, LaTeX, and bitmap);
  • The Command Line;
  • Keyboard Shortcuts.

The book goes beyond basic usage; the back cover lists:

  • Navigate the canvas and customise you workspace and views;
  • create new objects and transform, style, clone, and combine them;
  • use drawing tools, strokes, and bezier curves;
  • use gradients, patterns, filters, and path effects;
  • use the XML editor to view and manipulate the structure of artwork;
  • work with layers, groups, object order, and locks to control images;
  • export artwork to other formats.

I was most impressed by the index, clearly hand-crafted (by the author's wife), which should satisfy readers at any level. Combined with a detailed table of contents it makes information easy to find, something that greatly enhances the usefulness of The Book of Inkscape. Another feature is cross-referencing, which points the reader to further details of a topic.

Anyone who wants to use, or learn about, Inkscape should take the time to examine The Book of Inkscape. An essential library acquisition.

Dmitry Kirsanov: The Book of Inkscape
ISBN 978-1-59327-181-7
Published by No Starch Press, 448 pp., RRP AU$ 71.95

The Australian distributor is Woodslane <>


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