Episode 069

Episode 069 – Safety Card Illustration

by Richard Querin

In this episode I demonstrate a way of creating airline safety card style illustrations in Inkscape v0.46 using a bitmap image as a starting point.

I’ve been a fan of this sort of illustration for a while now. If you’re a Top Gear Magazine reader, you’ll find their ‘Survival Guide’ pieces use this type of illustration to great effect. I think it’s a neat way of creating a simple and attractive illustration. In many ways this is very much like Nicu’s post on HowTo Create a Hackergotchi. This is not so detailed, and covers action shots rather than faces I guess.

In true RQ tradition, I utilize the most basic of tools for this, the venerable Bezier tool along with Stroke and Fill and a couple quick path things. Very basic, but fun. Hope you enjoy it.

Tags: ,

27 Responses to “Episode 069”

  1. screencasters.heathenx.org/blog » Blog Archive » Episode 069 - Airline Safety Card Style Illustrations Says:

    […] Episode 069 is now posted. In this one I create an Airline Safety Card style illustration from a photo. Phew.. that was a mouthful. […]

  2. eclipse Says:

    Very nice tutorial.
    I wanna know who’s is singing in the intro ?

  3. suppar Says:

    nice tutorial

  4. Richard Querin Says:

    Thanks eclipse. It’s Blink 182 – Anthem Part 2. And of course I scream “Fair Use!” from the rooftops! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use) 🙂

  5. Richard Querin Says:

    Thanks suppar – glad you found it useful. Thanks for watching. 🙂

  6. James G Sack (jim) Says:

    Excellent demo/howto nicely combining objectives, techniques, and practical guidelines.

    I wasn’t even aware of the terminology. Here are some google hits of possible interest:
    airline safety card
    or substituting “aircraft” per w’pedia’s


  7. Richard Querin Says:

    You can also find a lot of (slightly) funny ones over at airtoons.com (warning – nsfw in some cases).

    Thanks James, glad you liked it.

  8. Richard Querin Says:

    Sorry, should have posted the full link to make it clickable:


  9. Patrick Says:

    Thanks yet again Richard!

    I always learn a lot in each screencast you do. Today it was layer locking and believe it or not the dropper tool. I have never used it, I don’t think you have used it in any of your previous screencasts.

    Thanks for taking the time to post another tutorial at this time. Our Summers are so short in Canada, your supposed to be parked in a lawn chair.

  10. Meet the GIMP! Says:

    Screencasters cover a comic style: Airline Safety Cards…

    If you remember my shot at making a comic out of a portrait you’ll know that I want some day to make an image like Roy Lichtenstein did.
    Well, Richard Querin at screencasters .heathenx.org brought me a big step forward to that goal. I think we ha…

  11. jim Says:

    Well another nice tutorial. Thank You

  12. Richard Querin Says:

    @jim – You’re Welcome! – Thanks for watching. 🙂

    @Meet the GIMP! – Rolf, thanks for the link. While it’s not the traditional comic style, it is an easy way to illustrate something include portraits (I did my avatar this way a while back). I really looked at whether the Trace function in inkscape could make this easier, but it really doesn’t IMO. You’re looking for simplicity and the Trace function doesn’t give me that. Suprisingly, I found that using the mouse gave me better results than using my Graphire3 tablet – no doubt this will be good news for all those people who don’t have one. 🙂

    And if anyone wants to improve their bitmap editing skills definitely check out Rolf’s Meet the Gimp tutorials at http://meetthegimp.org The Screencasters highly recommend it! 🙂

  13. Kongritthi Ratanawanno Says:

    Very nice tutorial, indeed.

    I found this http://www.hradkarlstejn.cz/data/titulka/1enleft_1.jpg?gcm_date=1169039099 It would be great if you could show me how to do.
    Thank you very much.

  14. Richard Querin Says:

    @Kongritthi Ratanawanno

    I’m not sure it would be very much different to what I’ve already shown in this screencast. I would simply use the Bezier tool and create a polygon for each area of differing colour. The challenge really is the complexity. It would be a lot more tedious than what I showed simply because there are more pieces to it. But if you approached it bit by bit I’m sure it wouldn’t be too tough. I can’t see the method being any different than what I already showed though.

  15. Suzy Says:

    Thanks Richard, your screencasts are a godsend!.. (keep the..er.. goofs, it means you’re human like the rest of us ;))

    I keep playing with vectors on and off, & really enjoyed this tut.. being a Top Gear lover I knew what you were talking about, anyway not sure you want links (so feel free to nuke) here’s my effort (same theme as yours, bit of brain drain on the photo search, just wanted to get started ;)) – slightly morish detail but nowhere near perfect; I am newbie!) – like I say in the DA post, it was actually the starburst I enjoyed as I haven’t found a better way using Inkscape yet.. and it’s it I want to incorporate into something else

    many thanks, and keep on castin’

  16. heathenx Says:


    I checked out your graphic and I think you did a superb job. One correction though…you might want to give Richard credit for episode 069 and not me (in your deviantart comments). 😉

  17. Richard Querin Says:

    @Suzy – great job on the skater! I really like the way you did the jeans and the extra detail in it. That’s something I just didn’t have time to go into in the screencast. I chuckled a little bit when you said about the brain drain on the photo search. I settled on the pogo guy for the intro mostly because I had already spent a hour trying to find something ‘different’ than the skater on Google Image search, but found nothing that satisfied me.

    ps. I know people get heathenx and I confused. Just remember that I’m the brains of the operation and he’s the looks. 😉

  18. Suzy Says:

    hehe, Richard I’ll try to remember that and thanks for both your comments.. just thought I’d let you know I appreciate your ‘casts!

    (typo in DA comments now fixed, sorry Richard!)

  19. Serge Gielkens Says:

    That is a nice and quick way to achieve great looking illustrations from photos. Thanks for the show!

  20. Jonathon Says:

    Thanks so much for providing these screencasts. I’ve always been a little timid about creating digital art but deicded to try playing around with Inkscape after watching this episode and I got great results. Kudos.

  21. David J Says:

    Thanks for this amazing tutorial!

  22. Richard Querin (rfquerin) 's status on Saturday, 04-Jul-09 02:32:53 UTC - Identi.ca Says:

    […] – you might fine episode ep069 useful: http://screencasters.heathenx.org/episode-069/ also see […]

  23. cebu tours Says:

    can you please convert your files to avi or something else..
    .ogv don’t work well even when i’m using puppy linux.

    thanks for the tuts anyway.

  24. heathenx Says:

    @cebu tours

    We are not making AVI’s anymore but there is nothing preventing you from converting them. There are a bazillion ways to convert but here’s a simple mencoder script to convert OGV to XVID/MP3.

    mencoder input.ogv -oac mp3lame -ovc xvid -o output.avi

    Fortunately, you are in luck. We have this particular episode in AVI already. Go to our video repo and download it from there. http://screencasters-repo.heathenx.org

    Update: I changed the mencoder script and made it even simpler. 😉

  25. Xbody Says:

    Nice tutorial! One of the best…

  26. learn linux Says:

    learn linux…

    […]screencasters.heathenx.org » Blog Archive » Episode 069[…]…

  27. techblaze Says:


    […]screencasters.heathenx.org » Blog Archive » Episode 069[…]…