Episode 075

Episode 075 – Vector Wings

by heathenx

In this episode I demonstrate how to create vector wings by tracing over a pencil sketch in Inkscape v0.46.

After scouring the Net for a pleasing wing design to sketch for myself, I stumbled upon Von. R. Glitschka’s excellent tutorial from illustrationclass.com regarding a custom and very unique wing design that he used to make a BMX (MirraCo) illustration. It is absolutely superb. I used the basic shape of the wings for my screencast only making it much simpler for newer users to Inkscape. If you consider yourself an advanced graphic artist then you may want to take note of Von’s additions that make his version of the wings stand out.

Von’s tutorial was very interesting as he details his process for developing not only the wings but the entire logo used. I encourage everyone to check out his website and then bookmark it because it offers valuable insight on the methods used by professional artists.

I thank Von for giving me his permission to take a stab at simplifying his wing design for subject material in this episode as I know some of you will hopefully find it interesting.

illustrationclass.com – BMX Illustration


25 Responses to “Episode 075”

  1. screencasters.heathenx.org/blog » Blog Archive » Episode 075 - Vector Wings Says:

    […] Episode 075 is live. […]

  2. Richard Querin Says:

    Very nice job. I had to chuckle when you had to use your camera as scanner ;). It might be worth pointing out that some of those individual actions you did on those feathers could have been sped up as well by using multiple selections (ie. for changing the fill or stroke style of all the lower level feathers at one time).

    Thanks for posting the link to illustrationclass.com. After looking at it, I can really see how poor my artistic skills really are! πŸ™‚ I found some seriously inspiring stuff over there.

  3. heathenx Says:

    Well, it looks like my scanner is broken after all. It doesn’t even work in Windows. The thing is a relic from the past anyway (HP ScanJet). I don’t really need it for work anymore since we have one on our printer but I would like to get one for home. Would like a small form factor. πŸ˜‰

    I thought you might enjoy Von’s website. His methods have really opened my eyes on how to go about future projects. I always felt like sketching on paper first and tracing in Inkscape was cheating. I just figured that I lacked the skills needed to work the software. I’m finding that sketching is quite common. If the pros can do it then it gives my intermediate self some hope. I’m quite a doodler on a sketch pad. Never really occurred to me to scan them and trace. I always have tried recreating it from scratch as I look at my sketch. Duh!

    I recommend that you download Von’s “Illustrative Design Session”. It is very interesting and I’m sure that you’ll get something out of it.

  4. Dom-web.net » Archives du Blog » La tablette est-elle vraiment indispensable ? Says:

    […] d’abord, l’article et surtout la vidΓ©o sur l’excellent site screencasters.heahtenx.org . Le commentaire audio est en anglais , mais l’image est suffisamment nette pour comprendre. […]

  5. Darth_Gimp Says:

    See now I feel bad.

    I’ve been to his site a bazillion times and made the assumption that both of you already knew about it. Downloading the tut as I type and I look forward to watching it.

    One more of Von’s you might like: http://www.illustrationclass.com/?p=90

  6. Soichiro Takeda Says:

    I should have seen this screencast before I draw my last work angel…

    if I saw before, the angel wings would be better looking…

  7. strider Says:

    how did you get the ink blots on the grunge emblem between the wings, that was good.
    I’d like to try that.

  8. heathenx Says:


    It’s a grunge font that I have on my Ubuntu system. I cannot remember the name of it off of the top of my head but I’ll track it down for you.

  9. Dave Says:

    Like it a lot. Very cool. Keep up the good work!

  10. Josh Audette Says:

    Another awesome video. Thanks heathenx!

    RE: doing the first one or two wingfeathers and then dragging in the already-completed bit. That\’s a cool way of doing it.

    I dunno if it would save you any time, but you could also just do the whole thing and make a super-long screencast, and then speed up the repetitive bits. For the super-mega cheese factor, you could loop the sound clip \"Let\’s do the time-warp again!\" over and over for the sped-up bits πŸ™‚

  11. dr. Hannibal Lecter Says:

    Guys, I love your screencasts very, VERY much πŸ™‚

    I’ve learned a lot, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the future.

    But I do have a small tip for you: stop using the color picker for stroke color, simply hold shift and click on the color and it will get assigned as stroke color. Color picker is supposed to be used to pick colors from the image.

    If someone has mentioned this before, then ignore the paragraph πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work!

  12. heathenx Says:

    @dr. Hannibal Lecter

    Well, now that we know using the color picker to change stroke color bothers you, Richard and I have decided to use it exclusively in future screencasts. πŸ™‚

    Actually, these days I set my stoke color by dragging and dropping from my swatches palette to the stroke button. Regardless, I don’t think using the color picker to change fill or stroke color is wrong even though it was intended for images. That’s the power of flexibility. Also, I can not be expected to quit the color picker cold turkey. Gonna need a 12 step program to ween myself from it. Be patient with me. πŸ˜›

  13. Zombiebrainz Says:

    LOL — you crack me up… given Dr H. L’s handle… I would have expected you to end with “Eat me”. Couldn’t resist that one…

  14. Richard Querin Says:

    Wait a sec.. you can change the colour of the stroke??


    Mr. Lecter. Please ignore the silly rantings of my cohort. Thanks for watching our stuff. Glad you’ve learned from it.

    Now go enjoy your Fava beans. πŸ™‚


  15. dr. Hannibal Lecter Says:

    You now officially owe your life to Richard. He was so polite you all get to keep your liver. πŸ˜€

    Don\’t make me wait for those screencasts for too long though, I might get hungry.. πŸ˜›

  16. heathenx Says:

    @dr. Hannibal Lecter

    Thank-you. For a while there I was getting paranoid. Kept looking over my shoulder. πŸ˜‰

    I have a screencast in the cooker but I just took a contract job from my father who needs a new personal website. I think I’ll take payment in my mother’s fried chicken. πŸ™‚ Once that is done then I’ll record another episode. Hopefully that will stave off your hunger.

  17. dr. Hannibal Lecter Says:

    I can already see the following screencast: “how to make a clipart of my mother’s fried chicken”. πŸ˜›

    By the way, are you guys interested in this:


    It seems like an easy task for you. You could also make a screencast about it πŸ™‚

    Cheers! πŸ˜‰

  18. heathenx Says:

    @dr. Hannibal Lecter

    Ha! “Hating people since 1983.” Sounds like something I would say. πŸ™‚

    If you are referring to the “Designer Wanted” bit then I would love to help if only I had the time. Sometimes I feel like Pat Mustard from Father Ted…spreading myself around so-to-speak. I could blog about it and see if any of our viewers would like to participate if you wish. Our project caters to new users of Inkscape so I’m not sure what you would get but I do know that we have some very good artists in our pool. Also, I can let Rolf from “Meet The Gimp” know about it too.

    Btw, NeutrinoCMS looks like a pretty interesting project.

  19. dr. Hannibal Lecter Says:

    Bahaha, I am a great fan Father Ted, definitely one of the best shows ever (along with Fawlty Towers, The IT Crowd and Only Fools And Horses).

    I’d appreciate any effort you can make, especially in “spreading the word” as not many people visit my site (for some reason, people don’t like highly intelligent cannibals?). You can definitely talk to a larger audience than me..perhaps even make it a contest πŸ™‚

    > Btw, NeutrinoCMS looks like a pretty interesting project.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  20. ufuk Says:

    Thank you very much for the great effort. This website rocks!
    I am a new follower and I watch and practice every tutorial one by one. By the way, do you think watching screencasts and mimic the tutorials are enough to master the program? If not, what do you suggest besides tutorials?

  21. heathenx Says:


    What does it take to master Inkscape? That’s a good question. I’m not even sure I have mastered it yet myself or if I ever will. I think perhaps the best thing that you can do is use Inkscape as often as you can. I’m not sure if you can teach someone to be an artist. I think you either have it or you don’t so don’t get discouraged if things are not obvious to you at first. Welcome a challenge in other words.

    I’m not sure watching our screencasts will make you a master. We don’t cover everything. However, Richard and I agree on at least one thing. It’s not really the result of each screencast that we are trying to teach but rather the little things in between used to get to the result.

    Other tutorials? You bet! Personally, I read tons of tutorials that have nothing to do with Inkscape but are similar. For instance, Photoshop, Illustrator, Xara, Gimp, and Corel tutorials are those I view often. Learn how to adapt those to Inkscape. Check out YouTube, Pixel2Life, Vectortuts, Vectips, or google search for tutorials.

    I have a lousy memory so these Inkscape screencasts are for my benefit too. If you don’t believe me just watch episode 076. I forgot how to clip for a minute. I had a dumb-ass attack right when I was recording. πŸ™‚ If you have a sucky memory like mine then these screencasts make a nice resource.

    On our front page we have some extra links. Tav’s manual, Ryan Lerch’s tutorials, and the Inkscape Forum among others. Tav’s manual is the one thing I would find hard to live without.

  22. Richard Querin Says:

    I’m in agreement with heathenx on just about everything he said. Except I’m interested in reading the new book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. One of the things he writes about is how statistics have shown that it takes about 10,000 hrs of practice before someone masters something. Not that everyone can be good at everything, but we rarely give something enough practice before we rule it out.

    Now I’m not sure how close I am to the 10,000 hour mark (probably pretty far) but I know – or at least think – my creative skills (not just my inkscape skills) have progressed since I started doing this stuff. Whether or not that progression just stops at some point is the question.

  23. ufuk Says:

    Great comments! I get your point and I know that being in a hurry doesn’t always help to learn.

    “It’s not really the result of each screencast that we are trying to teach but rather the little things in between used to get to the result.”

    I understand that those “little things in between” are the most important point to help novice to improve.
    Thank you really much.

  24. RobA Says:

    Nice tutorial! I seemed to have missed it in the RSS feed, but I do flush my reader when I get too far behind… I saw 76 and backed up to 75.

    One suggestion. I had made an inkscape extension to re-stack the Z-order of selected objects. I believe it is being bundled with the development build… Anyway, you can read more about it here:


    This would probably have simplified getting the feathers how you wanted. P.S. I’m also working on an improved version to allow specifying an arbitrary angle rather than just orthogonal re-stacking.

    -Rob A>

  25. heathenx Says:


    I remember when you were working on that extension some time ago. If I’m correct the bundled version of your extension is called “Restack” located in the Effects menu in the SVN versions. I have used it already. Regardless, it didn’t occur to me to use it for these wings. It would have been handy indeed.