Learn how to draw a simple flower in this introduction to creating vector graphics. Creating clip art pictures with vector software may seem complicated, but it can be broken down to a few easy steps that anyone can learn. This tutorial will demonstrate the steps with Inkscape, a free vector graphics program, but most vector art programs (CoralDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft PhotoDraw, etc) follow a similar process.
What are Vector Graphics?
Vector graphics programs use shapes and lines based on mathematical formulations to create graphics. Raster graphics, on the other hand, are made up of pixels, or many small squares. Because vector graphics are based on mathematical formula, they can be resized without warping or blurring the image.
Drawing The Center of a Vector Art Daisy
Open Inkscape. Click on the “Create Circles Tool” (the button with a picture of a pink circle) in the toolbar on the left hand side. While holding down the Ctrl key, direct the cursor to the middle of the page, then hold down the left mouse button. Drag the cursor down in a diagonal direction to draw a circle. Let up the left mouse button when happy with the size of the circle (keep it small, but it can be resized later). Holding down the Ctrl key ensures the circle will be a regular shape.
To delete the circle, click the “Select and Transform Objects Tool” (the button with a black arrow) at the top of the tool bar and left click on the circle, then press delete. This will permanently delete the shape.
Click on the Select Tool and then click on the circle. If arrows appear that curve around the circle, click a second time, until arrows that point away from the circle are showing. Now, left click on yellow in the color palette at the bottom of the screen. The circle will turn yellow.
Creating The Flower Petals
While the circle is still selected, click on Edit → Duplicate. This will create a second circle over the first. Another way to do this is to hold down Ctrl and then press D. Now, click and hold down the left mouse button on the second circle and drag it away from the first.
While the second circle is selected click on Path → Object to Path. The computer will create “nodes” on the circle. These nodes are connected to the line that makes up the circle and can pull it into different shapes. Select the “Edit Paths by Nodes” tool (the button with a black dart and three small blue squares) to manipulate the nodes.
Left clicking one of the nodes and holding the button down allows the user to change the shape of the circle. Try pulling one node down to twice the original length of the circle. Then pull the opposite node up slightly. The resulting elongated circle will be a flower petal. Click on the white palette color to change it to white.
Arranging The Clip Art Daisy
Now, use the Select Tool to select the petal. Make sure it shows the straight arrows. Hold down the Ctrl key and then click and hold onto one of the corner arrows. Move the corner arrow towards the center of the shape. This will shrink it. Holding the Ctrl key ensures it does not warp.
Move the yellow circle to the middle of the page by left clicking on it with the Select Tool, holding the mouse button down and moving it. Move the white petal so that it is above the yellow circle. While the petal is still selected, select Edit → Duplicate, or press Ctrl and D simultaneously. This will create another petal. Repeat as required.
Using the Select Tool, click on one of the petals until the curved arrows appear. Now, click on one of the corner arrows and use it to rotate the petal slightly. Then, move the petal into place around the yellow circle. Do this with all the petals until the flower is complete.
Inkscape is a free program that anyone may use. With these tools, a person can move and shape a simple circle into many different vector graphics, thus creating their own clip art.