Inkscape Tutorial: Flat Vector Landscape Design

July 27, 2019 posted by



hello and welcome to yet another tutorial by Davies media design my name is Michael Davies and in today's tutorial I'll be showing you how to design a flat desert landscape using Inkscape but of course before we get into that I want to direct you guys over to my website at Davies Media design.com as always I have tons of GIMP tutorials and Inkscape tutorials on here as well as GIMP and Inkscape help articles so definitely check that out you can also support our channel and help us grow by becoming a patron on patreon and get some awesome GIMP and Inkscape extras in return and I'll include a link to this as well as all the relevant links from this tutorial in the description of the video so here is the final flat desert landscape vector composition that I designed in Inkscape and at first glance this looks decently complicated and intricate but the good news is this should only take a few minutes to create and it's going to be created using a variety of commonly used tools in Inkscape so it's something that anybody really can create even if you're not an artist or not an illustrator inside of this free program so for starters I'm going to go to file new and that will open up a brand new composition for me and I've made it so that my default Inkscape canvas looks like Adobe illustrators artboard I have a help article on that subject so definitely check that out if you want your scape canvas to look like mine here but all you have to do is go to file document properties and change your documents in 1920 by 1080 the one thing I do recommend doing no matter what for this composition is making sure that the border is going to be on top of the drawing that's just going to ensure that anything that goes outside of the boundaries of the canvas will show up on top of the drawing so it's easy to tell where to our canvas ends and so once I've set that I'm going to just exit out of this I'm going to close out I have some extra windows open right now that we don't need and we'll probably open some of these later but I'm just gonna close them out so right now my composition is set up to have a background layer which is the exact size of my canvas so it's a 1920 by 1080 rectangle and it's a white rectangle and then I have a new layer which I created by clicking this create a new layer icon and that is going to be the layer where we are going to start our drawing so before I draw my first shape on the canvas what I need to do is I need to come up with a color palette and I think this is the most important part of the tutorial because if you don't have a color palette your colors can look really off while you're working and it's going to be a little bit harder to get creative with the composition so if I open up my browser here I'm using something called cooler CEO I've pointed to this in some other tutorials that I've done but this allows you to very easily generate color palettes here or color schemes and so this is the color scheme I came up with what I did was I locked in this first color that I liked so I just typed in this HTML notation hit the lock button and then hit the spacebar and that generated some color palettes and I stopped on this one you can keep going until you find a color palette you like but once you have your color palette you can come over here to export and come over here to SVG that's what Inkscape uses SVG files it stands for scalable vector graphics so click on that and that's going to allow me to save my palette so I'll name is desert palette 2 because I did already have one of these before that will download my SVG palette I'm just going to click on the say go to show in folder and here it is right here so now all I have to do is click and drag this over to Inkscape and come over here to my composition and just drop this anywhere and now we have our palette in here and I'm just going to click and drag this out of the way because it doesn't need to be on our actual canvas while we're working so the first tool I'm going to grab here is my base ei curves tool and so I'll just grab that from my toolbox you can also hit shift f6 to grab this tool and what I'll do is I'll click and create my first node off the canvas and then I'll click and create a second node on the canvas here and this is just creating those hills that you saw at the beginning of the tutorial so I'm just clicking and dragging to give these nodes handles and those handles will allow me to go back and adjust the curves and then the other nodes I'm gonna make outside of the canvas here and then I'm going to connect and that's going to give me a complete shape so here we have our first set of curves or our first set of hills and this is on layer one so if I hide this you'll see actually our color palettes on layer 1 as well that's okay so before I create my second set of hills I'm going to create another new layer and this one you can just keep layer two for now we can rename it later and actually for position I'm gonna select below current because I want this to be below layer 1 in the stacking order and I'll click Add so now we have layer 2 here and again with the Bezier curves I'm just gonna create some random Hills here some random curves and once again it doesn't have to be perfect right away because we can go back later and adjust the curves using the handles so close that shape off and now I'm going to create another new layer so layer 3 and position this once again below the current layer and click Add and actually I can expand the layers panel over here so we can see the layers a little bit better so now we're on layer 3 and now I will create one last set of Hills or dunes or whatever you want to think of these as and that one was pretty sloppy but we'll clean it up in a second here you know close that shape off and there's our third set now that we have the outlines of the hills created I'm gonna fill these in with the colors I want to use and I'm keeping in mind that the front colors will be darker and as they move back towards what will eventually be a Sun in the background we're gonna have those colors become lighter and that's just going to create a little bit of perspective here for our drawing and so what I'll do is I'll grab my selection tool and I'm going to select the front shape first and I'm going to grab my eyedropper tool and then I'll just click on this color right here and actually let me click on the darkest color here so that'll be our first color but I still have a stroke on here and so I'll come down here and shift-click on this X here and that will get rid of my stroke and now I'm going to grab my selection tool again and this time I'll click the second set of hills here now I'll grab my eyedropper tool and grab the lighter color so now we have that lighter almost like golden brown and this one also has a stroke so I'll shift-click to get rid of the stroke down here in my swatches panel and the shortcut for the selection tool is f1 so I can click that and now I'm going to grab the hills in the back here and now I'll grab my eyedropper tool again I'm going to use this light color once again and shift-click to get rid of the stroke but I do want to make this color a little bit lighter since it is towards the back and I don't really have a lighter color in my palette that I want to use so I'll just have to create this from scratch and I can do that by coming over here and going to object fill in stroke and now I'm going to adjust the lightness here and I'm just gonna bring that down a little bit not too much so we'll go with about right there alright we have our Hills and we have the color set up but now I need to adjust the curves of the Hills because right now it looks a little bit funky looks a little bit weird so I'm going to grab this tool right here the Edit paths by nodes tool and I'll hold ctrl and zoom in and right now we have the back shape selected you can always just click on it if you don't have it selected and I can click on these nodes right here and now I'm editing my path by nodes as the tool says so I'm editing the nodes on the path and that's allowing me to edit the curvature of the path here so I'll just adjust this until I get the shape I want there's not really a particular shape I'm going for here I'm just trying to smooth these curves out so it looks a little bit more natural so that looks pretty good so I'll move on to the seconds the curves here and a hold control and zoom in and once again I'm just going to click on the handles and adjust them and I can move the placement of the nodes as well and I'll just adjust the curve of this last node right here all right so I'm gonna hold ctrl and zoom out I'm actually going to move this curve up a little bit there's too much going downward it's almost sloping down and to the left here so I'm just kind of fixing that slope all right so I'll move on to this last set of curves the front set all right so we have the shape and color of our Hills set here the next thing I'm going to do is add a sky in the background and to do that I'm just going to use the rectangle tool so I'll grab that tool from the tool box here and actually I'm going to come over to my layers panel right here and I'm gonna come down here to layer 3 click to create a new layer and this one will be named layer 4 I'm going to position this below the current layer once again and click Add now we have our fourth layer and now with my rectangle tool I'm just going to click and drag this and try to cover the entire canvas so right there looks pretty good you can see that I have rounded rectangles on here it doesn't matter because the edges of the rectangle go outside but if you wanted to reset these you could just hit this icon right here and now what I'll do is I'll grab my selection tool and come back to the fill and Stroke option here the fill and Stroke dialog I'm gonna make the sky even lighter than the last Hill layer that we did so we don't want to make it too light but maybe about right there next I want to place a Sun in the background and so to do this I'm going to use my circle tool or the ellipse tool you know come over here to my layers panel create a new layer and we'll name this one layer 5 but this time we're going to position it above the current layer so I'll click add and I think now is a pretty good time to start labeling these layers because it's going to get a little bit confusing as we work so let me just double click on layer 5 and name this one Sun and layer 4 on the sky and then layer 3 is going to be the back part of the hill so I'll just name it back this one is the middle part so I named it middle and I'll double click on this one and name it front so coming back to the Sun layer I'm going to come over here and grab the circle tool I'm going to just click on my white color because I want the circle to be white and then I'm going to click and hold the ctrl and the shift buttons and that's going to ensure this draws with the ratio of 101 so it's a perfect circle and it's going to draw it from the center outward that's what holding the shift key will do and I don't want to make this too large but I want it to be a pretty good size so go with about right there and release and I'll hit f1 to grab my selection tool and now I'm gonna come over here and grab my lineman dialog so click on that so here are my alignment options that I'm just going to Center align this so that it's nice and centered on the page you can see it's relative to page up here and now that I've done that I'll hit control D to duplicate this and I'm going to grab one of the transform handles here hold the ctrl and the shift key again and I'm going to drag this out a little bit so it's a little bit larger than the original and I'm going to come up here and just click this option to lower the selection one step down so that's basically lowering that object below the first object we created for the Sun and now I'll come back over to my fill and Stroke dialog and I want to make this a little bit transparent and you could see why here it just looks like a cool like sunray emanating from the Sun and so I'll go with about right here so I'm just dragging the Alpha slider to the left and that is decreasing the alpha or the opacity of that object and I'll hit control D to duplicate that object once again and I will also hold the shift key while I click and drag outward and the control key so go with about right here and that'll create another sunray and I'm going to lower this one step once again in the object stacking order and also I will lower the opacity of this a little bit so we'll go with about right here so if I click off of that you can see now we have a Sun in the background and that looks pretty cool so I'll leave the sky the way it is for now we're going to revisit it a little bit later but next I'm going to add some of the more detailed elements to this so I'll add some cacti as well as some shrubbery so to start I'm going to draw the cactus and to do that I'll grab my rectangle tool here and I'll hold ctrl and zoom in a bit and I'll come over here to my layers panel and make sure I'm on my front layer and I also want my cactus to be the same color as the front color that I used for this Hill so I'm going to grab my eyedropper tool click on that color there and that will select that color and I can come back to my rectangle tool and now I'll just click and drag this rectangle so go with about right here for now and I want to round the corners of this so all I have to do is hold ctrl and zoom in and I can come up here and grab this little handle right here and just drag it down and if you drag it down all the way it creates a really nice rounded shape here and so that's gonna be perfect for our cactus shape so that'll be the top of our cactus and now I'm just going to grab the Select tool and hold ctrl and zoom out a little bit and this is actually a little bit too thick so I'll just bring it in a little bit double-click on this and just bring that handle down again and you'll see that I'll kind of reset the rounded corners of our rectangle there so now I need to draw the arms of the cactus and to do that I'm going to just continue using the rectangle tool and so I'm just going to draw a random rectangle shape for now and the reason for that is that I'm going to come over here and manually change the width and the height so I'll change the width to 40 hit the tab key and I'll change the height to 120 get the tab key again and then I'll come over here hold ctrl zoom in and I'm just going to reset the curvature there and so now the corners are reset and it looks a lot better and so now I'll hit control D to duplicate that I'll hit f12 grab my selection tool click on this once again to bring up my rotation handles and I'm just going to rotate this holding the control key so that all allow me to rotate this at exactly 90 degrees and now I'll click and drag this until it snaps to the corners of the shape so now the two shapes are meeting and you can see they're intersecting perfectly right here and so this shape is just going to round off perfectly into the next shape and creates a nice angle so now I'll hold shift and click on the second shape here then I'll come over here and go to path object to path and then path Union and that will create one single shape from those two shapes so hold ctrl and zoom out and we can bring this over here so we'll just drag this so that it is closer to the cactus and then I'll click on this to bring up these transform handles and I'm just going to drag in from the top left while holding ctrl and just bring that down a little bit so maybe about right there hold ctrl and zoom in so now what I need to do is I need to round this 90 degree angle here because this is too perfect of an angle and you know usually a cactus is going to have some sort of curvature to the cactus arm and so what I'll do is I'll come over here and grab my edit paths by nodes tool I'm just going to click on this node right here where the two objects meet and I'll come up here and I'm going to click this option to make selected node symmetric so if I hold ctrl and zoom in the reason I like that option is that it creates handles on both sides which will create a curve and when I adjust these handles they are going to automatically adjust together and so that just makes it a little bit easier to make sure that these things stay even so I'll just adjust these handles until I get the look I want this doesn't have to be perfect it's just up to you how you want it to look and now I'm going to click on the nodes down here so hold ctrl and zoom in a bit and I'm just going to adjust how these look right here the curve right here on the outside of the cactus arm and just adjust it until it looks a little bit more natural so maybe somewhere around right there and we can always mess around with the shape later but that looks pretty good right there so hold ctrl and zoom out so we have the first arm of the cactus completed and I'm going to make three in total that's just going to make the cactus look a little bit more dynamic and a little bit more natural so I'm going to repeat these steps for our next arm of the cactus so I'll grab my rectangle tool again and I'm going to click and drag a random shape this time I'm going to come over here change the width to 40 and I want this one to be a little larger so I'll change the height to 175 hit the tab key and you can just click and drag the handle here to reset the curves and we're just dragging it all the way down and now I'm going to hit f1 and hit control D to duplicate that click once on the duplicate object to bring up these transform handles and I'm just going to click and drag to rotate while holding the ctrl key and then I'll drag this into place until the corners snap so you can see a little message they're saying corner-to-corner hold the shift key click on the second object go to path object to path and then path Union that'll bring those shapes together now we can click and drag this so maybe right here and actually I can hit the H key and that will flip this shape and I can bring it to the other side so let's go with about right here click on this once to bring up these handles and I'm going to scale this down a little bit and that looks pretty good and I'll hold ctrl and zoom in now I'm going to grab my edit path by notes cool click on this node and change this to my symmetrical handles and just bring these in shrink them down a little bit that looks fine right there and then right here I'm going to adjust how this one comes in that looks pretty good I'll hold ctrl and zoom out and let me actually just bring this one out maybe a tiny bit like that grab my select tool and just increase this a tiny bit so about right there and then we'll just reposition that alright so we have one more arm of the cactus left and this one's going to be the largest one so I'll grab my rectangle tool and I'm just going to click and drag once again and I'm gonna change the width here to 50 and then the height to 200 and hit the tab key and I'll drag this handle right here to reset the corners ctrl D to duplicate that f1 to grab my selection tool and click on this to bring up the rotate handles and I'm gonna rotate this while holding the ctrl key and then I'll just snap the corners together shift click path object to path path Union and this one I'll bring over here to the left side and I'm gonna click on this once to bring up my scale transform handle hold the ctrl key to scale it down uniformly and this one I'm actually going to shrink a little bit I think it's a little too large and I'm actually also going to bring in the width of the overall cactus here and we can double click on this grab the handle again and just reset the curve and I'll hit f1 and just reposition this so I'll come back here to this cactus arm and I'll come over here and grab my edit pass by nose tool click on this note here click on the symmetrical handles option and just bring those in and then hold ctrl and zoom in so for these handles I'll just bring them in bring this one up fix the curvature and maybe bring this one up a little bit so now I'll grab my selection tool again and I'm just going to shrink this down a tiny bit hold ctrl and zoom out let me shrink this one down a little bit so it takes a little bit of refining to get everything in the position you want and the size you want so we'll go with about right there all right so that was the hardest part creating the cactus and we have our first cactus now what we can do is we can group all the objects from this cactus together into a single group and then just duplicate that group a bunch of times and just spread the cacti out throughout the entire image and that's just going to allow us to have some more detail in here without having to do a bunch of extra work so to do that I'll hold ctrl doom in and with my selection tool I'm going to shift click on all the objects in my cactus and I'll come up here and go to object group and I'll hold ctrl and zoom out so we have our cactus grouped together and now I can hit ctrl D to duplicate that and I can bring it over here to the other side of my canvas and I can use my transform handles here to just increase or decrease the size of these cacti as they're being placed and of course use the ctrl key to maintain the aspect ratio and so now what I'll do is I'll hit control D to duplicate this again and then I'll hit control X to cut that and now I'm going to come to my middle layer and ctrl V to paste and now I have a cactus on my middle layer and I can move this into place ctrl and use the transform handles to scale it down and we'll make these cacti a little bit smaller on this layer just so it looks like they're further back and I want this to be the same color as the Hills here so I'll grab my eyedropper tool and just click on the hill and that'll change my cactus color so come back to my selection tool ctrl D to copy that and then just move it around maybe increase or decrease the size of this and ctrl D again and if I hit H it'll flip it over so the cactus will just turn around and face the other way and that just allows this to look like it's a little bit more diverse and I'll come back here ctrl C to copy this ctrl D to duplicate that ctrl X to cut it and I'll come over here to the back layer ctrl V to paste and now we have a cactus on our once again I'll grab the eyedropper tool and just click on the color of those back hills grab my selection tool and adjust the size ctrl D to copy that bring it over here we'll just increase the size of this one and come back here control D bring a cactus over here hit the H key to flip it and then we'll just decrease it in size all right so now we have our cacti throughout the composition next I'm going to add some shrubbery this is sort of the easy part because it uses just the circle tool and we can make those circles look like shrubs just you know based on the fact that this is going to be a silhouette and a flat design so it doesn't really need to have a bunch of detail in the design so I'll grab my circle tool here and I'm gonna start with the back layer since I'm already on that and already have that color selected and I'm just going to draw some random circle shapes here and that allows me to create what look like shrubs and I'll hold ctrl and use my mouse wheel to zoom in and this allows us to get a little bit more detail here so you could just create circles of varying shapes here and then I'll switch over here to my middle layer and grab my eyedropper tool and click to grab the color of the middle hills here and then grab my circle tool again and continue making some of those shrubs you and now come over here to the front layer do the same thing grab my eyedropper tool click on the front set of hills here then grab my circle tool and continue drawing these circle shapes you all right we're getting close to the end of this design the next thing I want to do is I want to add the mountains in the background and this part looks really cool and again is really easy to do so what I'll do is I'll come back to my Bay's a curves tool and come over here and create a new layer and I'll name this one mountains and you can position this one above the current for now so click add and I'm gonna click and drag this so that it is above the Sun layer but below the back hills layer and now while we're clicked on the mountains layer I'm going to grab my eyedropper tool choose this color here this more of a brighter red then I'll come over and grab my Bay's a tool and hold ctrl and zoom in a little bit so what I want to do is just emulate mountains and I'll start down here in the bottom left and I'm just going to click upwards here and just make this look like a cliff and I'm just going to click and create a bunch of random nodes as I move along and that's just going to create the illusion that we have you know just this rocky formation going on back here and we can always just click upwards like that make it look like a cliff have it come down a little bit and if you accidentally click and it creates a line from it you can always just shift-click on the snow that you left off on and it'll just continue the path from wherever you accidentally create a line all right so that looks pretty good there I'm just gonna bring this in like so and these are pretty tall right now I'm gonna bring them down in a second so now I'm just going to wrap my nodes around the composition and now I'm just going to close it off by hovering over the first note I created and clicking so that will go ahead and create a single shape now I'm going to grab my selection tool here and just drag this down a little bit I think it's a little too tall and we can have it obstructing the Sun a little bit like that grab my eyedropper tool and we'll just click here to grab this red and I can shift click and that will get rid of my stroke and this red is actually a little bit too dark so I'm going to come over here to my fill and Stroke option and just drag the lightness slider down a little bit so to the right and we'll go with the bout right there so now I want to draw a rock formation on the other side as well so grab my Bay's a curves tool again and this time I'll start from the left side and once again we'll just randomly click to create nodes create some like valleys here in the rock some cliffs click just to start off again from right there bring this around and click on your first node and that will create a connected shape I'll hold ctrl and zoom in I don't like this part right here so I'm going to grab my edit pass by nodes tool and just sort of adjust that a little bit there and I'm gonna grab my selection tool hold ctrl and zoom out and just grab my eyedropper tool click on the Mountain Formation on the left here and then shift-click to get rid of the stroke all right so we have the rock formation in place now the last thing I want to do to add a little bit more realism to this is add clouds to the sky and add almost like a mist to it and so to do this I'm going to come over to my layers panel create a new layer and I'll just name this one clouds and I want it below the mountains layer so I'll just change the position to below current and click add then I'll grab my circle tool and now I'm just going to hold ctrl and zoom in with my mouse wheel and draw a random circles here to create some cloud shapes and this parts pretty easy you just want to create you know some pretty random circles here so maybe like that so now what I can do is hit ctrl a to select everything here on my layer currently on my clouds layer and hit ctrl G to group all of those shapes together so that will form the single cloud and I'll hit ctrl D to duplicate that and we can just move it around the layer here and I'll hold ctrl and use the transform handles to scale it down ctrl D I'll create another duplicate ctrl D ctrl D again and we can scale this one up and hit the H key to flip it and we can maybe just squish it a little bit so it looks a little bit different than the other clouds so I'm just using one single cloud shape here and just sort of manipulating it in a few ways to make them all look different and unique all right so there's our clouds now I'm gonna come back making sure I'm on my clouds layer grab my be a curves tool hold ctrl and zoom out with my mouse wheel I'll click outside the canvas and then I'll click and drag to create a curve here and I'm just going to create a large curve that goes across the entire sky like so and then it'll loop back and this is just creating a little mist sort of look and I'm just gonna close the shape off shift click so I don't have a stroke and then click on the white color then I'll come over to fill and Stroke and I'll decrease the Alpha Channel and that'll make this transparent and I'll go to about right there so now it looks like we have sort of this like misty look going on and actually let me grab my selection tool click on the main background layer here the sky so there's actually one last thing I want to do and that is change the sky to a gradient just to give it a little bit more pop and so to do that I'm going to click on the rectangle shape here with my selection tool then I'll grab my gradient tool and I'm just going to click and draw this from the top to the bottom and hold the ctrl key and I have my gradient set to draw inside of the fill right here and it's a linear gradient and right now over here you can see that the bottom color is set to alpha of zero which means it's totally transparent so I'm just going to drag this up so that it's all the way up to 255 or totally opaque and I also want to make this color a little bit darker so I'll just drag this a little to the left and I can come over here and swap the gradient color so right now the brighter color is on top or the lighter color I'm just gonna switch that so the darker color is now on top that looks a little bit better I can click on this top color here and if I want to I can adjust this a little bit more so I can make it a little darker if I want I don't think it looks great like that so I'll just go with about right here so just a tiny bit of a gradient there and now I can click off of that gradient so that's it for this tutorial hopefully you liked it if you did you could subscribe to my youtube channel at youtube.com slash Davies media design you can visit my web site at Davies media design com any could support our channel and help us grow by becoming a patron on patreon so thanks for watching and we'll see you next time

10 Comments

10 Replies to “Inkscape Tutorial: Flat Vector Landscape Design”

  1. Artur JB Costa says:

    Nice, thumbs UP!

  2. avocadoras says:

    would it be possible to make a tutorial on designing web templates on inkscape?

  3. Surin Farmwest says:

    Kru says "Well done Mike!"

  4. linux maximus says:

    What? Inkscape. Are you sniping at Logos by nick? Just kidding, you're both great. 🙂

    It's not necessary to use so many layers in inkscape like in gimp. In gimp you need to have each object on a layer to place them on the foreground or background because that's how raster graphics work. But in inkscape you can place object on top of each other when in the select tool. So you could do this image on one layer. You can do much of the same in gimp as in inkscape but vector graphics is a different paradigm as objects are not raster with a set width/height but calculated everytime you resize it. So an vector graphic object can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as the moon.

  5. Curious Person says:

    i watched every video of your channel. you are providing quality videos. i consider myself as a learner and we need a professional like you on this platform. great video.

  6. Rice Y says:

    This looks like a $1M art one can hang on the wall.

  7. MAK9 Marcos says:

    Great video! Thanks for sharing.

  8. FOSS365 says:

    The video was awesome. It would be cool to see an expanded video showing how to make seamless layers for parallax scrolling games. Maybe Godot 🙂

  9. Leonel Rodriguez says:

    Would you be interested in collaborating with some other channel to talk about design or inskscape and Gimp?

  10. csmemarketing says:

    I'm so glad you started doing Inkscape Tutorials now. I'm hoping you'll do Scribus (Indesign Alternative) tutorials after.
    That will help All Designers who work in Web and Print.
    It will also prove that Designers don't need Adobe tools to make great work. Make work with the Open Source Jab, Right Hook and Upper-Cut. (Inkscape, Gimp, Scribus)

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