I'm trying to make something similar to this in Inkscape:


I tried making a path then using object to path. But that didn't work. So then I tried using the pen tool from clipboard... Still didn't work right.

Is there a better or faster way then making separate objects?

  • 2
    I can't speak for Inkscape, but with Illustrator I'd create a single white shape, then black paths on top of that shape to indicate the overlaps.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:18
  • I'd definitely go with what Scott mentions. In Inkscape, you can use Bezier curves to draw the shape and the shadows.
    – Yisela
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:47
  • Thanks, That's what I was originally going to do. I was just wondering if there was a better way. But I guess there's nothing wrong with a little work, lol.
    – Stephen
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:48
  • If you use that answer I'll mark it as complete.
    – Stephen
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


Sometimes you just can't beat ink and paper. To make this work well, you really should draw it by hand then digitize by your method of choice. You are going to spend a lot of time trying to get the fluidity and organic quality of what you see in that example if you try to do it all in the computer.

If you are working from a scanned drawing, you would create a compound path that defines your foreground (the white in your shoelaces example). You can start with a live trace (whatever the Inkscape equivalent is) over a clean scan or simply place the image and start tracing the foreground with the pen.

There are no special production considerations for the areas where the paths overlap. It's just another shape. If an area is blocked off by the overlap shadows then you trace it as a standalone element. If it's a shadow within the bounds of the path, you trace it and then knock it out of the larger shape.

If you use objects of the background color to make the negative space or shadows as you're working just make sure you don't leave it that way in the final. You want to be sure that your art can be placed on various colors and maintain true transparency in those areas. In other words, you should end up with one color on the foreground object, not two that are dependent on the background color as well.

  • Yes I am tracing an image. And the image that I'm doing does have a different background. Thanks for your answer though.
    – Stephen
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:01
  • I filled out my answer to better explain in light of your comment. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:13

I can't speak for Inkscape, but with Illustrator....

I'd create a single white shape, then black paths on top of that shape to indicate the overlaps.

After the paths for the overlaps are created, I'd expand exverything and then Pathfinder > Merge to remove the paths and end up with a series of solid white shapes.

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