I was wondering if it's possible to achieve something similar to this example.

Example of Desired End Result

This is done in GIMP with a feature called "Stroke Path", the green circles indicating the Image that was used as the Stroke.

I've been doing a lot of googling and have seen a few people say that the "Pattern Along Path" is the way to achieve this but I just ended up with this.

enter image description here

Is there a better way to simulate this or am I just using "Pattern Along Path" wrong?


2 Answers 2


It looks like you want to simulate an "elliptical brush".

To do that first create a circle with the circle-tool. The size doesn't matter as it will be just a "preview" of your brush. Just make sure it is not yet an ellipse, so hold the Ctrl-key while drawing it:

Newly created circle

Next group that circle by itself (Ctrl-G) then scale and rotate the group until your circle has the brush shape you want:

Distorted circle

Now when you enter the group by double-clicking the ellipse and either use the bezier-tool to draw a new path, or copy-and-paste one in, it should get distorted in such a way that it looks like it was drawn with an angled, elliptical brush. You'll probably also want to set the line-caps to 'round'.

Here's what it could look like:

Example shape with elliptical brush

Another, more pronounced example:

More pronounced example

  • This sounds like the closest to what I'm trying to achieve. You lost me a bit on the last steps though. Copy and paste one in, are you meaning the Pattern along path or is this something different? Dec 31, 2021 at 20:03
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    @TheLovelySausage If you already have a path that you want to only distort the stroke of like this, you can copy (or cut) it, enter the group and paste it again or use 'Edit → Paste in Place'. It should keep the overall shape and only affect the stroke.
    – Xrott
    Dec 31, 2021 at 20:11
  • Yes this is the part that I'm a bit confused on. I have a bezier path, how do I paste the grouped ellipse along it? Dec 31, 2021 at 20:14
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    @TheLovelySausage Select your existing path, cut it (Ctrl-X), enter the distorted group by double clicking any object inside it (e.g. the ellipse), finally use 'Edit → Paste in Place'.
    – Xrott
    Dec 31, 2021 at 20:34
  • This works perfectly, it's exactly what I was looking for, thank you very much! Dec 31, 2021 at 20:41

A pattern along a path can only be a single colour. You'd need a single combined path. See the example below coloured pink.

Variable strokes are possible using the Power Stroke Path Effect.

You can't really use both together in the way you've imagined. It doesn't really work. You can try, but the result won't be what you are looking for.

enter image description here

Of course there's nothing to stop you from duplicating and repositioning and rescaling green circles to fit manually around a variable stroke.

enter image description here

Edit: after your comment explaining more, it has occurred to me that you might want to use the Calligraphic Pen tool enter image description here

Set it up like this, or you can change the angle, then draw with it. Click on the image below to see it larger

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • The green ovals are only to demonstrate how the shape fits perfectly into each part of the path, I've tried the Power Stroke but it needs far too much manual tweaking in order to get it to simulate the effect Dec 31, 2021 at 20:10
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    @TheLovelySausage - perhaps you are looking for the Calligraphic Pen tool? I've added an edit to the answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 1, 2022 at 1:01
  • The Calligraphic Pen would be amazing but as far as I know it can't be used on paths. Jan 1, 2022 at 5:52
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    @TheLovelySausage - yes you're right, It can't be applied to a path - it's essentially a manual drawing tool.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 1, 2022 at 9:45
  • Have a look at the answer posted by @Xrott, that's the closest I have so far. It's super weird but seems to work. I really appreciate the help though! Jan 1, 2022 at 11:13

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