I am just getting my teeth into Gimp and am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination! I'm a developer trying to make myself a bit more useful on the design front.

Anyway, I am modifying an image for a friend and I basically need to redraw the image from scratch as all I have is a low res version of the original. This is the image:

enter image description here

You can see what I am faced with. I have been playing around with the path tool which I can create a love heart with, but I'm struggling with how to recreate the way the love heart in the image tapers to thin. Does anyone have any pointers for how I should go about tackling this type of problem?

Many thanks for any help!

2 Answers 2


I would start by blowing up the image you have in order to use it as a template. So I might center your 69x75 px image in say a 76x76 canvas and flatten it. Then I would scale the thing up to final or twice-final size, preferably by an integral amount (200%, 300%, etc), like to 1520x1520. You will then have a dirty image to "trace".

I'd put a blank white layer underneath it for viewing when you hide the template. Then start work with new fully transparent layers above these two layers. You can use the path tool to make paths for, say, the lower half of the "heart" by laying the path along the edge of your template image, making it nice and smooth and checking how it really goes by temporarily hiding your template layer.

When the path is good, you could stoke and fill (like Ray says) or more directly, if you have made a closed path, convert the path to a selection by right-clicking the path under the paths tab of the "layers, paths,..." window, and choosing that option from the context menu that appears. With the selection you can fill the red for the tapered lower half heart onto the transparent layer. With the template hidden, you should have one piece of you result. Do similar for the other pieces, and you can flatten everything into final form. Be sure to occasionally make backup files at various stages along the way.

  • Good process and +1 one on regularly backing up with GIMP. There's been many a time I wish I had. May 10, 2011 at 16:19
  • and @Ray Mitchell - sorry for the slow reply but many, many thanks for your advice! I now have a process to follow thanks to you guys, I'll get on with it and let you know how I get on. Cheers
    – nicky77
    May 11, 2011 at 21:17

I've been using GIMP for awhile and the paths tool still isn't fun. It may be easier to draw the heart "flat" then move the pieces into position.

A - Start a new image with a white background layer.

B - Draw the left half of the heart

  1. Add a new transparent layer
  2. Use the paths tool to draw a straight vertical line. Drag the path to form the outer curve of the left half of the heart.
  3. Stroke the path. EDIT-->STROKE PATH
  4. Use the paths tool to draw the inner parentheses in a heart shape, tapering it as you like. When it looks ok, stroke the path.
  5. Use the bucket fill to fill in the left side of the heart.

C - Rotate the Layer

  1. Use the ARBITRARY ROTATION tool to lean the left half to the left side (counterclockwise rotation) to the appropriate angle.

D- Add a New Transparent Layer

E- Draw the Right Heart

  1. Draw another vertical line using the paths tool, drag to make the outer right curve of the heart. Remember to drag wider as the finished heart is almost as wide as it is high.
  2. Stroke the path, draw the inner curve and fill as you did with the left half.
  3. Use the Arbitrary rotation to get the right curve close to the correct place.

F- Adjust the Angle of the Right Heart (This is the tricky part)

  1. Use the PERSPECTIVE and SHEAR tools to twist the right side into the correct shape. A little goes a long way with these tools. Remember if it gets wonky, you can reset and start again.

    Focus on getting the right shape--we can correct size and position later.

Once the right side is in the correct shape you can MOVE the layer into the correct position. If it is too big or too small, you can use the SCALE tool to make the layer larger or smaller as required.

Step 6 - Freehand draw the stem and circular shape

Step 7 - Drink well deserved beverage of choice

  • and @mgkrebbs - thanks again to you both, i've spent a few hours battling with it this evening and have almost got there i think. One thing which I can't seem to fix is the path stroke lines which you can see in my image - is there a way to get rid of these? The new image is at tinypic.com/view.php?pic=212989&s=7
    – nicky77
    May 13, 2011 at 0:18

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