I'm having a little trouble I hope it's easily solvable in Inkscape... Sorry if it's something simple I'm missing, I'm relatively new to it, and google/searching here hasn't done quite the trick.

I have a couple of drawings saved up that I'd like to do several different versions. This one is the most simple, but what works for it should work for the rest.


Is there any fast way to auto join everything to make the fill option work? Some parts even give me "not a closed area" when I try to use bucket fill on it... I've gone as far as to export it as bitmap so I could vectorize it, but I still need to use bucket fill on top of that since auto-vectorization creates 2 line-less paths filled with black as a "line".

Thanks for your time!

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately you'll have to rethink how your drawings connect in order to solve this problem. This means taking a look at what you're trying to represent and then understanding how vector graphics draw connecting lines that form fillable shapes.

Most vector apps do this in a kind of similar way, but it's very confusing (at first) because your preconceived notions of how drawing software might (or could or should) work are going to be different from the way they actually do.

Unfortunately this problem is for everyone coming to vector illustration from a creative perspective because it's essentially a collection of mathematical equations that define these curves, rather than some consideration for how end users actually think of lines.

There are a couple of applications that think more along the lines of end users illustration (real world) techniques, but InkScape is not one of them.

Inkscape uses what's considered the classical vector style of "drawing" in which lines are essentially just primitive exposure to the underlying mathematics that defines where those lines go, how they curve and who and what they're connected to.

In order to best understand this, I'd strongly suggest taking the time to watch a few videos on vector drawing in Inkscape so you can thoroughly perceive the nature of vector illustration in this "classic" methodology. It's kind of clunky, and will seem very odd, at first, and won't be anything like how you imagined drawing on a compute might actually be.

This guy doesn't mess around, and gets right to the meat and potatoes, watch his two videos and you should be almost set:


Then, if you really don't like that approach, have a look at this, and feel sad, because this wonderful app has been abandoned:


However its inferior cousin lives on:


  • Thanks a ton! It's annoying that I'll have to redo and fix of things, but at least now I know... I've tried SketchBook before, I liked it, although was always crashing on me so I just went away from it... But probably expected Inkscape to work differently because of it. You wouldn't know of any more software like it? I'm assuming XaraXtreme and sK1 works like Inkscape and awesome at it seems, Plasma ( youtube.com/watch?v=bCWX3BNT1H0 ) last update was from 2 years ago, so I don't have my hopes up...
    – theL
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 17:38
  • The reason I start with the word "Unfortunately" is because of just this problem... that we still haven't seen a dearth of software designed for true illustrators and those that think creatively. So using a computer to draw is much much MUCH slower than simply sketching on a piece of paper. Most of this is because those that made an industry of Desktop Publishing weren't artistically inclined, but became the dominant consumer base for "creative" software, so illustration software has only needed to satisfy their limited creative needs. It's also partly the fault of the mouse user paradigms.
    – Confused
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:23
  • Way back in the 1960's guys had already figured out how to make better creative drawing software than we have today. And were truly focused on pens on screens. But the commercial movement towards enterprise appeasement as computing's dominant use case (from the 1970's onwards) has dramatically reduced the potential import of truly personal computing. The iPad is essentially personal computing catching up with its late 60's potential. And I say 'catching up' in the present tense, verb sense, because we're not even there yet.
    – Confused
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:26
  • Sketchbook Design was really a wonderful looking app. It's still available, in packages, and if you want something extraordinary, it's it. autodesk.com/products/sketchbook-designer
    – Confused
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:29
  • This might sound counterintuitive, but the 2D drawing tools in 3D modelling applications are a generational leap ahead of 2D vector programs like Inkscape and Illustrator, etc. But you do need to come to terms with 3D space and controls to use them. However that generational leap means you can draw much faster in them than others. The best of the vector drawing apps in 2D world is CorelDraw. It's got a much more intuitive way of handling mouse input and contextualising your actions upon nodes and lines than the others. Which means it's at least double the speed of use of the others to use.
    – Confused
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:32

How to Bucket Fill an object with gaps in it's path

Usually we can "fill" an object even if the path has gaps simply by changing it's Object > Fill and Stroke properties. The area within any selected object will then be painted with a selected fill pattern, leaving the gaps in the stroke open.

But whenever we have overlapping line art objects where we only want to fill those parts outlined we may find the bucket fill tool convenient.

If our object's border had gaps this tool will not work:

enter image description here

Let's therefore select one object after the other to then apply the Path > Union tool. This will close any gaps in each object:

enter image description here

Now the bucket fill tool will work as expected to fill an area surrounded by any of the object's outlines:

enter image description here

Different to bitmap graphics the bucket fill tool in Inksape will have created a new object which can be moved around, altered in shape, or filled with another color or pattern.

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  • I've done that and somehow, it still said "not a closed area" on one of the sides of the sword... I've tested later, and panning/zooming/restarting Inkscape sometimes takes care of that. Thanks though!
    – theL
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:36

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