After receiving some great advice here, I set out to create my first diagrams!

I am trying to recreate this type of image in Inkscape:

example of wind flow diagram

Inkscape was suggested as a good starting point and it's free, otherwise there is really no particular reason I am using it.

So far I have used Matplotlib in python to create some of the elements of the figure:



which I then save as a .svg and open up in Inkscape. I'm not sure this is the best way to do it, but it's a start. One thing I can't get my head around is that I can open a .svg file fine with Inkscape, but I can't import another to the same canvas- it just imports a blank 'box' that I can drag around...Not sure how to resolve this.

I then attempted to starting drawing the boundary layers (the grey filled part of the picture) using some Bézier curves and fill but I didn't get a good result. Basically I'm not sure how to proceed to

  1. 'Tilt' the velocity profiles and to mirror/extend them as in the picture.
  2. Duplicate the airfoil system and make it mesh together nicely with the profiles.
  3. Insert the arrows in the profiles.
  4. Import .svg files so that they show up on the canvas!

Any help would be much appreciated.

  • I don't know either software mentioned well but I'd guess your "blank box" problems mean one or other of the programs is putting the artwork in a group or a clipping mask - look for options to do with ungrouping or removing masks or compound paths. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 11:33
  • 1
    The fastest way to import another SVG file in the current canvas is open it with another instance of Inkscape, copy the content and past into the instance with the destination drawing. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 15:09

1 Answer 1

  1. First draw a velocity profile. After that, pick the Selector tool (the first one) and single-click the shape representing the velocity profile. The handles around the bounding box will change from scaling handles to rotation and shear handles. Use the handles in the middle of the edges to shear (aka skew, tilt) the shape.

  2. To duplicate shapes, use Ctrl+D. If you want the copied shape to reference the original, so that they always stay the same, use Alt+D.

  3. To draw an arrow, draw a line with the Pen tool and then open the Fill and Stroke dialog (Ctrl+Shift+F or Object -> Fill and Stroke...). in the "Stroke style" tab, look for the "End Markers" dropdown. I usually use "Arrow1MEnd". To place the arrows correctly, I would use the Align and Distribute dialog to distribute the arrows at equal distances, then snapping to paths (you can enable it on the right-hand toolbar) with Ctrl held to align them with the profiles.

  4. This is a bug either in Inkscape or the application that is producing the files. For example, older versions of Inkscape misintepret SVG files that contain "currentColor", leading to blank charts when SVG files generated by Gnuplot were opened. You can try exporting to another format from your application, such as PDF, and importing that into Inkscape.


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