I am just starting with vector graphics, so it's simple to draw some parts using gradients and very hard to draw patterns like this one on the left:

Diamond-pattern knurling on a tube. Source: Wikipedia.

Hi-res version

Besides the obvious method with the textures, there should be more flexible one with gradients and lots of curves, but I haven't figured it yet. For now, I'm stuck with this result:

My attempt to draw knurling on a knife

I'd be happy to hear about other editors (curves and gradients are available in any vector graphics editor anyway).

  • 1
    Welcome on GD.SE, ISE. It seems that the image of your attempt is missing. There are many ways to generate such an image, it all depends on the level of detail you need. You can generate a grid and the rotate and resize it, or you can work on an element and clone it. Please, update us on your efforts. Mar 31, 2016 at 7:53
  • Thanks! I suppose, the image hosting I used before may filter some IP ranges. Moved the picture on SE. I think, there would be several grids with gradients, and that looks a bit complex for me, especially because I want these grids to have the shape of round objects having such surface. And I don't understand how to draw light and shadow on such tiny parts.
    – ISE
    Mar 31, 2016 at 8:52
  • It's a complex goal. Have you considered to trace the reference bitmap (perhaps after decreasing the colors) and insert the result in your image? Mar 31, 2016 at 10:18
  • Usually I have multi-layered spots with this method. The end result is nice, but it is not a pattern and raster will be similar there. It seems that knurling without the diamond-like pattern is simple enought to imitate: you make blocks of paths (for instance, 45 degree, one after another), create linear gradients to fill these and copy to resemble the pattern. Then envelope deformation or just a resize will help with perspective. Still, replicating the diamond shapes would be harder.
    – ISE
    Mar 31, 2016 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


Quite an old question, still no answer? Here are some steps how you could build this up:

  1. Start with one symmetrical diamond shape (middle row), made of 4 triangles in different shades of gray.
  2. Copy the shape and adjust the center for the top row.
  3. Try to create the intermediate shapes with smooth scaling steps. Use your photo as reference or draw a section (circle) next to it to construct proper scaling steps. (In the example I just used a constant scaling factor).
  4. Create a second row in the same way, as shown in the left graphic. This is all you need to draw. The rest will only be copy-paste work.
  5. Multiply and move the element as many times as needed. For the lower part, mirror the shape and readjust the shading.
  6. Optional: Overlay a gradient over the whole thing to make it appear more 3D.

This is a rough buildup, but it should show how it could work.

shapes buildup

Example how to construct the pattern using a cross section:

construction cross section

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.