Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Draw a pumpkin using Inkscape

Well; it is almost Thanksgiving and I love pumpkins so why not do a nice tutorial on how to draw a pumpkin.  My goal for this is to make the pumpkin look as realistic as possible.

To start, we will draw the basic pumpkin shape.  We don't want it to be a perfect circle, but to look realistic, we will make it somewhat random in shape. Use the freehand line tool to draw your pumpkin (turn smoothing up. I did 70). Play around till you get the basic pumpkin shape you want.

Basic Pumpkin shape
Once your shape is made, make a copy or two and put it to the side (we will use copies for coloring and texture).

Now for the creases.  Draw a single crease to one side so that it mimics the side of the pumpkin.

Single crease
Once the crease has been drawn, copy it and change the horizontal direction so it is opposite (press H).  Instead of making a bunch of creases, we will use Inkscape's interpolate tool.  Extensions>Generate From Path>Interpolate.  Choose the settings for the number of creases you want.  I do slight adjustments to the creases by hand to make it look a bit more realistic.

Try slightly uneven spacing to make it look more natural
That is the base for out pumpkin. Now for the fun stuff.

Before we get too far, we will create some layers to separate the different elements (OK... you probably don't need to do layers, but I am a lover of layers; it makes things easier if you want to create different layer blends in the future).

For my layers I am going to create a Base Pumpkin Layer and a Creases Layer.

We will get the base pumpkin color.  Pick something orange. Do a gradient... have the lighter gradient where you want your artificial light to be (in my case top left) and darker where you want the shadows to be.

Color is important but gradient is not too important. We will be adding more highlights and shadows later
Now we want to do some basic highlights and shadows. I am going to turn off my creases layer so they don't get in the way. I think I will go ahead and create a new layer for this as well (this way I can put a blur on the entire layer and not specific elements).

Highlight on top, then shadow, highlight, shadow

Right now it looks pretty goofy.  That is fine.  We will play with the opacities and blurs until it looks right.

OK. It is looking better. Not awesome yet, but good enough for now (we will change it later if it needs to be tweaked).  Let's get to work on the creases.

Get the first crease and copy it twice.  With the two copies, combine the two paths (CTRL + K) then join the nodes together at the ends.

Two crease shapes

Once you have combined the paths and joined the nodes, you should have a shape. Copy the shape.  One of the shapes will be the shadow, the other will be the highlight.  Combine the shapes and tweak the nodes so they line up on the nodes but don't overlap the shadows and highlights.  Look at the finished product below.

Now use gradients to create highlights. Black highlight on the left, white on the right.

 Go ahead and finish up the rest of the creases doing something similar. Focus more on the shadows than the lighlights.  Remember... we have the light to the upper left, so the creases to on the right of the pumpkin will not really have any highlights. 

After I finished the creases, I moved the highlight and shadows layer so they are on top.

Now we want to give the pumpkin some texture.  Remember some of those base pumpkin shapes that we copied at the beginning then set aside? Let us grab one of those now to use for our texture. 

I created a new layer and called it the "Texture" layer. I but it right above the base pumpkin layer. We will put our texture on this layer.  Make your shape a nice dark orange color (no stroke) then apply the rough paper texture (Filters>Texture>Rough Paper).

That is pretty good, but we want the shape to be more like the pumpkin and we want the texture to be a bit finer.

Open the filter editor (Filters>Filter Editor) and for the rough paper filter, take the scale all the way down for the displacement map.  Turn up the turbulence just a bit more.

Put the layer mode on "Screen" then turn the opacity down somewhere from 10-30%

Good enough for now.  Starting to look like a pumpkin. Let's do the stem!
Create a new stem layer.

Do a stem shape and give it a gradient.  I did mine a dark green/grey color on top and tan near the bottom.

Once you have the stem in place, give some highlights and shadows to make it more realistic.  You may want to also give it some texture like you did with the pumpkin.

That is basically it!  I am not totally satisfied with the look though so I think I will do some embellishments.   I think I will start by doing some shadows underneath the pumpkin.  Yep; going to do a new layer for that!

I think I will add a few more highlights to get it looking a bit better.....

Not perfect, but it looks like a pumpkin!

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