Inkscape Class Day 3

Yesterday I taught the third session of an 8-session (40 minutes per session) course on Inkscape at a Boston-area middle school. (For more general details about the class check out my blog post on day 1.)

Yesterday’s Class

Yesterday’s class was jam-packed with information, and it proved to be too much material to allow the students enough time to really play around with and try out the techniques in the lesson!
We covered:

  • Using the pen tool to create Bezier curves
  • The different types of nodes
  • Working with node handles
  • Converting nodes between types
  • Adding & Removing nodes
  • Scaling and rotating nodes
  • The pencil tool
  • Simplifying Paths
  • The tweak tool
  • The fill tool
  • Converting type to paths

The general approach I wanted to take was to show how to manipulate the nodes on a path in an advanced way, then show additional ways to create paths and form paths (pencil, tweak, fill, type) and show that the node manipulation skills could be applied to any path created using any of those techniques or the shapes from lesson 2.
I think it was a little too ambitious for only 40 minutes of classtime, though – I’m feeling the crunch of having only 8 sessions. If I could have an extra session and if I could go back and edit the lesson plan, I would focus solely on node types and manipulation and give the students plenty of exercises and time to play around with them on their own. As Eve said after class, working with nodes and the pen tool is a bit of a mental leap as well as a technically difficult thing to do – they need a full session. After splitting that out into its own session, I would then split the rest of the content in the class into a separate session, and proceed with the material for lesson 4 as if it was lesson 5.
That being said, class went okay. I think the students picked up on everything – I checked monitors after each section and it seemed the few who were not yet caught up were quickly caught up to speed with Eve’s help. One of the students even had an elaborate design of a bird going in between the quick exercises.
One thing John, Eve, Ken and I discussed after the class is that 3 classes in and the students seem very quiet and focused. I’m hoping for more collaboration between the students in session 4 – I’ve planned to take up no more than 10 minutes going over a little bit more on working with type in Inkscape, then giving them the rest of the class period to work on their band logos.
Class was so jam-packed for this third session that I didn’t get an opportunity to whip out the camera. I’ll be sure to do so in tomorrow morning’s session 4!
By the way, I received permission from Walter to post his notes on T-shirt printing technologies and his specifications for the project – I updated the Inkscape Class Day 2 post with the link.

Follow Along on Your Own

For those of you following along at home, here’s the lesson plan and exercise sheets we used for the class today:

Introduction to Inkscape Lesson 3

lesson 3

Introduction to Inkscape Lesson 3 Exercises

lesson 3 exercises
As always, the source files and the outlines for the entire course are at the course page on my website – but please note that’s a rough outline; as we progress through the class I’m coming up with the more-solid lesson plans based on how far the students get each session. By the end of the course I hope to have the course page organized much better.
By the way, if you’d like to follow all the blog posts about this class at one URL without getting the rest of my feed, I’ve set up a category in WordPress specifically for these posts:
Enjoy! And please do let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions!
This course is sponsored by


  1. jef spaleta says:

    I haven't commented on this yet…being very busy at the end of the world and all… but I just wanted to say how very important good this is to see.
    A couple of questions for you to think about after your done teaching the course.
    Can you teach technology educators in middle school to teach this and scale out?
    Can you hook up with schools with distance learning infrastructure to teach this again and scale out to more kids? If you were based in NC I'd find some way to get your arse over to the NCSSM distance learning center into one of their studio classrooms.. but as your are in mASS I don't who to talk to make that sort of thing happen. But if your interested I'm sure we can find a way for you to do it.

  2. You mistyped the URL for Lesson 3 Exercises as "lesson4"… in the wiki is fine, broken only on the blog.
    Node editing is the thing I probably to the most with Inkscape and I also do lines editing: draw with straight lines and then drag them to the mouse to become curves.
    I agree with Eve, the part about text should have not be crammed in the same session with nodes.

  3. Hi,
    this is some awesome material you're creating here. Lately I've been reading your posts on Planet Gnome with quite some interest. Especially those regarding fonts and now these Inkscape lessons, which I think are not only useful for learning Inkscape, but also for obtaining some general knowledge about graphical design (double Cheers for you).
    I hope I can find some time this year and translate them to Spanish, you see, that's my way of «giving back to the Community».
    Thanks for all this again.
    P.S: I see we have chosen the same WordPress Theme (as they say: «Great minds think alike» ;-))

    1. Hi Lucas! Thank you so much for the nice comment! I'm glad you're enjoying my posts so far. Please let me know if you do end up translating the lessons to Spanish, I'd love to link to them.
      I love this WordPress theme, it's very clean – you have good taste 😉

  4. The lessons you have prepared are simply amazing, just looking at them I knew that they are not like any other tutorial or documentation. I was initially shocked in a good way that 7th graders were lucky enough to be using this material. Somehow at the end of the day my bread & butter tool has always been mspaint, thankfully this changes that 🙂 I started out with Gimp recently but then quickly ran into your blogs which made Inkscape #1 on my list.
    I wanted to say that in this 3rd lesson I was confused for the very 1st time (which hadn't happened yet while following your docs) about the lock icon for text. After trial & error, the lock icon does not seem to be part of the "Create & edit text objects" toolbar … rather it becomes available later by selecting the text in the "Select and transform objects" toolbar. Perhaps the software has changed since you wrote these 🙂

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