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Drawing hair with Inkscape


My very first online tutorial is an adaption from Chris Design Drawing Hairs article using both Path and Path Editor tools which requires Inkscape 0.47 or newer. Start-up Inkscape application which should open a new blank page and set the document into landscape.

 Create a path

  • Select the bezier tool or press either Shift+F6 or B on the keyboard.
  • Draw a line to approximately 800px or more. You can also use rectangle tool (R or F4 as shortcut key) as a thin line illustrated in grey.
  • While the line is selected, convert into path from the menu Path -> Stroke to Path or press Ctrl+Alt+C on the keyboard. For the rectangle, Path -> Object to Path or Ctrl+Shift+C. The result will show grey diamonds on each corner.



Create a pattern

  • On the menu, Extensions -> Modify Paths -> Add Nodes. Set the Max Segments Length to 5px.

  • On the menu Extension -> Modify Paths -> Jitter Nodes. Leave the default settings and apply effects.

  • You will have about thousands nodes which can be reduced with simplication (Path -> Simplify or Ctrl+L)
  • Resize the new generated patterns to about 20px width and 200px height, copy one of them with Ctrl+C or Edit -> Copy.


Setting a path effect

  • Create a new curve using bezier tool mentioned above and select it (bow anr S curve below).

  • We will use a path effect editor which can be accessed thought either Path -> Path Effect Tools or Shift+Ctrl+7. This editor should appear docked on the right side of Inkscape application.

  • With either a bow or S curve selected, apply new effect by choosing “Pattern along path” inside the list field and press Add. Pattern along Path should be listed inside Effect List.
  • Inside Current Effect field, you can either paste your created path or link to path which give finer control of the pattern we created earlier.
  •  Notice the path is horizontally stretched  giving a strange result illustrated above. To fix the issue, check "Pattern is vertical" inside Current Effect field.

  • Now we got a mesh that looks like hairs. To finalize, we applied the same effect on the S curve. If you have linked the pattern, you can adjust its width.


  •  With more practice, you can create a nice hairstyle with a combination of clipping.

 Happy drawing and leave feedback about mistake or other stuffs. A big thank you Máirín Duffy (Mizmo) for encouraging me to write this tutorial.

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