Fail and Prejudice: Using Inkscape as an alternative to Illustrator

On: October 31, 2010
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About Emina Sendijarevic
Some find a great usefulness and comfort in new media, while others complain about the loss of privacy, intimacy and sociability. Technology in my opinion challenges people to rethink their position towards old standards, it challenges them to deconstruct the concepts they thought were embedded in old values and traditions. Instead of blaming or praising new media, we should see new media as an introspective tool for managing our world. New media (qualitative) research and social media analytics are a way to explore and understand every-day-real-life human interaction.


I was already familiar with Illustrator (CS3). However since it’s been a while ago, I thought I could use Inkscape without prejudice.

Think again.

The point was to make a head upside down, half filled with blood, dripping out. Don’t ask me why that was my intention, let’s just leave it at that I didn’t succeed. The illustration somewhat resembles a head…upside down..getting red.

Some remarks on the usability of Inkscape (vs. Illustrator CS3):

Copying a path, copies the object, not the path. After copying you can’t change the path. I couldn’t figure out how to connect paths or disconnect them. Very frustrating. Creating a path is however really easy and adjusting it as well. Works much better than in Illustrator: It isn’t as sensitive and troubling.

Colors and gradient
The variation of colors is very limited. Switching between coloring of path/ filling is a bad copy of Illustrator and doesn’t work as intuitive. Switching between colors becomes even more problematic when using gradient (or other effects). I did figure it out eventually, but it really took me some time and effort. You can set the alignment of the gradient IN the object, this is actually quite nice.

I haven’t been working with layers, but I must say, it isn’t as inviting and intuitive as it is in Illustrator. In Illustrator a big importance is given to layers and it’s always somehow visible or accesible.

In conclusion I think that both Illustrator and Inkscape have interesting features. With both I didn’t use a ‘how-to’ guide, but instead tried to figure it out myself. I believe this is the best way to learn. It amazes me though, that Inkscape is a very good alternative to Illustrator considering it’s only on the market for the last 5 years…

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