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Inkscape Circles, Ellipses, and Arcs Drawing Tutorial

Ellipse tool

Inkscape is a free vector drawing application. This article gives you the basic methods of creating and controling the size and shape of circles, ellipses, and arcs. The ellipse tool allows you to draw circles, ellipses, and arcs. Click on the ellipse tool in the toolbox.

Selected ellipse

In the Inkscape drawing area, press and hold the left mouse button while dragging the mouse pointer. Release the left mouse button to complete the ellipse. The ellipse should be remain selected after you release the left mouse button, causing the ellipse to be enclosed in a rectangle. The rectangle will have 2 small square handles and 1 small circle handle.

Nodes tool

In Inkscape an object must be selected to have handles. If the object is not selected, click on the Edit paths by nodes tool, and then click anywhere on the ellipse. When the Edit paths by nodes tool is selected, The mouse pointer will become a thin arrow. With the tip of the arrow on one of the small square handles, press and hold the left mouse button while dragging the handle. Release the mouse button.

One of the small square handles is used to adjust the width of the ellipse. The other small square handle is used to adjust the height of the ellipse. The small circle handle can be used to create an arc.

In reality the small circle handle is two small circle handles exactly on top of one another. To create an arc drag one of the small circle handles off the top of the other one. Now this is tricky:

Arc with sides

If you click on a small circle handle, and while holding down the mouse button, move the mouse pointer slightly outside the curve while dragging, the arc will be a closed wedge with sides that extend to the center of the ellipse.

Arc without sides

If you click on a small circle handle, and while holding down the mouse button, move the mouse pointer slightly inside the curve while dragging, the arc will be an an open arc, with no visible sides.

If you inadvertently drag a small circle handle, causing the arc sides to appear, it's a little tricky to get rid of them, I find you have to zoom in close and place the arc handles exactly on top of each other.

Select tool

You can do quite a bit of ellipse shaping with the Select and transform objects tool. Select the Select and transform objects tool in the toolbox and then click on the ellipse. Eight double-arrow handles will appear. You can drag one of those handles to change the size of the ellipse.

Double-arrow handles

If you click on the edge of the ellipse, the four corner double-arrow handles of the ellipse container box will change into rotation handles. Click on one of the rotation handles, and while holding down the mouse button, drag the handle. This way you can rotate the ellipse.

Of course there are many more things you can do with circles, ellipses, and arcs. But this gives you the basic method of creating and control their size and shape.

More Graphics Design Tips:
• Inkscape Basics
• Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional
• Find Free Stock Photos You'll Actually Want to Use For Your Website or Blog
• Inkscape - How to Use Bitmap Image Fill Pattern
• Image Scanning - Confused About DPI?
• Create Animated Glistening Gold Text With SVG
• Tips and Tricks for Getting Free Images
• How to Make a Simple Video
• How to Create Radial Gradients in Inkscape
• Basic Inkscape Vector Drawing

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