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How to create a photo comic in Inkscape (for Valentine’s Day)

27 mayo, 2021

Valentine’s Day is coming and on the web we have a multitude of options with which to make a virtual gift to our partner as a little detail (if that is going to be your main gift … Oooh, I foresee problems). However, why not use the tools at our fingertips to do something a little more personalized and that, in addition, it does not leave us a watermark or something similar?

Then let’s see how to create a comic with photographs (what has been a lifelong photonovela) using Inkscape with which to provide a modest memory of your best moments to your partner. As you know, Inkscape is a free software vector editor that you can download for free from its website. This tutorial is based on the fact that you have no idea how to use this program, so it will also help you to take your first steps in it.

One detail: surely many of you will say that there are tools that do the same and that they are even free (on the web). Certain. But these sometimes offer some limitations that you can break using this method. Also, nothing like a gift made with our own hands and our own creativity.

<h2>¿Qué necesitamos?</h2>
  • Inkscape: you can download it for free from their website. It is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
  • Photos: I assume you have photos with your partner that you can turn to. If not, then you throw your imagination with other photos alluding to what you tell.
  • Some eye-catching fonts: a good place to get them is Dafont. For comics, I really like to use Laffayette
  • A little script: or rather a series of annotations about what the page will contain. Something simple, more than anything so that we do not forget exactly what we want to put.
<h2>Creando las viñetas</h2>
Drawing a bullet point (and pointing to some tools)

Let’s start from the fact that you already have your annotations and that you know what you will say in each vignette, in addition to having chosen the photos that will go in each one.

Based on our script, we can create all bullets first that will compose the comic and then insert the images that will go inside or go doing it one by one. That depends on the way you work. Personally, I prefer to put all the bullets first and it will be that way that I will explain it.

To do this, we go to the Toolbox (located on the left) and select the rectangle. Then, we click where we want to put the bullet and, without releasing, we drag the cursor until the bullet is the size and proportions we need.

When we finish drawing the rectangle, when we release, the tool of said figure remains selected. In order to move the one we have created, we must choose the selection tool (or press F1). By clicking on the figure and keeping the mouse button pressed, we can move it to the place we want. They also appear to us some handles on the sides with which we can change their size and providedn. If what we want is to rotate it, we will have to click twice on the figure so that the arrow-shaped handles appear that will allow us to rotate the figure to our liking.

The vignettes can have the shape we want: a rectangle, an oval, a star … It doesn’t matter. They are all created in the same way I just explained. However, I am going to expand a bit in an explanation with the polygons and stars.

The controls for the Stars and Polygons tool

When we select the Stars and Polygons tool, the tool control bar (at the top) will change. That is where we must specify if we want a polygon or a star and how many corners we want it to have. If we create the figure and we are not satisfied with its shape, we can modify it without leaving the Stars and Polygons tool and modifying the values ​​of its controls (changing the number of corners or the selection between polygon and star).

To color a shape, all we have to do is select it and click on the color from the palette that we have at the bottom of the window. For this case, we must do the transparent bullets, so we will click on the X at the far left of the palette.

<h2>Insertando las imágenes</h2>
Dialog box when inserting an image

Once we have the vignettes, we insert the images that will go inside them. To do this, the quickest way is open the folder where we have the images, select them and drag them to the window by Inkscape. When we release them, a dialog box will appear asking us if we want to embed or link them. My suggestion is to embed them, because that way we will not have problems with the document if we erase any of the original photographs since it will be inside our file.

If you drag and drop several images at the same time, the program It will ask you for confirmation for each one of them. In order not to complicate you much, better go putting them one by one, inserting the next one after performing the process that follows.

Let’s say we have already entered an image: now we must place it inside a bullet. This is the hardest thing to explain, not to do. Doing it is very easy, you will see.

  • Send the photo back all the way so that it is behind the vignettes. To do this, we select the photo and we will Object> Send to Background.
  • Position the photo so that the border of the vignette frames the area of ​​the photo that we want. It does not matter that parts of the photo remain on the sides. If you want, you can reduce the size of the photo, but there should always be enough photo inside the panel.
  • Select the photo and the vignette. It can be done by clicking on each one while holding down shift or by clicking on an empty space and dragging to create a dotted rectangle that covers both.
  • We are going to Object> Clip> Apply.
Example of how the image should be before clipping

We already have our vignette. Be careful with this. What we have is that the vignette has cut the image with its shape (that’s why we send it behind: the figure serves as a mold). The image cannot have a border, therefore what we are seeing is the transparent box inside with cropped image inside. The edge and the inside are separate figures. We can group them to behave as a single object by selecting both and going to Object> Group (CTRL + G).

Now, all we have to do is repeat the same process with all the bullets: insert an image, send it back, etc.

<h2>Introduciendo el texto</h2>
Modifying the text format

The time has come to put the text that will go in each panel. In this case, we are going to take into account that we already have the script so we are going to copy and paste the texts into the comic.

  • We go to the document where we have the text. We copy the one that will go inside a balloon or a support box.
  • We return to Inkscape.
  • We select the text tool (the icon with the A inside the toolbox).
  • We click and draw a text box. When released, a cursor will appear inside it.
  • We paste the text.

If we see that the text does not appear complete, it is possible that the box is too small. In the lower right corner we have a rhombus that we can use to resize it.

As the text appears in the default format, now we must change the font, size, etc. To do this, first we choose the selection tool and, since the text box will already be selected (if for some reason it is not, we select it) we will Text> Text and Typography (or the icon with the T in the command bar).

In the window that appears, we change the font and size as we want. With a size 12 or 14 it will be more than enough. We also change the alignment, centering the text.

Now the text may be stretched too wide. Well, nothing: double click on it and, when the text box appears, we resize it with the icon that we indicated before.

<h2>Creando los globos y las cajas de texto.</h2>

As we did with the bullets, we now create the supporting text boxes and balloons. The difference is that now these figures have to contain the text that we have pasted. To do this, we trace them on top of it, we lower them a level so that they are below the text (Object> Lower) and we adjust their size so that it is in an appropriate way.

With balloons, it is the same. Now, we must create what is known as a corner, right? Well, it is very simple. To do this, we will use the bezier tool, which is the one with an icon with the tip of a Rotring (just below the one with a pencil).

We already have the balloon with the text inside it. Now we choose the bezier tool and click inside the balloon, in an area near the edge and from where the corner will start. We click only once.

We will see how, when we move the mouse, a line starts from that point where we click. We position ourselves where the end of the corner will be and we puncture again. Finally, we double-click inside the balloon, more or less close to where we clicked for the first time. In this way we obtain a triangle, which will be the corner (it will be very straight, but let’s not get into the complications of making it curved).

We select this triangle and the globe and unify them by going to Path> Union (or CTRL ++). Thus, a single object is formed (it is not ungroupable) and we already have our complete globe.

Process with the Bezier tool to create the corner of the balloon

<h2>El resultado final</h2>

Now we just have to repeat all the steps indicated until we complete the comic. Once we have finished it, it will be our decision what to do with it. We can print it directly from Inkscape or export it to PNG or PDF to send it by post or hang it up somewhere.

To export it to PNG (Inkscape does not export to another bitmap format), let’s File> Export Bitmap. There, a dialog box will appear. We make sure that the “Page” box is chosen and, at the bottom, we click “Browse” to indicate the folder and the name with which we will save the file.

To export it to PDF we are just going to File> Save As and we save it by selecting the format below PDF. A dialog box will appear where we mark the box “The exported area is the page” (that way, if something has been left around the page, it will not appear) and, if you plan to print from the PDF, I suggest you raise the resolution to 150 or 300 dpi.

Comic example

By following these steps, you can get results like the one in the image at the top of the post (or these lines, a little closer). Yes, it is no wonder. Yes, it can be improved a lot with some effects, but I did not want to complicate the tutorial by adding more details, which has already been quite long.

In case you want make a multi-page comic, there are different ways to do it. If you are starting with the program, it will be more practical to create each page in a different file, export each one to PNG and then join them (if you want all the pages to be joined) in a file CBZ or CBR or PDF. I do not recommend saving in PDF directly each page and join them because then the resulting set is going to be very heavy. For the CBZ or CBR just compress the PNG on ZIP (CBZ) or RAR (CBR) and change the …