How to Draw a Vector Coronavirus Icon (Easy Tutorial)

Being in lock down for the past few weeks made me ask the question you’re probably asking yourself:

How would I draw a vector coronovirus icon?

So I took my fear of covid-19 by the horns and began thinking about drawing a virus icon.

So I came up with this quick and easy way to draw a vector coronavirus using Inkscape.

Let’s begin.

Step 01: Draw the Spikes

Coronaviruses have spikes, called glycoprotein spikes. We will draw our model spike and will reuse it to form the other spikes.

1. Create the Main Structure

  • Draw a square with the Square Tool.
  • Using the tool’s nodes, round the corners.
  • Finally, turn the object into a path (use the button or Path > Object to Path).

2. Transform Nodes to Shape the Spike

  • Using the Node Editing tool, select the lower two parallel nodes.
  • Make sure to turn on the Transform Nodes mode.
  • Pressing SHIFT, grab one of the transformation handles and squeeze toward the center to make that end narrower.
  • Grab the three upper nodes and do they same, outwards and upwards, until you get a shape similar to the one shown.
  • Play around, get a feel of how the nodes transform, and find the shape you want!

3. Create Spike Highlight

  • Duplicate your main spike (CTRL + D).
  • Select the upper five nodes of the duplicate and, using the Node Transform mode AND pressing both the SHIFT and CTRL keys, grab the upper right handle and slightly move downward.
  • Finally, create an ellipse with the Circles tool.
  • Covert it to a path (Path > Object to Path).
  • Place it on top of the spike (drag and adjust the top node a little to make it fit).
  • Go ahead and group the whole thing by selecting all the parts and pressing CRTL + G (or Object > Group).

Step 02: Create the Body (Virus Envelope)

Now, we will create the sphere-like envelope to which the spikes are attached.

1. Create the Circular Structure

  • First, pressing both the SHIFT and CRTL keys, create a circle with the Circles tool.
    • The CTRL key locks the aspect ratio to create a perfect circle.
    • The SHIFT key makes the circle grow from its center.

2. Duplicate and Color the Circles to Create the Virus Envelope

  • Now, select the Transform tool. Click the circle twice to reveal its rotation handles (the first click reveals its scale and move handles).
    • Notice how a tiny cross appears at the circle’s center (this is the circle’s center of rotation).
  • Move the cross to the upper left segment of the circle, touching its stroke.
  • Next, duplicate the circle (CRTL + D) and:
    • Pressing the CTRL key, grab the lower right transformation handle and drag in a left-upward motion to reduce de circle’s size while it’s still aligned with the biggest circle’s upper left segment.
  • Repeat this procedure one more time until you have three nested circles.
  • Finally, remove the circles’ strokes and add fill colors, following the pattern shown.

Step 3: Assemble the Virus Structure

Now, we will finish the coronavirus vector icon by duplicating the spike we created and placing around the virus envelope.

1. Place the Spike in the Virus Envelope

  • Take the model spike you created and place at the top center segment of the circular structure.
  • Duplicate it (CRTL + D).
  • Change its center of rotation to the lower-center part of the stem (its base).
  • This will let you rotate the spike around the virus envelope to fit perfectly with its contour.

2. Duplicate and Transform

  • Duplicate spikes to place around the virus envelope.
  • Using the Transform tool, scale down some of the spikes.
  • Give some of the spikes a solid fill color.

3. Place Spikes Around the Virus Evelope to Finish Icon

  • Place the different spike duplicates around the virus, rotating using procedure described above.
  • Note that some spikes appear beneath the virus envelope. Use the Lower / Raise Selection mode on the Transform tool to raise or lower accordingly.
  • Note that spikes that are on the back appear darker than those on the front.

3. Finishing Details

  • Create some ellipses to represent middle spikes and place in the center of the structure, like so:

Step 4: Present it Anyway You Like

  • Change the colors of the spikes to fit your needs.
  • Give a background for presentation.
Vector coronavirus icon

Be Safe!

I truly wish for you and your loved ones to be safe!

Make sure you’re up-to-date with official information during this crisis.

What is Inkscape? [Complete Guide]

Graphic designers rely on graphics editing software for everything they create. While there are many options out there, not all will adapt to your needs.

So, you rightfully ask:

What is Inkscape?

What is Inkscape?

Inkscape is a free and powerful vector drawing software for Windows and Mac that allows you to create graphics in a way similar to Adobe Illustrator.

In this post, I will give you a thorough explanation about Inkscape.

Let’s get to it.

Is Inkscape Free? Yes!

Inkscape is one of the few free vector graphic software out there, and one of the oldest and more robust.  

How can such a powerful program be free?

Well, it’s first release was 15 years ago and it’s still being developed and updated to this day by thousands of committed users around the world.  

It is efficient and powerful, allowing its users to create professional-grade graphic design indistinguishable from expensive vector graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator.  

You can just download the software and start creating right now.  

You can download the latest version of Inkscape for free at the official website: inskcape.org.

Because of this, it is the ideal graphics program for beginning and aspiring designers.

Not only that:

Professional designers around the world use Inkscape to keep costs low and produce high-quality, professional designs.  

Inkscape is the graphic design software I recommend for self-taught designers because it allows them to learn the basics of vector graphics and design right now.

What is Inkscape Used for?

With Inkscape, you can do anything that a graphic designer usually does.  

It allows you to create logos, fliers, business cards, websites, badges, letterhead, and so on.

You can even create ultra-realistic drawings like this one:

Realistic car illustration using Inkscape.
You can draw realistic illustrations in Inkscape.

Even more:

You can also use Inkscape for certain jobs that you would normally do with pixel software (such as Photoshop), like cropping images, applying basic filters, scaling down large images, or applying text to photos, to name a few.

I have personally used Inkscape for many years and I’ve done quite a few different projects in it.  

For example, I have created business cards, websites, software interfaces, logos, posters, and flyers.  

I even use Inkscape in my college-level graphic design courses because my students have access to it on the very first day of class and can start playing with it right away.

This actually allows them to learn graphic design faster.  

Why? Because they:

  • Can download the program right away on their laptops and they can start creating and learning from the get-go.  
  • Don’t have to rely on campus computers or expensive licenses
  • Can continue practicing and, as they progress, the software will not become obsolete because it gets better and more powerful every year.  

Inkscape is so powerful and complex that there’s always something new to learn, no matter how advanced you are.  

How to Use Inkscape for Beginners?

Inkscape is great for both beginners and advanced designers.  

It is particularly a great tool for beginners because it teaches you the principles of vector graphics software.

It has many tools you can use to create drawings (such as the transform tool, ellipses tool, pencil tool) that let you manipulate vector objects in complex ways into whatever you need.  

With Inkscape, people can create magnificent illustrations that are very realistic and professional.

Inkscape Basics

Inkscape allows you to learn the basics of vector graphics software.  

First, you need to learn the basics of the program in order get a feel for it and how vector graphics behave.  

Download the software and play around with it.

Then, start experimenting with all of the tools that are available on the left-hand panel.

For example, you can start using the square tool to make quadrangular shapes or you can use the circle tool to create circular and elliptical shapes.

After creating some shapes, use the transform tool to manipulate these objects and get a feel for the power of vector graphics.   

Start by writing your name and using some effects, like changing its color or transforming its size, maybe even skewing the text from left to right.

You can use the transform tool in Inkscape to change how text looks.
You can use the transform tool in Inkscape to change how text looks.

Get Started With Some Projects

As you continue learning, you will need to center around different projects that will become the engine for your experience and growth in graphic design.

In fact, projects are the key to learning graphic design.  

You may later want to create a logo for your website or a friend’s YouTube channel.

These are great opportunities for you to learn both graphics software and design. This, in turn, will build your knowledge, skills, and confidence.  

This is the important part:

As you move forward with your projects,  you will have questions that will naturally arise from the process.  

Search for those questions in Google and you will find answers and tutorials that will contribute to your learning and skills.  The more problems you’re able to solve, the more you will learn.

Inkscape and Vector Graphics

Vector graphics software such as Inkscape and Illustrator allow you to create digital drawings that can go from very simple to complex and that can look very realistic.

You create vector graphics by using lines (strokes), shapes (circles, rectangles, spirals, polygons), text, and color.

More importantly:

Vector graphics allow you to transform and manipulate those elements.  

In principle, almost anything you could draw by hand you could also draw with vector graphics software.  

At the heart of vector graphics is SVG, which stands for Scalable Vector Graphics.  

According to Wikipedia:

SVG images […] can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. SVG images can be created and edited with any text editor, as well as with drawing software. All major modern web browsers—including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Microsoft Edge—have SVG rendering support.

What does this mean?

It means that Inkscape files are standard and can be read with most web browsers and edited with most vector software, including Adobe Illustrator.

Advantages of Using Inkscape

Well, one obvious reason for using Inkscape is that it is free.  However, this is not the only reason.

Inkscape is an extensive and mature vector graphics program that allows to create professional-grade designs.  It has many versions under its belt and has been around for more than 15 years.

Also, it is extremely powerful and allows you to do as many things as you actually would in commercial software.

Here’s another great reason to use Inkscape:  

Inkscape has a dedicated and passionate user community around the world. This community produces tons of high-quality resources and tutorials that you can freely use to learn vector graphic design.  

In addition, there are countless online resources available to you at no cost –guides, tutorials, and free courses– that teach you how to use Inkscape, from beginner to advanced.  

Finally, there are several excellent advanced books you can buy and use as reference, if needed.

Inkscape for Professional Use

You can definitely use Inkscape for professional design.

In fact, many professional designers prefer Inkscape because it helps them keep production costs low while getting a world-class vector editing program.

All vector graphics software function in similar ways because they come from a common philosophy.  This is why learning Illustrator after having used Inkscape is not that difficult.

In other words:

Inkscape and Illustrator function in the very same way because they are both vector software that have the same foundation.

While Illustrator has become the standard in commercial graphic design agencies and studios, Inkscape actually allows you to make creations that are as good as those that are created with commercial software.

So:

As you get more advanced, If you want to move on to commercial vector software such as Illustrator, the learning curve becomes so much easier.  

If you were to move from Inkscape to Illustrator, you would have very little or even no problems at all going forward.  

You can see an example of the use Inkscape for commercial use by Linuxparadesigner:

An example of commercial design using Inkscape
This is an example of professional commercial design using Inkscape and Gimp, another free graphics software.

Another excellent example of Inkscape used commercially is Nick Saporito, a Philadelphia graphic designer.

Nick creates amazing logos tutorials in his YouTube channel, Logos By Nick.

He is one the best professional advocates of Inkscape out there:

Nick Saporito is a professional graphic designer using Inkscape commercially
Nick Saporito is a professional graphic designer using Inkscape commercially.

Conclusion: Download Inkscape and Start Creating Now

As you can see, Inkscape is a powerful vector editing program that beginner and advanced users can use.

Moreover:

Inkscape is an excellent choice for both personal and professional use.

One of its most important advantages is that it is free and open software that you can download on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

However, despite being free software, it competes formidably with commercial software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw.

So, what are you waiting for? Give Inkscape a try and see for yourself the power it has to offer.

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Advanced Inkscape Logo Tutorial [Step-by-Step + PDF]

In this advanced Inkscape logo tutorial, I show you step-by-step how to create a complex logo using a grid construction process.

Specifically, we will recreate the Woolmark logo, by Italian designer Franco Grignani.

In this tutorial, you will learn about:

  • Logo grid construction process
  • Boolean operations
  • Geometric logo design

BONUS: Download this advanced Inkscape logo tutorial in PDF at the bottom of the page so you can work at your own pace.


Step 1

Overview:

  • Create layers
  • Set the grid
  • Create an equilateral triangle
  • Align triangle

a. Create the layers

First, create four layers using the Layers dialog (Layer > Layers).    Name the layers, from bottom to top, like so: Triangle, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3.  This will help us organize our work and deal with the complexity of the design as we move forward.

Create layers using Inkscape's layers dialog
Create layers using Inkscape’s layers dialog

b. Set the grid

Create a grid for the document by going to View > Page Grid.  Be sure to set the grid size (spacing) large enough so you can easily work with its scale.

Create a grid for the Inkscape document by going to View > Page Grid
Create a grid for the Inkscape document by going to View > Page Grid

c. Create a triangle

Now, create an equilateral triangle, using the Stars and Polygons tool , by setting its corners to “3. ” Move the triangle to the Triangle layer by selecting Layer > Move Selection to Layer Above or Below, depending the layer on which the triangle was created.

Create an equilateral triangle, using the Stars and Polygons tool in Inkscape
Create an equilateral triangle, using the Stars and Polygons tool in Inkscape

d. Align the triangle

Select the triangle, align its tip to a grid intersection and, pressing the SHIFT and CTRL keys *, enlarge (drag) the triangle so that its height is equal to an even number of squares (mine is 6 “grid squares” high).   You may enable the snapping tool for more accuracy.

*  The SHIFT key makes the object scale from its center of rotation, while the CTRL key makes it scale symmetrically.

Align the triangle tip to a grid intersection in Inkscape
Align the triangle tip to a grid intersection in Inkscape

Step 2

Overview:

  • Create a perfect circle
  • Duplicate and position circles

a. Create a circle

Locate the center of the triangle in terms of its height: In my case, it’s 6 “grid squares” high, so its center intersection lies on square 3.

Position the cursor slightly upward off center, as shown.  This will make our rendition more accurate in terms of the original logo.

Select the Circles tool.  

While pressing the SHIFT and CTRL keys, enlarge (drag) the circle so that it becomes a perfect circle.  Make sure the edges of the circles touch the edges of the triangle.

Convert the circle to a path by selecting Path > Object to Path.

Use Inkscape's Circles tool to create a perfect circle within your triangle and convert it to a path
Use Inkscape’s Circles tool to create a perfect circle, then convert to path

b. Duplicate and position circles

Duplicate the circle (CTRL + D keys or Edit > Duplicate).  Move the duplicate to the lower left side.  Press the CTRL key to drag the circle to the bottom, then press CTRL to drag to left, until it touches the left and bottom edges of the triangle.

Duplicate the lower left circle and drag to the right, using the CTRL key.

Duplicate your original circle (use CTRL + D) and align within your triangle
Duplicate your original circle (CTRL + D) and align as shown

Now you have three cicles within a triangle.


Step 3

Overview:

  • Duplicate upper left side circles
  • Interpolate circles
  • Move selection to layer above

a. Duplicate upper left side circles

We will now create the circles that will make up the black crescents of the design.

Select the lower left circle and, pressing the SHIFT key, also select the upper circle (the order of selection is important).

Select circle and interpolate them
Interpolate circles

b. Interpolate circles

Go to Extensions > Generate from Path > Interpolate.

Use the Inkscape extension Interpolate to duplicate circles accordingly
Use the Inkscape extension Interpolate to duplicate circles

In the dialog, select “Duplicate endpaths” and be sure to set interpolation steps to 8.  This is so because the extension will “fill” the space between the circles with duplicates of the same circles.  If you look at the Woolmark logo, each side is composed of 10 circles.

c. Move selection to layer above

The interpolated circles will be grouped, with a total of 10 objects.   Select the group, then move the selection to the layer named “Level 1.” Turn off the layer (in the Layers dialog, click on the little eye icon to close it).


Step 4

Step overview:

  • Repeat process on step 3 for right side 

a. Repeat interpolation for each side

Select the upper and lower circles by pressing the SHIFT key.

Repeat the interpolation process.

Move the selection to the layer named “Level 2” and turn off.

Interpolate circles for the right side
Now interpolate circles for the right side

Step 5

Step overview:

  • Repeat process on steps 3 and 4 for bottom side
  • Delete original circles 

a. Repeat interpolation process for bottom side of triangle

Select the lower right and left circles by pressing the SHIFT key.

Repeat the interpolation process.

Move the selection to the layer named “Level 3” and turn off.

Interpolate for the bottom side

b. Delete original (guide) circles

Delete the three original guide circles before continuing with the next step.


Step 6

Step overview:

  • Apply the Boolean operation “Difference”
  • Fill black and remove stroke to create crescents
  • Repeat to create all the crescent shapes

a. Apply the Boolean operation “Difference”

Start with layer “Level 1”.

Turn on the layer and ungroup the interpolated circles by selecting them and pressing the CTRL and U keys.  You now have 10 separate circle objects.

b. Fill and remove stroke to create crescents

Create the crescents from the circular grid.  

Select the outermost circle and the circle that follows.

Apply Path > Difference.  Apply black fill and remove stroke (Object > Fill and Stroke).

You now have your first crescent.

c. Repeat for creating the other crescents

Repeat with all crescents of that side.  You now should have something that looks like this:

d. Repeat crescent creation on remaining sides

Turn off the layer and repeat with the remaining two sides:


Step 7

Step overview:

  • Use the eraser tool to clean paths
    • Turn on all layers
    • Select crescents with protruding tips
    • Erase tips with the Eraser tool
    • Repeat for all sides

a. Turn on all layers

For the final step, turn on all layers.

b. Select crescents with protruding tips

Select the crescents whose tips protrude unto the opposite crescent set.

c. Erase tips with the Eraser tool

Select the Erase tool.  At the top of the page, in Mode, select “Cut out from object.”

Start “erasing” the protruding crescent tips by passing the tool just to the contour of the opposite crescent.  Be sure to remove all parts of the tip while the object is selected.

Use Inkscape's Eraser tool to remove unwanted portions of the path
Use Inkscape’s Eraser tool to remove unwanted portions of the path

e. Repeat

Repeat on all sides, according to the fold of the original Woolmark logo.

Turn off unnecessary layers.

DONE!

You now have recreated a version of the Woolmark logo and learned about circular grids, Boolean operations, and logo design in the process.

Our final version of the Woolmark logo using Inkscape
Our final vector version of the Woolmark logo using Inkscape!

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