I am looking for good resources (books, tutorials, courses, etc.) on learning to draw technical illustrations in Inkscape?

I am specifically looking for resources aimed at beginners in both drawing and Inkscape, if that is possible. :)

I would appreciate if the author of the answer has actually read the tutorial/book he/she recommends, and that is is specifically on technical illustration and not just Inkscape tutorials.

Example of the type of illustration that I would like to learn to draw:

Example of technical illustration

This is just an example, and the most fitting term for this I can look up is technical illustration. So what I am looking for is resources with an introduction to Inkscape aimed in the direction of drawing technical illustrations. If that is possible.

  • 2
    are you looking for the word 'diagram' ? – user8228 Dec 2 '09 at 14:08
  • @Revolter: No, the word "technical illustration" is quite fitting. Do a google image search for it, and you will see what I mean. – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Nov 11 '14 at 11:26

I personally wouldn't recommend Inkscape for technical drawings. It's much of an hassle to get everything just right.

Inkscape is more vector drawing oriented.

What I would suggest is Google SketchUp. It's quite easy to use and suits better for stuff that requires drawing accuracy.

Also combining both of them might be a good idea. The objects that require precision do in SketchUp and later combine them in Inkscape with additional artwork (eg. hands, text).

  • SVG plugin for SketchUp, is a nice tutorial how to combine Inkscape and SketchUp

Very good book Inkscape: Guide to a Vector Drawing Program (there's the free web version and the book - I highly recommend the book, it really is worth the money). It explains quite nicely Inkscape from beginning to end with nice examples.

Must read chapters for technical illustrations in there are: layering, sub-layering, connectors, tracing bitmaps and isometric projection.

Learn how to do diagrams. Basically you should know how to use clones properly.

How I usually do those kinds of illustrations is:

  • Draw (with a pencil) a basic outline what I'm going to do.
  • Then import that into Inkscape and draw all objects with really simple shapes.
  • I don't draw one thing twice nor do I duplicate it. I clone it - it has a nice feature that when I change the original all the clones change.
  • Usually I keep the originals off the page and use only clones on the page. (of course if there's more than one object of that type).
  • Then do the generic outline with all the things
  • Finally add the text to separate layer.

Also it's quite useful to have "library" of objects in a .svg you often use.

  • Please note I am asking for technical illustration, not technical drawing. More in the Update of the question. – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Nov 30 '09 at 12:14
  • I'd also recommend buying a digitizing tablet if you plan on doing this sort of thing often (any kind of illustration or drawing). Vector graphics are easier than raster graphics to draw using a mouse, but using a digitizer tablet still speeds up your work tremendously. It's well worth the $63 you can order a new Wacom Bamboo for. – Lèse majesté May 5 '12 at 13:42
  • 2
    Unfortunately, there is no SketchUp for Linux :( – neydroydrec Nov 25 '12 at 11:09
  • Use Wine for Linux... still I have used SketchUp under Windowz and think that inkscape would be great IF it had a better means of adding dimension lines. – Wilf Mar 25 '15 at 20:19

This link, (Google actually) provides a huge list of files related to inkscape : tutorials/free books/manuals/how-to ... a lot of stuffs,

Have fun.


what exactly you want to know ? (gimme some examples) you have actually a huge list of resources

First, you have to learn how to use that tool (the drawings skills are up to you). I've never used it, but I recommend that you take a look at some sources files and find out how they was drawn.

you may find some help on their wiki

But if you're looking for standards about technical drawing, this is another topic.


Well, as far as books go, there is this one from O'Reilly, although, I beg you to reconsider your plan.

Inkscape is not something technical drawings are drawn in. For such purposes, Autocad is the industry standard in 2D with some 3D capabilities, CATIA and ProEngineer are often used (depending on preferences of the company really, ProE maybe a little more in the field of mechanical engineering) in full 3D development through all stages, and Rhino from McNeel is fast gaining popularity in the last years, being significantly cheaper and responsive (not to mention an excellent NURBS support).

I'm not saying such work cannot be done in Inkscape (a skilled hand could probably do it in Paint) - just that it usually is not done. And therefore I seriously doubt you will find an Inkscape book specifically oriented towards technical drawings.

  • Hi. Thanks for the link, I will take a look at that book. I was asking specifically for technical illustration, which is something slightly different from technical drawing. The way I understand it is that technical drawing is drawing with precise measurements after which e.g. objects may be constructed. While technical drawing simply is conceptional illustration of technical principles. E.g. a drawing illustrating the transferring of network packets over a wireless LAN between a number of cars on a highway. (Which is something I actually have had to illustrate.) – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Nov 30 '09 at 12:01
  • Uhmm, no. Technical drawing doesn't have to be drawn to measure, doesn't have to be drawn in scale. The main thing is that it has dimensions (you never, ever, measure something from a drawing which has not been dimensioned!). I don't know what's the linguistic difference in english, but under "technical drawing" one pretty much covers anything from preliminary sketches, to workshop documentation with dimensions, tolerances, material specifications etc. I hold an eng. degree, so I've done my share of – Rook Nov 30 '09 at 13:05
  • all kinds of above. However, I cannot be sure that in computer sciences (network packets ...) different perspectives on it don't apply. I'm having difficulties differentiating between "drawing" and "illustration" since in my language they're the same. BUT, to cut long story short, I still think you'll find much easier to do both in an application which is ment for it, than in, for example, Inkscape. I know people who've done drawings for books, but have never ever heard anyone use inkscape for that purpose. ... someone's maybe using it, but I haven't heard of it. Just my 2 eurocents :) – Rook Nov 30 '09 at 13:09
  • Just now I've read the update to the question, so let me update also ... I already said I don't think you'll find books that deal specifically with inkscape. But you might go finding books that deal with technical drawings ... and its principles. After all, the principles of putting it on paper and on screen are the same, and after you grasped those, everything else is lemon easy. – Rook Nov 30 '09 at 13:13

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