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Use Inkscape to Create a Grunge RSS Box Icon

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Read Time: 8 min

How to create an Icon using new features of Inkscape 0.47, such as: gradients, blur, path effects, and mask on texture layer. We'll be walking through every step involved in creating this grungy RSS feed icon box. There is some great vector material in this tutorial!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Inkscape 0.47pre4
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour

Step 1

First, we need the last Inkscape release (0.47pre4). You can download it on the official inkscape site.
Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor available freely for Linux, Windows 2000/2003/XP (fully self-contained installer), and OSX (dmg package).

Step 2

Let's start by first opening a new document, selecting the Bezier Curve tool (B), and drawing a rough of three faces of a cube in a perspective view (Press Command to draw vertical bezier line).

Step 3

Be sure to enable the new user interface of snapping in Inkscape's toolbar and the check snap node button to align nodes.

Step 4

Now we'll cut the upper face in two parts. Select the top face, press the Edit Path Button (F2), select left and down nodes and press the Insert New Node button, repeat for the top and right nodes.

Step 5

Select the nodes just created and press the Break Path button to subdivide the top face and Command + K to break it into two objects. Now you should have four different objects, like the picture below (I filled it with random colors for a better view).

Step 6

To simulate an old carton box, select one face and press F2 to edit path. Select two nodes and press the Add Nodes button. Select the new node created and convert it in a symmetric node to move and rotate them. You can double-click on a path to insert new node...

Step 7

Open the layer manager by going to Layers > Layers...(Command + Shift + L). You should have 1 layer, rename it "Box." Now duplicate it by going to Layer > Duplicate current layer. Rename the new one "bg_box" and place it below "box" layers. Now you should have the same thing in the two layers. So for the moment you can hide "box" layers.

Step 8

So we'll clean the shape in "bg_box" and create only one object, for that be sure internal nodes are aligned. Select all and apply Path > Union. This shape will be used after for texturing, lightning and shadow. You can lock "bg_box" layer and go back on the "box" layer.

Step 9

Now we'll fill the faces with a gradient color to simulate a light coming from the top left. So open the Fill and Stroke box by going to Object > Fill and Stroke (Command + Shift + F). Select the left face, fill the shape with a radial gradient by clicking the Radial Gradient button. Use the Edit Path Button to select the center and choose a light brown color (#c2aa99) and on the outer a dark brown color (#926a4f). Select the gradient center and drag it down to adjust the effect.

Step 10

Repeat the previous step for each part of the carton box, you can adjust the color and don't forget that the light comes from the top left, you should obtain something like that shown below.

Step 11

Now we'll work on emphasizing the box border with lights. Create a star with three branches. Place it on the front corner of the box, and choose a light color like #b4a69e.

Step 12

Now transform the objects by going to Path > Object to path... (Command + Shift + C). Select the branches from the star nodes, and place them on the edges of the box, give a blur value of 1.

Step 13

Select the Bezier Curve tool and draw dark grey shapes in the corner to simulate a bump on the box.

Step 14

Select those shapes, go to Fill and Stroke, and set their Blur to 10.0.

Step 15

Now we'll suggest moisture effect on the box by using some grunge shapes. Create a simple ellipse, select the Tweak tool, set the Width to 10, Force on 25. Now push roughen parts of the paths, and apply them on the side of the shape like the image below.

Step 16

Now we'll erase the rest of the shape by using a Pathfinder. Draw a big rectangle on the part you want to delete. Select the two and apply Path > Difference.

Step 17

Another way to create a rough shape is to draw a simple shape with a bezier tool and apply a modifier by going to Extension > Modify Path > Fractalize.

Step 18

Duplicate, scale and turn the rough shapes just created. Put them on the carton box.

Step 19

Apply on each shape a light gradient, black to transparent and adjust as shown below.

Step 20

Now we'll create tape on the box. Draw two rectangles with the Bezier tool, one little on top and one on the left side.

Step 21

Select the bottom segment on the small rectangle and subdivide it 4 times.

Step 22

Select random nodes and move them with the top and bottom arrow to simulate a split.

Step 23

Select the tape and add this brown color #625037. On the top piece of the tape we'll fill it with a vertical, linear gradient. Add 3 stops using the gradient editor and edit the middle one with a light brown (#a4804a). After, you can select the two pieces of tape and move the below with the PageDown key.

Step 24

To enhance our box, we'll add a Bitmap texture, I'll use this free rust image found on To create a mask, while keeping the same size and position as our box, we'll use the background shape created in Step 8.

Select the "bg_box" layer, duplicate and rename it "Texture" and move it above the others. Now turn your shape color to white (because lightness changes the alpha of the mask). Bring your rust texture bitmap and place it below your mask shape.

Step 25

Select the rust bitmap and the white mask shape (Object > Mask > Set). You will have a textured shape, now in the layer properties set the blend mode on Screen and Opacity on 25%. You can lock this layer.

Step 26

Create a new layer, call it logo, now we'll add a RSS icon in perspective, so first download and import in your page RSS ICON on the wikipedia. Ungroup the icon (Command + Shift + G), and keep only the RSS symbol. Combine it (Command + K) and turn the color to a bright orange.(#ff7f2a)

Step 27

We're gonna use a Path Effect tool to create perspective. Select your RSS icon and place it on the right face. Duplicate this face, swap the fill and stroke and select a black color for example. Scale it from the middle (Mouse + Command + Shift), this stroke will be used as perspective reference.

Step 28

Select the RSS Icon by opening Path > Path Effect Editor box. Select the envelope deformation and press Add. Ok so, on the first line "Top bend path" select the button Edit on Canvas and align the nodes to the corner of the perspective reference created previously. Repeat for the right, bottom and left edge of the RSS icon.

Step 29

After you can delete your perspective reference, you should obtain something similar to that shown below.

Step 30

Now to simulate a glow effect on the logo, add a 10% blur and duplicate it (Command + D). Put the blur value on 0 and change the color to a lighter orange (#ff7f2a).

Step 31

You can add more details on your carton box, for example if you want to add text don't forget to vectorize (Command + Shift + C) and combine it (Command + K). Afterward, draw a perspective reference where you want to place the text and use the Path Effect Editor with Envelope deformation.

Step 32

Great! our box is ready, let's add some lightning effects. Remember our background shape created in Step 8, we'll use it to create a shadow box (black) and lightning effects (orange). So display only "bg_box layer," select the shape and duplicate it. Select one and erase some nodes to create a shadow in black like the picture below.

Step 33

On the black shadow apply a blur of 5.

Step 34

Select the orange shape, scale it a little from the center and apply a blur of 5. You can adjust the nodes position to simulate a light ray out of the box. Unhide all the layers and you should obtain something like this.

Final Step

Great, last thing, you can add a shadow or halo. Create just an ellipse with a radiant gradient that is gray (light) or white (Halo) to transparent. Duplicate the RSS icon, turn it and apply a gradient (orange to transparency) with blur on 10. It works great on a dark gray background too. Below is the Final result!

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