2 min read

Polishing a game character in Inkscape

This is a tutorial split over two videos on polishing a game character in Inkscape quickly and easily. Refining the head and working in the body, legs, and arms.

Refining the head

The first video is about refining a game character in Inkscape. In this tutorial, I will be revisiting the character from an older tutorial on character animation. The initial caveman was lacking a bit of detail and depth. With advances in Inkscape [the original design is dating back to 2014] it is now possible to quickly and easily add a layer of polish to your older designs.

Tools used to refine the character design

I am mainly working with blur on the existing shapes. The blend modes are adjusted for shading. I prefer a ‘Multiply’ with opacity to a ‘Normal’ for shadows. Try and avoid plain black and white for your shading. It easily ends up looking dead. A rich dark brown or a deep purple works just as well. Have a go and play with the colours that work best for you. Detail doesn’t have to be overly complex. A lot of the time simple shapes [circles, ellipses, diamond shapes, etc.] work fine. Placing objects in clipping groups helps constrain the elements inside, especially when using effects like a blur.
Recycle as much of the art as possible! I duplicate and modify rather than create from scratch.  It helps speed up the creation process a lot.


Polishing the body

This is the 2nd video on polishing a game character in Inkscape. Part 1 covered the head and the general approach. In this video, I will continue working on the character’s body, legs, and arms.  The caveman was first created in an old [now obsolete] tutorial on character animation. The design was nice but missing detail and depth. In the meantime [2014 to now] Inkscape has constantly evolved and improved. It is now possible to quickly and easily add a layer of polish using clipping groups, blurred shapes, and work with layer blend modes.

I hope you had as much fun with the video as I did [once I overcame some technical issues in Inkscape that put a spanner in the works while recording]. Give it a try, play around with clipping groups [they are awesome], and see where it leads.

Latest Jobs

Studio Pixanoh LLC

Los Angeles, California
Combat Designer


Playa Vista, California or Vancouver, BC
AI Engineer


Lead Level Designer (South Park)

Remedy Entertainment

Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland
Rigging Artist
More Jobs   


Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter


Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more