Creating an Autumn Tree Pattern in Inkscape


In this tutorial, you will be creating an easy autumn tree pattern in Inkscape. Similar to Creating a Meteor in Inkscape, you will mostly work with the Rectangle and Ellipse tools. However, you will also be introduced to Create Tiled Clones, which allows you to create and customize repeating patterns. In fact, the whole process is very easy, and shouldn’t more than an hour, so let’s get started! Credits to Sharon Milne for coming up with the original tutorial.

Recently I went on a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Loads of mountains, hills, and trees. In the middle of autumn (or “fall”, depending on your place in the world), the leaves are changing… at different rates, different colours, and it’s utterly beautiful. This tutorial is inspired by this.

First, let’s create the basic tree shape, which is made up of a circle and rectangle. Select the Ellipse tool and hold down CTRL before dragging your cursor outwards to create a circle. For the rectangle, you’re free to play around with the width and height. However, try not to make it overly thick. Something like this should suffice:

Creating a Circle and Rectangle

Next, you want to align the shapes so they come together to look like a tree. Open up the Align and Distribution dialog by pressing SHIFT + CTRL + A, select both objects with the Select tool, and Center on Vertical Axis. You will notice that the circle and rectangle are now centered relative to each other. You can further shift the rectangle vertically using the ↑ and ↓ arrow keys. Once you’re satisfied with the overall shape, open the Fill and Stroke dialog with SHIFT + CTRL + F, and change the stroke color (RGBA) to 534741FF. For the stroke width, you want something that isn’t too thick or thin, like so:

Creating the Basic Tree Shape

Now that you have the basic tree shape down, it’s time to create the other two shapes. Select the original shape, press CTRL + D to duplicate it twice, and shift them to the right and left using the ← and → arrow keys.

Duplicating the Tree Shape

For the second tree shape, simply select the circle and drag the top handle upwards to create an oval. Take note, the stroke increases when you scale a shape, so you will need to change the stroke width back to whatever you have set before.

Creating the Second Tree Shape

The third tree shape is a bit more complex, but not by much. Select the circle, go to the Path menu and choose Object to Path. You will see that the circle has been converted into paths, with 4 nodes at each of its ‘sides’. Use the Node tool to select the nodes on the left and right ‘sides’ of the circle (remember to hold down SHIFT to select multiple nodes), before bringing them down using the ↓ arrow key. Once done, select the top node and move it upwards using the ↑ arrow key. The result should look like this:

Converting the Shapes to Nodes

Shifting the Nodes

Let’s duplicate the three shapes so you get six shapes in total and fill them in with colors. Select all the trunks, go to the Fill and Stroke dialog, and enter 998675FF as the RGBA. As for the tree colors, starting from left to right, they are F15a24FF (burnt orange), FBB03BFF (pale orange), FCEE21FF (yellow), D9E021FF (yellow-green), 8CC63FF (pea green) and 39B54AFF (lush green).

Adding Colors

If you haven’t done so, group the circle and rectangle for each tree shape together by selecting them and pressing CTRL + G. Now, you can create a tile by moving the shapes around with the Select tool; Page Up and Page Down allows you to move a shape above or below another. You’re free to position the trees however you want, but for the purpose of this tutorial, our tile will be similar to the reference:

Creating a Tile

You might notice the dots scattered through the pattern to represent grass. Let’s add them into the tile. Create a circle with the Ellipse tool and fill it in with 534741FF. Next, duplicate it twice by pressing CTRL + D. Shift the duplicated circles to the right with the → arrow key until each of them is around a width apart. Select all of them, go to the Align and Distribution dialog, and Make Horizontal Gaps Between Objects Equal. Once done, group them together using CTRL + G.

Creating the Dots

Scale the grouped circles down to an appropriate size using the Select tool (don’t forget to hold down SHIFT to keep the aspect ratio), before duplicating and placing them at both sides of each tree. You also have to align them to the base of the tree, and distribute them evenly like so:

Positioning the Dots

Finally, group everything together, go to the Edit menu, and Clone > Create Tiled Clones. You will see the Create Tiled Clones dialog come up on the right of the interface. For now, we’ll just be going with a pattern that has 2 rows and 2 columns, but it’s recommended that you experiment with the various options so you will be able to create the perfect pattern for every project.

Create Tiled Clones

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