Inkscape vector program--what should I know?

I’ve been looking for vector illustration software for a while now, and I’d really like to find a program cheaper than Illustrator. So far, the best thing I’ve found is Inkscape, a free open-source program that seems to have the same capabilities, but I’m a little worried about downloading it virtually sight unseen. Has anyone here used it? If so, are there any drawbacks (or advantages) of the program I should know about? If you don’t like it, are there any other cheaper Illustrator-alternatives you’d recommend?

Cheaper than free? No such thing.

I have tried Inkscape a few times, but I am not an artist or trained graphics designer. I do not know how it compares to Illustrator.

Having said all that, I was able to do what I needed to do in a matter of hours. I was designing a logo for a small business, and was able to do just that.

When I was researching free graphics software, the two names that keep cropping up are GIMP and Inkscape.

There is no harm in downloading it and giving it a try. Yes, I thought it had a bit of a learning curve, but then, I had never used a vector-based graphics program before. I would probably have had the same learning curve with Illustrator. From what I have seen, if you know Illustrator, then the basics of Inkscape will be familiar, and you will be further along in a short amount of time than someone who is struggling to learn the concepts of vector-based drawing.

I am not any better with Inkscape because I haven’t had a need to use it.

I don’t know how good it is in producing printed matter, though. It may not do color-separated (CMYK) output files, so that is something you may need to consider. (For example, GIMP is great for doing screen-based graphics, but I don’t believe it can produce a printer-ready poster. At least, I know I can’t with my current version. Inkscape may have a similar limitation.)

I’ve used Inkscape a lot, and I really like it. I’ve never used Illustrator, so I can’t compare it to that, but judging it purely as an object-based vector-based image creation and drawing tool. I think it’s fantastic - and you have nothing to lose by trying it.

(free) Alternatives (each with its own slant) include:
Xara Extreme

My wife has become a wiz at Inkscape, and she had no experience at all with any graphics programs at all. It really is that easy.

She uses it to produce designs for her cutting machine (for cards, scrapbooks etc) and does some pretty complex stuff. Inkscape is the biz.


I’ve used it too. I’m a technical writer, and no great shakes at vector illustration (I deal mostly in raster graphics, myself.) However, at times I need to modify or open vector graphics created by my marketing co-workers, but don’t need the expensive license for Illustrator. Inkscape does everything I need it to, and more.

I don’t know Illustrator at all, and am pretty novice with Inkscape. That said, I’ve found it a great little program for my needs. The help could be more detailed, however. But maybe that’s just because I am such a novice; experienced Illustrator users or vector graphic designers might not need so much hand-holding.

The one feature I missed in Inkscape was the ability to do stamps. Everything else works fine.