Inkscape Web Comic Tutorial: Bordering an Image

There are a few ways to do borders around comic panels in Inkscape. This tutorial looks at placing a border around a image. More goes into a page of panels, but knowing how to handle a single panel alone will be required before putting a whole page together.

First things first, find an image to use. Open Inkscape, then import the image (Ctrl+I). I’ve selected a scene from Little Nemo.

Name the only layer “Panel”. (Ctrl+Shift+L opens the layers area.) Add a new layer, and name it “Border”.

On the “Border” layer, use the rectangles and squares tool from the toolbar on the left to draw a rectangle around the image. You don’t need to worry about framing it perfectly. (Adjust the stroke width at this time if desired.)

The upper top toolbar has an icon with a closed lock on it. With the rectangle still selected, click on that icon to clone the rectangle. Move the clone rectangle to the Panel layer by clicking on the “Layer” menu, then “Move Selection to Layer Below”, or press Shift+PgDn.

Click on the eye icon next to the “Border” layer to hide the layer. Select the image and rectangle on the “Panel” layer, then click on “Object”, “Clip”, “Set”. This will hide everything from the imported image that is not inside the rectangle.

Unhide the “Border” layer by clicking on the eye icon. Now comes the interesting part. When you resize the rectangle, its clone (used to clip the imported image) will resize as well. Take this opportunity to resize the border to frame the image how you want it. For my image, I want only King Morpheus and Nemo, so I’ll pull in the right side to hide Princess Camille.

To resize both the border and the image, simply select both items, then resize them. If you want to rotate the image, you’ll have to group the border and image first. Note that this will put them on the same layer. I like to group them, anyways, simply to keep them together.

Here’s a sample of the image grouped, rotated, and stretched out of proportion:

Finish up by adding a speech balloon, and your one panel comic is finished! Simply “File”, “Export”, “Drawing”, and click on “Export”.

That’s enough for this tutorial.

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