I was sketching in my notebook today. Lines and shapes and whatever I fancied in the moment. I tried not to think too much. One of the things that I liked from this mindless sketching session was the below. It might not be extremely interesting on paper at the moment, but it could become something with some love.

Since it was interesting visually I decided to vectorize it with the excellent open source Inkscape tool. If you've never done this before, you can just take a photo (or make a scan) like the above and import it into Inkscape. To convert it to a vector, click on the image you just imported into Inkscape. Then, either use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+shift+b or navigate the menu structure like the image below.

Path to "trace bitmap" tool in Inkscape.

You can read more about the trace bitmap tool here, but the general idea is that you'll click on the image you just imported and click "OK." Check the "Live Preview" tickbox below the image if you'd like to see a preview of how your image will look after you click "OK."

You won't notice anything has changed, but if you click on the image again and drag it somewhere else on the screen you'll see two images. One is the bitmap, and the other is the vector. Delete the bitmap, keep the vector. Here's a version of what I saw when I dragged my vector to the left of the original bitmap.

As you can see, there are some elements I'm not interested in keeping in my final drawing (like the page number "18." in the bottom right corner). If you double-click your newly created vector you'll see some handles show up as in the image below. Just click in white space and drag across all of the handles. This will select them and change their visual appearance. Once you've selected the elements you want to remove, just press delete on your keyboard and they'll all disappear – this will keep the other elements of your drawing.

Now you'll have something like the below.

This is still interesting, but there's more that can be done. Color, fill, and some text. I may do a write-up about these functions in a later post, but for now I'll just share some of the things I played with before landing on something I liked.

Simple shapes can be amazing, right? I played around a little bit more with solid background colors and offset pattern beneath the main object.

I've uploaded here if you'd like this in a print, or on t-shirts, mugs, and other odd objects (I'm a fan of the patterned skirt or pants).

Below is a wallpaper you can download if you'd like.

1920x1080 – right click and "save image as..." to download, or click here for a direct link.