Creating a Flower using Clones in Inkscape
This quick tutorial on creating flowers using clones was initial written for Affinity Designer. The differences are big enough to warrant a ‘re-write’ to explain the process in Inkscape. When you do ‘simple’ flower shapes, you usually want a quick and easy way. In Inkscape the use of clones offers both – ease and speed.
Here we go…
For the flower petal, begin with an ellipse, convert it to a curve, and add two more nodes on either side of the bottom node. Move that node up, and sharpen the angles.
Move the pivot point to the bottom centre and make the petal a symbol.
Select the design and group the elements [CTRL+G]. Create a clone [Alt+D] [Edit/ Clone/ Create Clone]. Rotate the clone to fill the shape.
Seeing it’s one ‘source’ and four clones, altering the source will change the clones as well.
Clone is not limited to one shape, you create a group of shapes and clone the group – e.g. an inner shape and a bit of blurred highlight. Adjust the pivot point of the group and clone it. Add a drop shadow after you grouped all petal shapes.
If you add the drop shadow to the symbol, the shadows would overlap the symbols below.
The fact that all elements get updated when the source gets altered poses an issue when you want variations in the same illustration
If you duplicate the design the source will remain the source of the initial version. In this case, the big yellow flower, while the top of the small yellow is no longer controlling the petals of that flower. You would have to start the process with the pink petal again [clone and rotate].
You can however do simple colour variations by assigning colour filters to the grouped flower [e.g. Filters/Color/Color Shift].
To sum it up…
There are a few pitfalls with the clones. I mentioned a few like the duplicate being controlled by the original shape [yet leaving the copy of the source unchanged], the colour effect on the flowers [changing some petals twice], the drop shadow on the group vs on the elements. I am sure there are a bunch more… but it’s a fun feature to play around with and create something nice and colourful with ease.
Regarding the colors of the clones being linked to that of the original, before cloning, you can define your original filling and border colors as “Undefined”.
To make more than one clone, is not it better to use the clone tiling tool?