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Illustrating Rainbow with Clone tool in Inkscape.

Rainbow and clouds.. by ~rockraikar on deviantART

After some gap, I'm back again. This post is about drawing a rainbow. There are actually two ways you can do it. One is by creating a rainbow color gradient and fill a semi-circle with it. The other is by using the tiled clones tool. Tiled clones happens to be one of the most powerful & interesting tool in Inkscape and here I am trying to draw a rainbow with it..

To start with, select the Spirals tool (F9 key) and draw a semicircle.

Let the settings be:
turns:0.50, divergence:0.00, inner radius:0.00.
Adjust the width, height and stroke width as in the image.
Now select the stroke color as the one with '?' (question mark :paint is undefined) in the stroke paint tab of fill and stroke menu. We need to do this because for changing colors of clones using clone tool it is necessary that the paint is undefined for the object. Now,the arc/semi-circle will be invisible.

Next is the cloning step.
Keeping the arc selected,
Go to edit->clone-->create tiled clones. The following settings needs to be updated:

Symmetry:P1 simple translation.
7 rows and 1 column
Shift: for X all the values are zero. for Y the per row field should be -98.5
Scale: scale X per row is -1.6, scale Y per row is -0.7, all others are zero.
Color: Initial color be red, for per row field change the H value to 13.5. Rest all should be 0.
We wont be using rotation blur & opacity so we can leave them as they are.
Now press create, your rainbow is ready.
Give it a little blur and decrease its opacity.

You have your Rainbow. You can add a few clouds like the ones here. Apply a little blur to these clouds and it will look a bit realistic.
Happy Inkscaping...


  1. citrine said...
    Thanks for the great tutorial!
    Anonymous said...
    I was just wondering if you have any advice for someone who just downloaded inkscape and is planning on making svg's from bmps? I can't seem to find any instructions on how to do this, easily. I don't know a lot about drawing programs, I have some but the manuals are always assuming I know what they are talking about, and I don't. I would appreciate any help or advice you can give me on where to start and where to find some simple directions to follow.

    rockraikar said...
    Hi jen,
    If you have just downloaded Inkscape, the first thing I would advice is go through the tutorials in the Help menu to make yourself comfortable with the interface & tools(even I learnt the same way). Then if you want more you can go through tutorials at . Screencast of inkscape tutorials are present at

    A basic thing you need to understand is the difference between svg file and bmp files. svg is a type of image called as vector image and bmp is of type raster image. You can get a simple idea about them here.(
    Now if you have bmp files and want to convert it to svg, you can use the 'trace bitmap' functionality in the path menu of Inkscape. Drag .bmp file into Inkscape window. With the image selected, go to menu PATH->TRACE BITMAP. Select the COLORS radio button and then UPDATE. Adjust the number of SCANS as required and press OK. You will have a SVG (vector representation) of your bmp (raster) file.
    Anonymous said...

    Unfortunatly I wan't sucessful in trying to make the rainbow... this what the inkscape returned:

    dhat did I do wrong?
    Anonymous said...
    Hi, I'm back!

    This is my last try:

    Now I adjusted the width and height, but the rainbow still doesn't look like the one you've created...
    Tonya said...
    My rainbow comes out with the middle filled with a magenta color. I've done it several times, gone over the settings and it still does it. I open it in gimp and I can remove the extra color ok but dang, I'd sure like to have it come out right.

    Neat tutorial. Thank you.
    creativemachine said...
    I tried everything that the tutorial said, but my 7 tiled beams have gaps between them. How do I fix this?

    Thanks for the help, and great tutorial :)
    creativemachine said...
    ok nevermind, i figured out the problem...

    Thanks anyway :) I'll definitely be trying more of these in the future :)

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    Amber said...
    Hi there,
    Thanks a lot for the tuturial; it's exactly what I was looking for. However, I followed all the steps and only came out with 2 layered tiles, the original red and then a blurred pink-ish one.
    Any suggestions?
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    These are good points there. I have searched the topic and have seen people will go with your blog.
    Ahshanul -Shuvo said...
    Annisa Walda said...
    sumit arefin said...
    Do you love to play with gradients. If yes me too.

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    Peter Thompson said...
    A good tutorial. Thank you for sharing. Brevity sister of talent . I would call this tutorial just so :) Now I will do my rainbow. Until that time, I downloaded here There I found a cool rainbow. If you are too lazy to do it myself - I advise you to try.
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