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Dripping Blood Text Tutorial in Inkscape

Use Inkscape to Make Dripping Blood Text for Halloween


This Inkscape dripping blood text tutorial is ideal for Halloween projects. The technique can also be easily adapted to produce the effect of dripping wet paint text for occasions when you want the appearance of graffiti.

Being a vector-based application, the technique for producing this effect in Inkscape is quite different to the dripping blood text tutorials for GIMP and Paint.NET.

1. Add Some Text

Text in an Inkscape document

When you launch Inkscape, by default it opens a new blank document that you can insert text into.

Select the Text tool from the Toolbar and click on the page to place the cursor and type in some text. You can change to a suitable font and re-size the text using the two drop downs in the tool options bar above the document window. You can change the color by clicking on the color swatch below the document window.

2. Convert the Text to Path

Text converted to separate paths

At this stage the text is editable, but the next step will change that, so ensure that there aren't any spelling errors.

Now go to Path > Object to Path to convert the text to paths, followed by going to Object > Ungroup. This separates all of the letters into individual paths and, if you want, you can move and rotate letters now. Before continuing, it will make things easier if you zoom in close on the first letter that you are going to work on. Go to View > Zoom > Zoom In and repeat that a few times if necessary, using the scroll bars to the right and below to focus on a single letter.

3. Add New Nodes

New nodes added to a path

This step uses the Edit paths by nodes tool that is the second tool in the Toolbar, so click on it now. Each drip requires three closely spaced nodes on the lower outline of a letter and you can either add three new nodes or add two around an existing node.

I chose to add a new node either side of an existing node on the bottom of the letter S. To add a node, just place the cursor on the outline of the letter and double-click. If you can't see new nodes clearly, just click on the page away from any of the letters.

4. Drag Down a Drip

One node is repositioned

Still using the Edit paths by nodes tool, we can start to produce our first piece of dripping blood.

Click on the center one of the three closely placed nodes and drag it downwards. This should result in a fine spike sticking out of the bottom of the letter.

5. Add the Blood Drop Nodes

New nodes added to the spike

The spike we just added will form a run of blood and we're going to add a blood drop to the end of it now.

Firstly double-click on one edge of the spike, a little way above the tip, to add a new node. Then add another new node to the other edge roughly in line with the first.

6. Form the Blood Drop

Blood drop is formed

We can now form the blood drop, though you may find it easier to zoom in even closer for this step.

Click on the node at the point of the spike and then click on the Make selected nodes symmetric button in the tool options bar – it's highlighted in the screenshot, if you click on the thumbnail. You should now see two small circular grab handles have appeared slightly alongside the selected node. If you click on one of these and drag, you will see that you form the shape of a blood drop on the end of the spike. You can adjust the position of any of the nodes at this point to further refine the appearance of the blood drop.

7. Add More Blood Drops

Blood drops added to all letters

You can now repeat the previous step to add blood drops to all of the letters.

8. Draw Start of a Highlight

A rough line is drawn on a blood drop

Once you have added blood drops to all of the letters as desired, you can enhance the effect by adding highlights to the blood drops.

Zoom in on one of the blood drops and select the Draw freehand lines tool from the Toolbar. Now draw a short line that roughly follows the shape the drop, but inside the outline. If you click on the thumbnail, you'll see that this can be very rough.

Now go to Object > Fill and Stroke to open the Fill and Stroke palette.

9. Enhance and Repeat the Highlight

Highlight is produced on a blood drop

The line you just drew can now be made to look like a highlight using the Fill and Stroke palette.

Ensuring the line is still selected, click on the Stroke style tab and set the Cap to Round Cap. You may also want to change the Width, depending on the size of your blood drops – I increased the Width to two pixels. Now click the Stroke paint tab and in the RGBA entry box, type in ffffffff to make the line solid white. Finally, drag the Blur slider to the right until the line is suitably softened.

You can repeat this step on all of the other blood drops.

10. Conclusion

The finished piece

This is a pretty simple technique for producing dripping blood text suitable for use in all sorts of Halloween projects and is ideal for new users of Inkscape. The great advantage of producing this effect in Inkscape, rather than a pixel-based image editor like GIMP or Paint.NET, is that the dripping blood text can be re-sized to any size without any loss of image quality.

Remember that this technique be easily adapted to give the effect of dripping painted text, like simple graffiti.

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