Drawing Mac look-alike clock in Inkscape

Drawing Mac look-alike clock in Inkscape

This is a rather simple tutorial by Maxim Grafskiy on drawing a stunning Mac-like clock in Inkscape using boolean path operations and gradient fills for nice smooth highlights.

This tutorial could be of interest for both novice and experienced Inkscape users. Basic Inkscape skills (objects manipulations, using Gradient editor) are required. Here is an example of a result:

Examples of finished clock pictures

And now let's do it.

1) Draw a circle (F5), keeping Ctrl pressed to keep 1:1 ratio. Open the Fill and Stroke dialog and use settings from the illustration below. You can tweak the gradient's angle using interactive gradient editor (Ctrl+F1).

Colors of the base gradient

2) Duplicate this object (Ctrl+D), decrease its size a little and rotate to 180° clockwise (use Object > Rotate to 90° twice or press Ctrl+]).

Second gradient

3) Duplicate the latter object and slightly decrease its size. Now set its fill to white. Base for a clock-face is ready now.

Another circle

4) Now use a radial fill for the clock-face using values from the illustration below:

Radial fill for the clock-face

5) Now start filling the clock face with circles representing hour marks. Start with a single solid white circle. Double-click it to reveal object's rotation center cross mark. Drag this mark to the center of the clock-face  and duplicate it.

Circles representing hour marks

Fire up Object > Transform (Ctrl+Shift+M) dialog, switch to Rotate tab and set the value to 30 degrees.


Repeat until you have 12 circles.

Finishing hour marks

7) Now draw an hour hand. For this draw a rectangle ans slightly round its corners. Duplicate this rectangle, make it a little smaller and place in the center of a bigger rectangle. Select both objects and use Path > Difference (Ctrl+-) to subtract one rectangle from another. (Actually you can just use a rectangle without a fill, but practicing boolean operations with paths will do you good — editor)

Drawing hour hand

8) Add a circle to the center of the clock-face and create other hands. Point them in different directions:

Adding circle to the center and other hands

9) Now let's add some flares to make the clock look more realistic. For this you need to create two duplicates. The first one is a duplicate of the clock-face base object (I specifically made one ofthe clock-face object larger than the other, if you noticed), and the second one is clock-face. Here is how you place them:

Adding flare through duplicates

10) Now select first two objects and use Path > Difference (Ctrl+-) again. Same to the second pair of objects. Here is what you should have:

Using difference to create flare objects

11) Overlay the existing clock picture with these two objects, remove their stroke and temporarily fill them with white color.

Overlay with flare objects

12) Create a linear gradient fill for these objects. Use the illustration below for reference. Now rotate the gradient the way you like using Gradient Fill Tool.

Gradient for the upper highlight

Now that you have this cool clock, you can add some figures to it.

Finished clock

P.S. This kind of clocks I learnt to draw using Corel DRAW after stumbling upon a tutorial at Demiart.ru. That's when I got interested in vector graphics. And then I thought: do I really have to use pirated version of CorelDRAW or buy it to accomplish such a task? As it turned out, no — I don't have to. Doing the same in Inkscape wasn't any more difficult than in Corel DRAW.

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Leave a comment
  1. Very clear and concise tutorial. Complete Inkscape novice and I created an awesome looking clock within an hour!

  2. Thanks a lot for this amazing tutorial, learning inkscape these days. So really useful.

  3. I`m hooked.

  4. Kevin E. Krueger 25 July 2012 at 1:39 am

    Thank you for an easy-to-follow and fun tutorial. One word; Some measurements in either points or pixels would be useful. I’ll look for follow-up offerings! Take care!

  5. Awesome !

  6. Amazing tutorial. Thanks.

    I am beginning with Inkscape and it has come really handy tutorial for me.

  7. Thanks a lot , very helpful tutorial and easy to follow

  8. All the images in this article seem to be broken at the moment. Tried in couple of browsers over couple of days.

  9. Alexandre Prokoudine 13 April 2016 at 6:08 pm

    @Tomas, sorry about that! I’ve just fixed it.

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