eBook Cover Tutorial using Inkscape

How to Create an eBook Cover with Inkscape

This is a companion piece to How to Create an eBook Cover with GIMP.  In this tutorial we’ll create the same eBook cover, but as the title implies we’ll use Inkscape to produce it.  Since I used layers in the GIMP tutorial, I will also use layers here as well.

Inkscape eBook Cover Sample

If you don’t have Inkscape installed, you can download it at http://inkscape.org/download/ and select the installer for your operating system.

Shaper of StoneBefore we get started, I want to mention that the example below is a template. The images and colors were used to make it easy to distinguish the different components of the cover.  It is not meant to be an example of picking color and image combinations that work for your genre.  My novels, Shaper of Stone and Shaper of Air, both used this template for the cover design.

When you start Inkscape, it will normally start with a blank document.  If not, you can create a new, blank page by selecting File > New > pick default.  Don’t worry about the size, we’ll change that later.

Inkscape - Empty Image

To change the size select File > Document Preferences. Set the width to 1563 and height 2500.  There is no ok button. Close the window and the page will be resized.

 Inkscape Document Properties

We are going to add a layer to the image.  This layer will hold the picture of the statue.  Select Layer > Add a Layer.  In the window that comes up, enter “Statue” as the Layer Name and set the Position to “Above Current.”


You can download the image of the Statue above for the next part.  The statue is going to make up the center of the ebook cover.

Be sure the statue layer is active, then import an image. Select File > Import Image, then select the image you want to import. You’ll be asked if you want to link or embed the image. Linked images are useful if you want to edit the image separately, but if you are using a stock image you are going to be ok with embed. When in doubt use embed.

The image will have some dark arrows around it. When you see those arrows, you can click on the image and position it on the page. You should do that now to center the image. If you don’t see the arrows, you will need to select the “Select and Transform Object” tool, which is a black arrow at the top of the tool bar on the left side of the screen.

 Inkscape with Imported Statue



You can click on the eye that is next to the layer pull down list you’ll toggle off/on the display of that layer.

Now we are going to add the text for the title and for the author.

With the Statue layer active, select Layer >Add a Layer and create a new layer called “Title” above the current layer.

Click on the “Create and Edit Text Objects” from the left tool bar. It looks like a capital A. Now draw a rectangle at the top of the page where you want the title to appear by left clicking in one corner and dragging to the opposite corner. When you let go of the mouse button, you can type your title in the window. I typed “The Title”.

To change the font and size, click on the font family icon on the right tool bar. It looks like a capital T. Change the font size to 200 and select the center icon from the layout area. Press apply to make the change, then close to get rid of the window.

Repeat the same steps for the author’s name.


Inkscape - eBook Cover with Image and Text

We can add a background effect now.

First, I created a new layer right above Layer 1, and I called it Effects. Then I used the rectangle tool to draw a box that filled the entire page. The rectangle tool looks like a square on the left side tool bar. The rectangle will fill with the current color. I selected the Yellow from the color picker at the bottom of the screen.

With the yellow background in place, I selected Filters > Materials > Cracked Lava. That created a pattern across the background.

Inkscape eBook Cover with Background Texture


The lines in the background make the text a little hard to read. To deal with that we’ll add a scroll background behind the text.


We’ll handle the title first. Begin by select the Title Layer in the layer pull down list, then select Layer>Add A Layer. Set the Layer Name to “Title Scroll” and set the position to “Below Current.”

Now that we have a Title Scroll layer, we can add the scroll image. Select File > Import then select your image and embed it.  You can download the scroll image above for this step.

Drag the scroll so that it is over the title. If you got the layers in the right place, the scroll will appear under the title, but above the effects layer.

To resize the scroll, just click and drag on one of the arrows along the side.

Repeat the same steps for the Author.

When you are done, it should look something like the image below.


Inkscape Finished eBook Cover


You will want to save your work. Select File > Save. If it is the first time you are saving, you’ll notice that it saves with an svg extension.

Amazon recommends that ebook covers be submitted as jpgs. Inkscape doesn’t seem to support this, but you can save as a png and convert it to a jpg later. To create the png, select file > export bitmap > Use the browse button to specify the file name.



Statue Of A Roman Soldier by Vera Kratochvil

parchment-background-or-border by Gerald_G at openclipart.org

Other Links

How to design a book cover if you are not a designer – A great article on getting the design right.