Rings of Saturn

So the urge to write the tutorial (and have some fun) wins... and I treat myself to a quick tutorial rather than reply a big backlog of emails (which sadly will have to happen later)... 

The standard beginning of my tutorial seems to be a circle - such a versatile little thing - and then I duplicate and transform it. I am just not sure if I mentioned some quick way to do the duplicate and keep it in place. Duplicate a shape (CTRL-D). Hold CTRL and SHIFT while scaling the object - the scale will keep the proportions and scale based on the pivot point. (Holding just CTRL keeps the proportions and scales based on the lower left corner.)

Let's get started with a simple version of a Saturn style planet with a simple one shape ring around it.

I added the pattern of the planet (bunch of squashed and slightly differently shaded circles) and the shadow shape (one circle with another circle cutting out the sickle shape via a Path/ Difference) to a mask. I did the same with the shadow of the planet on the ring. 

Next up... the same thing with more elaborate rings. Let's face it... it's the same thing... You just take the intial ('unsquashed' ring) and make it more complex by combining several rings of increasing sizes into one object...

You can add a more realistic look by adding a circular gradient and more detail patterns to the planet. Breaking the rings apart (Path/Break Apart (SHIFT+CTRL+K)) allows you to assign different colours to different rings and vary the opacity to the rings.  I added some small objects and their shadows on the rings for a bit of detail. 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did and give it a try... as usual it's a lot easier than it looks once you worked out how to do it. 

Get the source art (svg file) of this tutorial for
USD 5.00


Chris Hildenbrand

2D game artist, pixelpusher, vector bender, face turner for over thirty years. I worked on more games than I can remember... The most recent release is "Super Crossbar Challenge" for iOS (Android coming soon) with Shattered Box, Fredbear Games and PlayPlayFun.


  1. Replies
    1. yes... I can...

  2. I just discovered your blog and I just want to thank you for all the work you did. As a game developer making my own graphics I know I will learn a lot with all your posts and examples. I'm a very late adopter of Inkscape and I really found of it. Thank you again !!

  3. Thank you so much for doing what you are doing. I've been searching for a site like this for a long time. Your artwork is awesome.

  4. First I eant to say your tutorials are great! Thank you. I also have a question with inkscape. I design art for gamesalad and i was wondering how you make the background of your art transparent. Thanks

    1. I tried to explain it here:

      Basically it's a combination of EXPORTING TO BITMAP as a .png file and saving as SELECTION with the frame (if you use one e.g. to keep sizes consistent)having no fill colour.

  5. Thanks for the nice tutorial.

  6. isn't that SVG for sale, i working on a space ship games, and will be a good start for the backgrounds

  7. Hi,

    I'm a real noob when it comes to this program and graphics in general. I got as far as duplicating and converting it to a path. My problem is I only see three of those handles to resize with and I cannot for the life of me manipulate it with just the three handles. (Wish I could post a pic to explain better).

  8. Love the tutorial! Totally new to Inkscape so this has been really helpful.

    Quick question - how do you create the shading/different coloured lines across the planet?

    1. I usually pick a darker and a lighter colour and use a the opacity / alpha to control the level of shading. Try to stay away from pure white and black for shading. Adding a colour to the shader element makes it a lot more vibrant and lively. Black and white as shaders tend to make it dirty or pale.

      This quick tutorial might be helpful: