The folks over at Packt Publishing noticed that I sling some Inkscape tutorials around here, and contacted me asking if I'd be interested in reviewing an Inkscape book. They flipped me a free ebook copy for review purposes. Well, sure, I'm game!
Now, I'm a salty veteran at Inkscape. It's been one of the main tools in my graphics arsenal almost since the first release. Not only have I drawn hobby-level artwork in Inkscape, but I've also used it in professional-level graphic design in my freelance career whenever somebody needs an icon set or whatnot. So it's about time I read the full guide, isn't it?
Of course, one catch with reading about Inkscape is that I invariably open Inkscape while I'm reading about it, and then I check out features described in the guide to see how a new user would follow along, and then I end up playing with Inkscape, because its design is so good that you just can't resist idle doodling.
So this review got a bit delayed...
Now, the real test of a software guide is, did I learn anything from it? And I did pick up a couple of tricks I didn't know about before. Inkscape Beginner's Guide is very good at providing clear, step-by-step instructions and pacing everything so that even the rawest new user can follow along.
An example of pacing:
By launching through a tutorial and then explaining afterwards what the point was, it helps the user to retain the information. This is an example of one of those cognitive theories you read about, though I'm not up to Wiki-fishing for it aat the moment.
The emphasis is on "beginner" here, so even some of the advanced tools aren't addressed in favor of being the gentlest possible introduction. The guide also keeps the technobabble to a minimum in a fresh, clear writing style that only explains what's absolutely necessary. It also provides a few nice examples for laying out a postcard, web page, brochure, and other practical applications for office-level work. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for the new user.
For myself, I'd love to see an advanced guide. Perhaps someday, I will be the person to write it.