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Skencil, a vector drawing program

Latest news

2010-10-31: Skencil 1.0alpha: project revitalization together with sK1 team.
2006-03-28: Skencil mailinglists migrated to
2006-03-08: Debian Sarge backport available
2006-02-18: Daniel Baumann official Debian Maintainer
2006-01-03: New Softproof plugin (colour management); updated Debian packages and screenshots
2005-10-30: New Gallery Image: Anna04
2005-09-20: Build notes for Mac OS X
2005-07-12: New Binaries and request for packaging help
2005-06-19: New stable version, Skencil 0.6.17
2005-03-10: Experimental binary packages for 0.6.17pre3
2005-01-20: Waratah plant drawing new in gallery
2004-12-06: German Manual updated

More news...

Introduction to Skencil

Skencil is a Free Software interactive vector drawing appliction. Known to run on GNU/Linux and other UNIX-compatible systems, it is a flexible and powerful tool for illustrations, diagrams and other purposes.

A somewhat unique (for a drawing program) feature of Skencil is that it is implemented almost completely in a very high-level, interpreted language, Python. Python is powerful, object-oriented and yet easy to use.

Just a few highlights about Skencil's features

  • Bézier Curves
  • Transformed text and images
  • Bézier curves, rectangles and ellipses can be used as guides
  • Gradient fills
  • Blend groups
  • Writes EPS files
  • Text along a path
  • many more...


The current stable release is 0.6.17. Skencil is quite usable already, even for production use, in my opinion. The low version number is mainly due to lack of some important features such as good text support.

The 0.6.x series will likely see minor improvements over time, but no major changes to the core. There may be more improvements in the import and export filters, though.

Real development takes place in the unstable 0.7.x developer series. Among the major goals of this series is a port to GTK+, better text support and a multi document interface.

The 0.7.x series of Skencil also supports more operating systems (including Microsoft Windows) because GTK+ is ported to many platforms.


In addition to the standard features (rectangles, ellipses, curves, text etc.) that you expect from a vector drawing program, Skencil also has some more advanced features like possibility to bend text along a path. See the features page for a comprehensive list of features.


Apart from the sources of Skencil, you need some additional software. See the download page for details on what software and where you can get it.

For Skencil to work properly with transformed text, you also need an X-server capable of scaling and transforming fonts. (XFree86 does support this. Otherwise, you need X11R6 as far as I know).

Skencil currently supports only TrueColor visuals with depths of 15, 16, 24 or 32 bits and 8-bit PseudoColor visuals.

Contact & Mailing list

There's a mailing list for all Skencil-related topics. You can subscribe to it via the web-interface at or by sending a mail with the word subscribe in the subject to

You can also contact me directly, although I'd prefer to discuss things on the mailing list.

If you want to report bugs, please have a look at the bug tracker first.

New versions are announced on the mailing list, on the SourceForge Skencil page and on freshmeat.


Skencil itself is published under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License (LGPL). Some of the code distributed with Skencil is not directly part of Skencil and is distributed under a Python-style license.

I've put it under the LGPL, because many parts of Skencil can be used as a library (and are used by Skencil that way), and the LGPL is less restrictive than the normal GNU General Public License when it comes to distributing an LGPL'ed library with software covered by a different license.