How to make a long shadow, flat icon using Gimp!

Flat icons are everywhere! I can see 15 of them on my desktop alone! And now I’m going to show you how to make one in Linux.

First launch Gimp. If you don’t have it installed already on Ubuntu just type in:

sudo apt-get install gimp

Once you have Gimp installed and have it open we will need the following windows:

  • Layers
  • Toolbox
  • Tool options
  • Colors

To add new windows go to Windows>>>Dockable Dialogs in the menu.

Okay, so now we have our setup like the picture below and we need to make a new document for the icon.

Blank gimp layout

To make a new document go to File>>New.

Make the width and height both 750 pixels – we can scale it down later. And click OK.

Next take the rectangle tool from the toolbox. Then put your mouse on the corner of the white square and drag it diagonally to the opposite corner. Next, in the tool options window click on rounded corners. Then set the radius slider to 100.

Now pick the paint bucket tool from the toolbox.

Next using the colors window, pick a color. For this demonstration, I will use blue. Once you have a color picked, and you have selected the paint bucket tool, just click on the rounded rectangle.

Gimp

The next step is to find a symbol that is free to use. One of my favorite places to look is Google’s material design icon library or materialdesignicons.com and combine a few. I’m going to make an icon of a computer connected to WIFI so I’m going to go the material design library and find a few symbols.

Now that I have my icons, it’s time to put it all together! Go back to Gimp and under File go to ‘Open As Layers’. Then select the symbol you downloaded.

Gimp

Now in the layer window right click on the layer that was just created (it’s called whatever the image name was) and click scale layer. And type in whatever size you feel appropriate. Do the same thing on another layer if you uploaded multiple symbols.

Gimp

Now it’s time for the long shadow! We must take the lasso select tool from the toolbox and make a tracing of part of the image. Refer to the image below.

Gimp

Zoom in onto the picture, there are more lines than you think

To select an area (as shown above) click on the corner of the symbol (in mine it is the yellow mark). But remember to take a look at the ruler on top and remember the position (in mine it is 3 lines past 500). Now move your mouse off of the symbol but keep it inline with the edge of the icon, then click. Next, move your mouse to under the first mark or to the coordinate that we noted earlier and click. Now move your mouse over to the other corner of the icon and click. Then trace the edge of the drawing by making these straight segments by clicking. But remember not to do it fully! Once you reach the first mark, click on it. Now take the paint bucket tool, select black in the color window and in the tool options window and make the opacity slider 35. Next, click on the selected area. And voila! You’ve made a long shadow flat icon!

Bonus

To make the shadow fade into the background, undo the last step and take the blend tool, making sure that the opacity is set to anywhere from 30-35, and press and hold from the bottom right corner of the symbol to the bottom right corner of the icon.