One of the best ways to make a pattern is to draw it by hand. A problem that arises with that technique is that it is hard to reproduce and often times not nearly as clear as you would like it. One solution we often use is converting a hand drawn image into Inkscape.
This can easily be achieved by either scanning an image into your computer or taking a picture with a camera and transferring it to your computer. Both work equally well and will allow you to trace the original image, tweak it and export it as refined image / pattern that will be easily replicated.
Here is a short video we put together to show you just how easy it is.
Transcript from Inkscape video (edited to be marginally readable)
Alright guys, so this is another inkscape tutorial and this time I want to show you how we take a drawing, something I draw on paper, scan it into paint.net and then transfer to inkscape to make a line art pattern that we’ll use in usually a woodworking project.
So if you don’t have a scanner you can always take a picture of it and then just upload it to your computer and doing it that way that will work also. With this method, what I usually do is use paint.net. You go into File after you have the image on your scanner bed and go to “acquire it from scanner or camera”. Then I usually just do as a color picture; it seems to pick up the best. Once it has been scanned in I will save it as a JPEG. Then I’ll open Inkscape up and go to File> Import and then I will find that image. You want to embed it and then that will put it into layer one and then you can grab it and position it so that it would be on the paper.
Now, go to document properties in the file menu, switch it to 8.5” X 11” and then the background color needs to be set to white or it won’t print correctly. Then just “x” out of that. Then lock that layer, add a new layer and zoom in.
Now I can grab the Bezier tool. The best way to make a straight line is by holding control (CTRL) after you hit that first node and drag over to where you want it and then left click. Then you can start getting your other nodes set. Then, again on the bottom, hold CTRL, drag over and then hook it up here. We’ll just work on the coffee cup first. So what I’ll do is grab the Edit nodes tool and then start dragging that stuff around to get those curves. It’s extremely easy; just a node here, node there, node back up.
Now you can turn off the or hide layer one, zoom out and then I usually jacking up these lines to weight of two. Then, you can either File> export as PNG and you can choose page, drawing, selection or custom. The easiest thing to do is just print it straight from here.