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Welcome to the definitive site for information, guides, and support for Xara Designer Pro X11, and previous versions of The World’s Fastest Drawing Program!
Here, you’ll find a huge archive of tutorials, tips & tricks and free stuff, representing over 16 years of community support.

Typesetting with Xara Video Tutorial

This tutorial is not about fonts, not really. It’s about how to make your words look terrific on the page through the use of the Text tool Infobar. Ever wonder what all those little boxes are good for? Good! You’re inquisitive! See in five parts how to use these Text tool fields in creative situations...that also happen to be fun to perform! Watch It Here!

Back to School Special 13 Bouton Textures Free

Get out your inkjet and some sheets of blank contact paper, because Bouton has wrought another dozen or so novel, unique, handsome, unique, seamless, tiling textures. And did I mention “unique”? Come and get your fair share of giveaways this month at Xara Xone! Get Them Here!

August Tips and Tricks Crating a "Varsity Style" Logo

This month, Gary Bouton takes you on a taxi driver’s tour of the Arrange menu’s Combine Shapes commands, often called Boolean operations to confuse us. Learn how to make a type character appear to weave in and out of the holes in a different character, to arrive at a spectacular logo…or a neat varsity letter you can put on an unfashionable letterman 3 button sweater. It’s all about Contours, subtract, intersection, all parceled out in neat, digestible steps. It’s the Technique of the Week! Read it Now!

Xara Designer Pro X11 First Look s with Gary Priester

Let Gary Priester be your guide to the newly released Xara Designer Pro X11—the ultimate all-in-one creative software, that provides powerful vector illustration, photo editing, page layout and website design tools. The new Art Brushes and the Spiral SmartShape are loads of fun to use and they make it even easier to create engaging artwork. The new text handling features will let you make short work out of text intensive layouts while the cloud collaboration and free Xara Hosting services will make working with clients a breeze. Get Your First Look at Xara Designer Pro X11 Now!

A tutorial: Creating an extruded battery. ???!? Haa! Paul Saumure is doing a tutorial on drawing me, not you!

Hold onto your socks! Okay, let them go now because there’s something much more important going on than your socks! Paul Saumure shows you how to draw a photorealistic battery this month, complete with electricity inside (okay, that’s a stretch!), and most of the work is done with expert knowledge of the Extrude tool, something you’ll master as you work through the steps. Anyway, you’ll get a charge out of the Guest Tutorial this month! Read it Now!

Giveaway of the Month Knockout Venetion A Boutype font in TrueType adn OpenType

With all those fonts out there for free, isn’t it refreshing on TalkGraphics to find a font that’s free? Seriously, Gary busted his chops to bring you a special effects typeface, Knockout Venetian that appears to fade away at the bottom. Perfect for headlines and amusing to use the TTF version in Xara 3D Maker. Get it Now!

Photo & Graphic Designer 11 First Looks with Gary Priester

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 is now available! Version 11’s new design tools such as natural, nearly photorealistic Art Brushes and the Art Liquify Tool, which treats your shapes like molten plastic! Additionally, version 11 now sports web-safe and PDF-safe Blend and Transparency modes. Creating accurate blocks of text has never been easier with the new Auto-Correct/Abbreviation Expansion features, and updated Type Styles. XP&GD also has improved support for modern touch devices, including the Microsoft Surface stylus, as well as new sync capability with Dropbox and Google Drive. Let Gary Priester be your guide to these and other new features and enhancements to Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 in his review XARA Photo & Graphic Designer 11 —FIRST LOOK Read It Now!

Fresh Textures STeh End of the Month Giveaway More than a dozen eggcellent tiling textures!

What in the name of Gosh Darn It All is a Giveaway popping up between Xara Xone episodes? Well, call it a 4th of July gift to our American friends, call it Gary got bored with his laptop in the hospital, call it Fred…just call it a wonderful collection of unusual but exciting anyways seamless tiling textures. Dig in before they go cold. Try Them Out Now!

alt="Gary Priester's First Look at Xara Web Designer 11"

Take a First Lookwith Gary Priester as your guide at the new Xara Web Designer 11. With new cloud and collaboration features you can use your favourite—no HTML code skills required—web design program to make client editable web sites. The new cloud and collaboration features makes working with clients or updating a web site just a PC, Mac, or Android browser window away. Then take a look at other new features like, full width stretchy backgrounds, sticky objects, cool new animation capabilities, and enhanced text handling. Take a First Look Now!

JUne 2015 Xara Xone Giveaway Dimensional Drop Caps

Why not start that next page layout of yours with a bang? Gare’s Dimensional Drop Caps is a collection of over 26 unique characters, saved to a single Xara file, written as JPEGs to great quality and modest file size. Up to 300 dpi printing at character sizes greater than 2½” square, and you can use Xara’s Contone feature to your heart’s delight to recolor them. Dimensional Drop Caps make dropping stuff more fun than ever! Try Them Out Now!

Cast in Gold 2015 Guest Tutorial by Francis Proctor

Turning everything you touch into gold isn’t a fairy tale any longer, not when you turn to the Guest Tutorial this month. Oh Lord, who does the copywriting for the Xara Xone!? With the aid of a tutorial file download, Frances Proctor will show you how to begin with a free typeface, and steps later you’ll arrive at lettering that looks as though you mined it during the 1840s in California! All it takes to the path to virtual riches is a little time and the latest version of Xara Designer. Get your miner’s cap on for some major fun! Take a First Look Now!

Designing a Casino Poster Part Two

To finish up February’s Casino poster tutorial, you’re going to need some goodies and some advice. Gary provides both with a video round-up of novel techniques and a professional approach to page layout. Put your cards on the table, leave the room, and go warm up You Tube. Read more…

Giveaway of the Month What!? Textures Again (No they're bump maps)

Gary really gives it all away this month. Not only do you get a dozen free bump maps (whatever they are) , but they also seamlessly tile, and if that weren’t enough, Gary has two written tutorials for using the bump maps on the Giveaway page. Yup, you struck gold this month. March comes in like a casino, and goes out like a texture. Read more…

March Guest Tutorial Bob Taylor presents steps using illustrations instead of text! A Wordless tutorial.

If you think there’s something fishy about a tutorial with all pictures and arrows but no text, you’re right on the money! March’s Guest Tutorial by Bob “Iamtheblues” Taylor is an all pictorial lesson in how to draw the fish, more or less pictured above. Get familiar with more of Xara’s tools and their novel uses, as Bob teaches a man (and women) how to fish. Read more…

Full-Throttle Xara Designing a Casino Poster Part 1

There’s so much to learn about Gary’s method of poster-making, that the video had to be split into two parts. This month, you’ll learn how to create a roulette wheel-style circle to border the text on the poster, and then you’ll see how to create a headline from ordinary text that looks like neon lighting. Don’t gamble on creating your casino night poster without checking this month’s video out first! Read more…

Organizing Your World of Colors Guest Tutorial

If you’ve ever tried to put all the colors you need for a poster in a box, you immediately understand the impracticality of working this way. Instead, follow along with Frances Proctor’s Guest Tutorial this month on how to use both color palettes and the new color schemes feature in the latest versions of Xara Designer and Web Designer. See how to swap in a new palette on the program’s colour line, and how to make jiffy, big-time colour scheme alterations using named colours and theme colours. You’ve been in all Winter; it’s high time you got a little colour! Read more…

February's Giveaway: Nouveau Gothic Rounded Outline A Bouton Original Typeface

Although you probably wanted more textures this month (!?), for a change of pace, Gary created Nouveau Gothic Rounded Outline especially for Xarists who hang out on the Xone. Unlike other Art Nouveau typefaces, Nouveau Gothic has no hint of Roman flourishes—it’s like Avant Garde banged into Arnold Boeklin and nobody knows who won. Available in both TrueType and OpenType, Nouveau Gothic has no punctuation or foreign characters, but the lowercase is true Small Caps and it makes a swell headline in Xara. Read more…

Tracing Is Not Cheating

If you need a photorealistic element in a scene, you take a photograph of it! And then trace over it! It’s that simple—you own the photo, you own the resulting art. This month, Gary shows you step-by-step hot to reproduce a watering can in a scene, so well-defined, many people won’t notice it’s a drawing. It’s that’s your goal, kick some time and effort into it and watch the video. Read more…

A Tutorial on Edgework Making Stuff Look 100% More 3D-ish

Hang on tight! Or don’t. In either event, this month Gary shows you how to take a texture, a guide layer of a cube, and make it look as photorealistic as if it was created in a modeling program. A tall promise? Nope: the secret is to use Xara! Read more…

Giveaway of the New Year 25 seamless tiling textures

Not to worry: our Giveaway of the New Year (2015 in many, many countries) isn’t the only Giveaway at Xara Xone for the whole year—it’s just January’s! Gary has created 25 beautiful, ugly, and outrageous seamless textures for your work in Xara, all in PNG file format, mostly at 512 by 512 pixels. Be the first person to download this handsome collection, and you’ll be the first to be able to use it (you were expecting an additional prize!?) Read more…

Is This Tree-D?

There’s 3D that moves, and there’s 3D that looks so real, you want to reach out and touch it. This month, Gary takes you from beginning to a finished origami, polygonal-shaped dimensional tree that looks dimensional enough that you’d expect it to rotate. It’s all in using star shapes in combination with the Mould tool in Default Perspective mode, a little knowledge of perspective, and how to build panels by connecting control points. It’s a real Xara workout, you’d learn oodles of techniques, and be able to draw a forest in no time with Xara’s drop a copy feature. Read more…

Been there? Done that? How to draw a jelly bean. A Xara Xone bonus tutorial!

You’d think that drawing a jelly bean was about as hard as drawing a football that’s been kicked a little too often, eh? How about the shading? And the highlights? And a logo? and being able to coax control points into making perfect curves?

Don’t be a has-bean: get hip to the techniques for creating lifelike, editable and edible shapes in this month’s Special Bonus tutorial that Gary has cooked up. Read more…

Igor's Propellers 5 Insanely brilliant geometric patterns in XAR file format.

Okay, they’re not pinwheels, they’re not kaleidoscopes, and they’re not Spirograph art! You just have to see these captivating “propellers” on TalkGraphics. Nice stuff, huh? Well, Igor Vojtela has gifted us all with 5 of his propeller designs, not just in XAR file format so you can view his magic, but Igor has also provided instructions on how to build these wondrous Op Art works. It’s like a Giveaway and a mini-tutorial; rolled into one! Read more…

The Importance of Backgrounds!

Good. Better.

This month, Gary shows you how much better a drawing can look with a background supporting it, complementing it, and ultimately turning a drawing into a composition. It’s not that hard to do when you use Xara Designer. And to make the colors in the composition sing harmony, Gary shows off the power of GenoPal, a free color relationship system (no color complements, opposites, triads, and all that stuff) that generates color suggestions that will surprise you. Don’t get overwhelmed; just get with it! Examples, guides and ingenious workarounds to graphics problem solving are all part of this month’s video tutorial! Read more…

November Guest Tutorial! Making Wet editable text on seamless tiles

Angelize (Frances Proctor) has outdone herself this month. And we shouldn’t be surprised, but we will be! Our Guest tutorial this month is a detailed video on how to use the stone texture Giveaway this month to make watery text you can edit, perch on seamless tiling images or rocks, wood, and other interesting tiling surfaces. In addition to the dozen tiles, go check out the Guest Tutorial (Tips and Tricks) page, and download half a dozen more seamless tiling natural patterns to use with the video tutorial. Get wet and get stoned instead of raking leaves and flushing out your lawnmower this month! Read more…

Rock It! A dozen stone textures.
Giveaway of the Month

This month’s Giveaway is a collection of 12 hand-crafted seamless tiling textures of stones. Quite photorealistic, renowned stonecrafter Frances Proctor has gifted us with these tiles for projects that require a goth look to walls, a beautiful complement to home improvement catalogues, and whatever else you can imagine.

Come gobble them up (that’s an allusion to Thanksgiving this month), and why not show the community the novel and inventive things you can do when you’re on a roll and you want to rock with some knock-out seamless textures Read more…

Typography Part 2 of Page Layout

Typography Part 2 of Page Layout

This month Gary shows you how to design using type as creatively as putting pictures together. From the ongoing "Page Layout Series" on XaraXone.com, this video is bound to spark some ideas and more clever designs of things everyone reads. Read more…

Big GIFs, Tiny Animations
Red Dart and blue sky with clouds animation

Big GIFs, Tiny Animations

This month, Gary Bouton takes you on an animation trip that’s sweeping the Web: creating a large GIF file that is animated in only part of the overall image. The GIF can be advertisement size, but only a few kilobytes when you see how to set up a GIF document in Xara, and customize how the GIF file is written. Work through the tutorial and get carved pumpkins for your efforts! Read more…

Giveaway of the Month October 2014 25 Extraordinary Textures by Christine Farrelly

Christine Farrelly’s Seamless Pattern Collection

Twenty-five stunning repeating patterns are the Giveaway Gift of October. Their creator, Member and TG Moderator Christine Farrelly, took our font collaboration, the Celebrated Burgeon Ornaments TG, and used a technique that’s top secret (!) to turn portions of the characters into elegant seamless tiling patterns. Come get more than two dozen winners for your next Fill tool need! Read more…

No clowning around. Xara Photo Compositions Part 2 of 2

Using Masking tools in Photo Compositions

Earlier this month, you saw Part 1, on how to blend and alter multiple images to make dramatic compositions. This month, Gary tips in the Mask tools, the ones in Designer Pro 10, some in version 9, and some in version 8. Come see how you can create a spotlight effect on a pile of gems and not even get arrested for breaking and entering a jewelry store! Read more…

Extrudes and nothing else

Creating illustrations With Only Extrudes

Xara’s Extrude tool is good for making cut-out shapes and swooping text, but did you know you can also build complex, photorealistic shapes? Like a toy train, or the pages in the billboard above, and even a long lens for an SLR camera. Rik Datta takes you through the precise steps to build a marvelously intricate long camera lens this month, and the techniques you’ll learn can take you to even greater creative heights. Or at least 250mm f1.4. Read more…

Giveaway of the Month Simulata The Ultimate Art Deco Display font in TTF and OTF!

Simulata Typeface in TTF and OTF Giveaway

In 1995, the URW font “Sinaloa” was Mac-only, and an incredibly beautiful design. Gary Bouton, who is a Windows kinda guy, painstakingly recreated the glyphs as well as possible from a few example files, and today, Simulata—based on Sinaloa—is not only available for Windows, but it’s free, too, in TTF and OTF file formats. Read more…


Xara Photo Compositions Part 1

Photo composition is a sport that’s largely vertical: not many people know how to blend or alter photos, so you’re in luck this month, twice in fact, as Gary presents both Part 1 and Part II of this mega-informational guided tour of Xara’s photo strengths. The tutorials are not about photo retouching, or using a third-party filter turn your friends into melted friends. You’ll combine and refine images so they take on a whole graphical meaning. If this sounds too esoteric, it’s not and I’m just bad at explaining how to combine photos. Watch the video because it explains these techniques better than Bouton can! Read more…

Giveaway of the Month 25 Free Vector Icons

Twenty-five Vector Icons

More than a dozen, this month’s Giveaway is a quarter of one hundred vector icons…that’s twenty-five ways to customize your programs. Check out the novel designs Gary Bouton has created in Xara for our community! Read more…

August Guest Tutorial Unique London

Designing an Elegant Poster

Much more elegant than simple drop shadows, our buddy Mike (mwenz online) shows us this month at least two different samples of good layout for posters. First, a different kind of dead-on shadow technique is shown, and then you’ll have some fun adjusting the tone and color of the poster, because you’ll be working with Named Colors. Come along and get into the finer details of professional text and poster design! Read more…

Gary Preister's First Look Xara Designer Pro X10

Introducing Xara Designer Pro X10

Want some new toys in your favorite drawing program? Well, first of all Xara Designer Pro 10 has arrived and it’s available at Xara’s Products page, and not at Macy’s or Selfridges. Which doesn’t tell you about the goodies in the box, but Mr. Gary Priester will in his review this month of the outstanding upgrade. Come see all the new filters, new page transitions for websites, Smart Shapes, and much, much more! Read more…

First Looks with Gary Priester Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10

Photo & Graphic Designer turns 10!

And how mature Photo & Graphic Designer 10 (PGD10) has become! Loaded with new image editing features such as Enhance Photo Colors…a stride past the previous color tools, new Smart Shapes that give you dozens of variations on preset shapes just by dragging on a control point, and Font Awesome, a font palette of symbols you place in-line with text, and the symbol remains as editable text on the web. PGD10 is loaded with too much stuff to explain here…read Gary Priester’s First Looks article. Read more…

Going Beyond 3D

If you thought “3D” in Xara meant typing some text and angling it, you’ll be happy to be shown you’re wrong this month. Gary takes you the steps to building an entire scene that looks like a diorama, combining arcing 3D text with 2D shapes. And how about extruding text that’s been through the Mould tool first? It’s a classic movie and comic book look! Then you’ll see how to make accordion-style text that looks 3D, but not in the way an extrude does. This is stuff that’s simple to do, but you might not have thought about it. Read more…

July 2014 Giveaway Free Textures (They fell off a truch)

They’re a real steal. Mostly because they’re free; 12 (that’s one dozen) seamless tiling textures Gary created for the Giveaway this month, after realizing that 12 equals a dozen. Also a bonus mini-tutorial on making a textured sphere. Scarf ‘em up, and let’s see what you can do with them on the Xara Xone thread at TalkGraphics! Read more…

Creating 3D Semi-Transparent Cubes

The next best thing to a cool refreshing drink this season is a tutorial on how to draw ice cubes. Yeah. Right. Seriously, Gary Bouton will walk you through using the Extrude tool to create a reference model, show you how to draw all six faces of a cube, how to shade it and how to make a shadow for objects such as glass that should have a cool refreshing drink it. Read more…

How to Make Water Without Science. Learn how to mix extrudes with shapes to make molecules.

Some people use the Extrude tool to make Art. Others use the drawing tools in Xara to make art.

Why not use the two together? This month, Gary Bouton takes you through a detailed exploration of what it takes to draw a molecule, specifically a simple water molecule, like the pros do with modeling programs. Except we’re going to do a spectacular illustration right inside our favorite program that will put a lot of techno-scientific-ultra-cranial types’ work to shame! Read more….

This scene would look more realistic if it had clouds. Giveaway of the Month 7 Hi-Res PNG (with transparency) images of clouds

This month’s Giveaway is absolutely stratospheric. In fact, you’ll be in 7th Heaven with 7 high resolution PNG images with transparency of all sort of clouds. As bitmaps, you can brighten them, make the more transparent, use the Contone feature on the Color Editor to make alien clouds, or just use them as is to complete an outdoor scene. Mix and match, too! Read more….

Illustration by Rik Datta

Featured Artist Maya Doka Nature, Astronomy, Future Possibilites

In the second of Xara Xone’s Featured Artists for 2014, we were fortunate enough to find a treasure trove of Xara artwork by Maya Doka, TalkGraphics member and an extraordinarily gifted artist in many types of media.

Step inside and take a look at a gallery that has themes but is at the same time diverse in subject material, and a beauty to behold. We also had a little time to ask Maya questions concerning her art, her motivations, preferences, and advice for newcomers to Xara Designer. Get a delightful earful and eyeful right here.

What is this DPI stuff anyhow?

This month kicks off a new category of content on The Xara Xone. Gary Bouton has written and essay on a topic of interest and sometimes confusion among the graphics community: What the heck (or other epithet) is this “resolution” stuff?!

Gary guides you through what a pixel is and isn’t, the difference between a unit and a ratio, the difference between a pixel and a dot, and how to get the best bitmap image possible out of Xara Designer.

It’s not a tutorial. It’s the stuff that should be right up front the day you walk in the door of computer Graphics.

But wasn’t. Read it now!

First Looks by Gary Priester
Gary Preister's First Look Xara Designer X10

Xara Designer Pro X10 Review

First Looks with Gary Priester Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10

Xara Page & Layout Designer 9: A First Look

Xara Page & Layout Designer 9

Tips and Tricks

Check out the terrific backlog of tips, tricks, and tutorials in the archives! ½

Tips and Tricks!

Molecular Adventures in Xara. How to draw scientifically accurate science stuff without knowing science. Learn More…

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