The process of making custom shapes


I work for a small open source consultancy in London and I'd like to pay an artist to draw some Dia shapes that I could use to make beautiful network diagrams with and ultimately release them to the public under a free license.

I read doc/custom-shapes and familiarized myself with the format. However it's not very clear to me how to go about creating shapes. I assume that the shapes that come with Dia weren't coded by hand so is there anything that I can draw the shapes in (like Inkscape) and then convert them in to shape files that can be easily imported in to dia?

I tried opening svg files with Dia and then saving them as shapes and that kind of works, but not as well as the original shapes. For instance it isn't possible to change the colors or line thickness in the properties menu and Dia would often freeze when resizing the shape. The shape file just refers to the original svg, which needs to be on the file system. I have a feeling that this isn't very suitable for distribution. I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to go about this.

Many thanks,


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