The Arcanist’s Mill – A Wizard’s Tower Map with a Twist

I wanted to map a wizard’s tower with a twist – somewhere a mage with a little bit of a steampunk leaning could hide out and experiment. What would such a mage need? A good cover story, and a source of power. Well, mills are the heavy industry of the medieval era – and if you’re milling flour you have power to spare.

So – the hook of the map was a wizard’s tower in a water powered mill. Continue reading “The Arcanist’s Mill – A Wizard’s Tower Map with a Twist”

How to Draw a Castle Wall

What would a fantasy world be without castles, turrets, and battlements? Sneaking over the walls in the dark, holding the crenellations from a horde of orcs, or landing on a turret on griffon-back – the castle wall is a staple of fantasy gaming. Here’s the steps I take when drawing a castle wall. Continue reading “How to Draw a Castle Wall”

Mapping Blackcliff Academy for An Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir had a good year. She released her debut novel An Ember in the Ashes, became a New York Times bestselling author, and got the Amazon best YA novel of the year. I had the great pleasure of creating the maps for the novel. I’ve written about the process behind creating the world map. In this article I’m going to cover the process behind illustrating Blackcliff Military Academy.

Blackcliff Academy lies at the crux of the story. It is the training ground of the Masks, a sinister force in the book, and one that must be infiltrated. I won’t go further (so no spoilers), but the different locations in the academy are quite important – as is the secret stairway. Continue reading “Mapping Blackcliff Academy for An Ember in the Ashes”

How to Draw Roads on a Map (with the Stroke Tool)

Parallel lines are a good way to indicate a road on a map. But drawing parallel lines is next to impossible. Photoshop to the rescue – there’s a simple trick to get this effect quickly and easily. Continue reading “How to Draw Roads on a Map (with the Stroke Tool)”

A map of Danelaw Britain

I can never predict my next client – something that came very true when I was approached by Inkshares to create a map for Gary Whitta’s debut novel Abomination. Now Gary has an interesting background: writer for Star Wars, Book of Eli, and – of course – After Earth, for which I did the expanded universe maps. Though we both have 1 degree of Will Smith, it turned out that it was pure chance that Inkshares came to me for a map of Danelaw Britain.

Continue reading “A map of Danelaw Britain”

Where is Hardhome?

The ruined town of Hardhome is northeast of Castle Black, at the end of Storrold’s point, north of the Wall, but alarmingly close.

map of the location of hardhome
© George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

At the end of episode 8 we leave Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane on a boat looking at the army of the dead. So where did they come from? And how far is the army of the dead from the Wall? Continue reading “Where is Hardhome?”

Mapping Slaver’s Bay

I’ve been building a web based hex mapper for a few months, and I thought it would be fun to put it through it’s paces mapping Slaver’s Bay (the official map is here for comparison). If this catches your interest and you’d like to be an alpha tester – here’s the sign up form.

Here’s the result:

Slaver’s Bay, click to see it larger.

A few observations for next steps for the tool:

  • I need blasted wasteland – hills+volcanoes don’t do Valyria justice
  • Pins with titles aren’t enough to label regions, like Slaver’s Bay or the Gulf of Grief
  • I need better deserts, and cliffs
  • Roads don’t show up well enough on deserts.

Other than those notes, this went surprisingly well. I may well continue to expand out this map with more of Essos. Of course, if you want a big map, you can always grab the huge poster maps I drew for Lands of Ice and Fire :).