One of the wonderful side effects of living in New York is the chance to run into great people from Tor.com. I’m now part of a semi-regular D&D game, and I draw the party dungeon maps.
City maps are complex beasts. There’s a balance to be found between detail and time. The ideal is to be able to imply all the detail of a city, without getting lost drawing every single roof tile.
It’s good to hand over final pieces. This one went out the door today – a city map for a client. The combination of detailed line art featured locations and more anonymous shadowed buildings seems to work well.
The featured locations were all drawn at many times their final size. You lose the precise detail when the locations are shrunk down, but the combination of the details provide a sense of the structure.
Cities and buildings come up a lot in questions. I’ll put together a software specific tutorial on buildings, but today I’m just going to go through my philosophy when illustrating a featured building like a castle or a temple. The process is the same, regardless of software. In this case – ballpoint pen on sketchbook paper.
Braavos is the second of the two cities to get a full map work up in the Lands of Ice and Fire (the other, of course, being King’s Landing). It’s also a city that was previously uncharted before this map – so I got to play in a wonderful sandbox whilst creating this map.
If you’re following the TV series, don’t worry – Braavos will become a major player in the plot in the future. For now, you can happily ignore much of this, but be warned – there are spoilers (and lots of detail shots of the city) in what follows. Continue reading
King’s Landing, heart of power in Westeros, location of the Iron Throne. This city acts as the fulcrum for the plots and machinations of the warring factions of the Seven Kingdoms. This map is something of a dichotomy. It contains more detail than any of the world or regional maps, but fewer named locations. To see the high resolution version, you’ll need to pick up the poster map folio – The Lands of Ice and Fire – but if you want to see some detail shots, read on after the jump. Continue reading
Following the previous tutorial about town design here’s a tutorial on filling in the buildings in the town.
I’m jumping in at the stage where we’ve already got the terrain, major locations and roads mapped out. The next step is filling all the remaining space with buildings to turn a skeleton of a town into a town. The key here is to give the impression of a large number of buildings, without having to agonise over every single chimney pot and awning. Continue reading
Today a quick mini-tutorial. This isn’t a photoshop tutorial, nor is it a tutorial for a polished finished map. This is a step by step in my own town creation method when I’m creating the first sketch layout. The key here is to have the town layout make sense.