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.
This tutorial covers my entire process for how to draw a map – from start to finish. In this case I’m illustrating a simple town map, but the steps apply to any map. Continue reading
This is definitely the week of mountain ranges. I had a question on reddit on how to draw mountain ranges that go east-to-west rather than north to south. Here’s a very quick tutorial on the difference. If you want to go deeper into the north-south version, check out this earlier tutorial on mountain ranges.
The hotizontal version is very similar – with a few tweaks. Continue reading
It’s often easier to show how to illustrate a feature on a map, rather than describe it, so here’s how I illustrate a mountain range for fantasy maps:
I hope that sheds some light on the process!
I’ve written up a couple of tutorials before on drawing isometric mountain ranges for fantasy maps – but never more than the pen and ink stage. I’ve had a few requests for how to take this to the next step and colour the mountain ranges.
Note that I use a graphics tablet. You can do this with a mouse and low opacity brushes, but tablets are getting good and relatively cheap. I’d recommend picking up something like the Bamboo Splash if you’re going to be playing around with illustrating maps.
Here’s a quick walkthrough of the four steps I take in my mountain ranges. Continue reading
Often hills are indicated on a map by drawing an outline, but when you have forest on top, that outline gets obscured. So how do you draw forested hills? The trick is to use the detail of the forest to indicate the hills, rather than obscure them.
I’ve realised I have a particular workflow for drawing coastlines in my maps. Here’s a quick walkthrough.
Eric Quigley asked about labeling recently and that prompted me to think a little about how I actually go about labeling a map. Often it’s the last thing to get done, but it’s also the most important. A map without labels is just a pretty picture, it’s not useful. So, it’s worth taking some care getting labels right.
This is a photoshop tutorial, but these techniques are almost identical in Gimp.