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.
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”
At the start of the month I released the Iconic Island – a map pack with an island map and a load of individual map icons indicating things like castles, cities and ruins. Today I’m covering how to create your own icons. This is a slightly longer tutorial than normal and will cover some new Photoshop techniques, specifically using the pen tool, and more on layer blend modes. There’s also a video at the end of the tutorial to help illustrate the steps in more detail.
So a pretty hefty snow-dump just landed on NE and I’m inside looking out the window at a very white NYC. We were out last night and a friend was talking about his upcoming travels, to much warmer climes. So today I thought I’d buck the trend of all the snow pictures, and post a map set in the savannah:
A while ago I was commissioned to illustrate a three story ruined keep, with a dungeon beneath, for Mongoose Publishing. This was in my pre-Photoshop days (2009). It makes me wince a bit to see the messiness of the linework in these, but they served their purpose for the job at hand, and looking at old work is a good way to gauge progress.
This isn’t quite as formal as previous tutorials. After I created the tutorial for drawing water, I carried on and quickly coloured and shaded the flagstones. Here’s the video of that process, which fills in a lot of my standard working method – base colour and then a collection of overlay layers to add detailed light and shade.
It can be tricky to draw water on a map. You don’t want to fill areas with a flat blue, but you also don’t want to draw every wave and ripple. The trick is to strike a balance, and provide a visual shorthand that quickly sells the presence of water. When putting this together I was thinking about Mike Schley‘s water style (shown in this map).
It’s often the case that you find that you have a map from an adventure that has labels on it. You need to remove the labels before you show it to your players or they’ll know where the bad guys are. On many maps this is actually pretty easy. Continue reading “How to remove labels from maps”