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.
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.
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.
Images © Mongoose Publishing, reproduced with permission
Castle Defence – a classic gatehouse
Castles are built for more than one reason – people live there, guards are stationed there and often they are political power centers for the region. But first and foremost they are built to keep people out. Continue reading
It’s been quiet around here for a few weeks – but that’s going to change. There will be updates on all sorts of fun developments through the week – so keep an eye out for new things. To start the week – two new products that spun off from the same idea. I pitched some map ideas for the back cover of Kobold Quarterly 18. Out of the collection the one that got picked up was a Keep guarding a Watchfire on the outskirts of the city of Friula in the world of Midgard. There’s a bit of Midgard lore in there, but the core of the adventure is that the adventurers have to storm the castle and light the watchfire. It’s a capture the flag adventure with lots of ways in to the keep.
Just before I go on to talk a little more about the map, let me just spare a few words for Kobold Quarterly 18. That cover is just astonishing. That stands up to the best Dragon covers I can think of. The Kobold is growing some very sharp claws indeed. The content stands up to the cover’s promise. It’s a fantastic balance of fluff and crunch, and continues to walk the line between the different games it supports (now Dragon Age, Pathfinder and 4E) with deft aplomb. Above all, every article can be easily repurposed for use with your own game. A great game idea is a great idea no matter what you play.
For this Kobold I created the Watchfire Keep map for my adventure “Who Watches the Watchfires” that lies within the pages. Continue reading
Wayfinder #4 is out – the latest iteration of the excellent free Paizo fanzine. You can grab your free copy here – and I recommend that you do, it’s 92 pages of great free content.
Now that it’s out I can show off some of the art I did for the magazine – the map tiles that appear on p85. Here they are in all their glory – free to use (for non-commercial purposes) for anyone who would like them. Let me know what you think, and whether an expanded set would be useful.
Click the thumbs below to see the large versions of the image and download them, or just right-click save as to download each one. Enjoy!
Open Design has released their latest patronage project – the Tales of the Old Margreve. It’s set deep in an ancient forest of dark happenings and lingering curses.
As the cartographer for the project I’ve just received the final pdf and it’s a beauty. The layout work is fantastic and really reinforces the feel of old eastern European legends and horror. The anthology draws on fairy stories of the old school. Anyone who read the Brother’s Grimm wouldn’t go gaily into the forest looking for elves. This forest is one of ancient power and you disrespect it at your peril. Continue reading