Tag Archives: city map

How to draw featured buiildings

Highlighting Featured Buildings – Shape, Detail and Contrast

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.

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The Free City of Braavos

Official map of the city of Braavos for Game of Thrones

Braavos, © George RR Martin, used with permission

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

How to use brush dynamics to draw buildings

Drawing Buildings with Dynamic Brushes

Earlier in the week I posted a tutorial on how to draw buildings with the pen tool. But sometimes drawing each building just takes too long. For whole cities, you probably want a quick way to lay in whole blocks of buildings. Photoshop can help – using dynamic brushes. Continue reading

Lands of Ice and Fire Video from Random House

I ran across this video from Random House the other day. It’s the best preview I’ve seen out there of the maps I illustrated of the world of Game of Thrones.

Also, everything should be narrated by this guy. He could make the opening of the humblest letter sound Epic.

City Mapping Made Easy

Profantasy fantasy city tiles for Campaign Cartographer

An example map using the city style - map drawn by Ralf Schemmann

Today Profantasy released my new fantasy city map style for Campaign Cartographer as their March Annual style. You can check out the full details here. The style contains 15 different house shapes, each with a range of colours and roofing, 12 different textures, and a bunch of miscellaneous extras from city walls and turrets to piers and trees.

I’m especially pleased with how the city walls and turrets came out. They can work as city walls, the walls on a compound, or even the structure in a full blown castle. Check out the full set, and the other example images.

A Week of Mapping Tips – City Icons, Mountains and Aged Paper

Last year I started a series of quick mapping tips, meant to be read over lunch, that would cover a series of different questions. These are posted daily to my Google+ and Facebook pages. Rather than post them up everyday on here, I’ve opted to collate them on a weekly basis and plan to post these up on Saturday mornings for easy reading over the weekend. This week it’s City Map icons, mountains and creating aged paper map handouts. Continue reading

A Quick City Map Tutorial

Today I’m covering a quick way to layout a city and make it look pretty and easy to read. As with the previous post, this originally appeared on my G+ and facebook pages.

Fantasy City map design tutorial

3 steps to an attractive city map

The challenge with a city map is to lay out information on districts of the city as well as specific locations. The two can easily get confused, especially if you have a very detailed texture showing roofs and individual buildings. In this style I’m focusing on just showing the different districts. Individual locations of interest can then be placed on top by using icons, or something more elaborate.

1. Lay in the roads.

Here I’ve used a fixed width round brush, with a slightly wider width for main roads than minor roads. I’ve also used Photoshop’s layer styles to give the roads a dark outer glow to make it easier to read them. They’re white on a light background, but that won’t be an issue for long.

2. Define the city blocks

Here I’ve use the magic wand to select all the negative space where the city blocks are going to be. You can also use Select Pixels and then Invert Selection in photoshop. I’ve then shrunk the selection by 3px (though that depends on the resolution of your file of choice). The selection is then filled with black and this layer is set to overlay. I’ve also given the layer a layer style which is an internal stroke set to colour burn at 70% opacity. The result is that we can see all the city blocks, and the roads are visible as the negative space between the city blocks.

3. Delineate the different districts

Again we use the magic wand tool to get the selection of the city blocks in a specific district (you can also just get the selection by using the magic wand on the layer from step 2). Now, with one layer and one selection for each of the district, fill with the patter of your choice. Here I’ve used a striped pattern. I’ve set the stripes to a colour and used a combination of overlay and colour burn layer modes to create the effect.

Voila! An easy to read city map with clearly differentiated districts – all in less time than it takes to eat lunch. As ever, let me know if there are any questions in the comments section, or let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered.