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.
It’s always a little daunting to take on a brand new style of map. When Steve Russell asked for an map inspired by the Orient for Heroes of the Jade Oath I took it on with some trepidation. After a ton of experimenting with textures, brushes and line-styles I came up with a version I was happy with, and this is the result!
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.
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
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
This week I’m looking at how to take published maps, rescale them for miniature or virtual tabletop use and then slice them up for printing at home. Continue reading